Nelly Bassily | February 18, 2008
As the Democratic Republic of the Congo searches for an end to violent conflict following the recent signing of a peace deal, we thought it would be an appropriate time to showcase the work of DCFRN partner Radio Maendeleo. Radio Maendeleo has been broadcasting content related to political and developmental issues from the town of Bukavu, in South Kivu province, since 1994. A researcher for the NGO International Media Support studied Radio Maendeleo and prepared a report outlining the station’s unique contributions to peace and development.
Radio Maendeleo has several clubs which provide programming for broadcast. The groups are formed by people seeking to inform others of their development projects and experiences, as well as to deliver news on events in their areas — news which is “often synonymous with denouncement of abuses by local authorities.” Clubs are reviewed by the station based on their ability to produce programming that may benefit others. Approved clubs are provided with simple cassette recorders and, in some cases, bicycles to bring their recordings to the station.
The researcher outlined several examples of the effectiveness of the radio clubs in a suburb of Bukavu, including:
-“One young woman had used the radio to gather 300 young girls who had fled villages in the jungle due to insecurity;”
-“A woman who ran a vocational center for widows used the radio to broadcast information on micro credit opportunities;” -“Others used Radio Maendeleo to avoid soil erosion by informing citizens of the need to preserve trees on certain spots and to place electric bulbs outside houses to decrease the likelihood of theft at night.”
The author’s complete report is available online, here: http://www.comminit.com/en/node/71162