Barza Wire is pleased to present a profile of Congolese broadcaster Adeline Nsimire. Ms. Nsimire trained as a sociologist. After graduating, she took a job as a secretary in a tea factory, but soon decided she was better suited to campaigning for the rights of rural women. Ms. Nsimire joined a local NGO, Sauti ya Mwanamke Kijijini [The voice of rural women], or SAMWAKI, and was tasked in 2007 with setting up a community radio station, which became Radio Bubusa.
Radio Bubusa is located in Mugogo, a village in the South Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The station can reach 700,000 listeners up to 25 kilometres away via a 300-watt FM transmitter. Radio Bubusa helps women access information and share experiences in their own languages, and creates a space where women and men can learn from each other.
The station initiated a magazine-style program for rural women, in partnership with four other community radio stations in South Kivu Province. While Ms. Nsimire was working on the program, the producer invited her to inform the audience about SAMWAKI’s activities in South Kivu. At that moment, Ms. Nsimire recalls, she “discovered the microphone.”
A few months later, she started to produce her own magazine program. The voice of rural women focused on the lives of rural women and men. The program covered a variety of topics: gender and agriculture, education of girls, discriminatory customs, agricultural co-operatives, gender-based violence, the rural economy, health and nutrition, and environmental protection. Ms. Nsimire says, “[It] proved to be an awakening for its listeners.”
Radio Bubusa was set up by women. Ms. Nsimire says, “Radio Bubusa programs are participatory and gender is a universal theme. It’s amazing that, in rural areas, women are still seen as being inferior to men.”
Radio Bubusa provides an essential service for many of its listeners. Ms. Nsimire explains: “Many listeners consider these local language programs to be like a library where farmers and herders can stock up on information. They no longer need to travel long distances in search of agricultural or veterinary services to solve simple problems. They are informed through radio broadcasts … in which they actively participate.”
Ms. Nsimire is now the director of Radio Bubusa. She produces the program Mulimo na mazingira, or “Agriculture and environment,” and makes guest contributions to other programs, producing reports on the role of women in rural communities.
Ms. Nsimire says: “Our radio [station] is located in the heart of the village. The rural population, which consists mostly of farmers, is its main target. The lives of women and men in our broadcasting area are rooted in farming activities. We cannot talk about development, and … ignore agriculture.”
From the respondents to a recent survey of those who participated in the e-discussion on nutrition, Ms. Nsimire was chosen as the lucky winner. She receives $50 CDN of airtime as a prize.