Learning How to Advocate for Peace through Broadcasting on Community Radio Stations

Sep 22, 2016

One of the participants of the Radio for Peace Network in South Sudan workshop asks a question to the facilitator. Photo: UNDP

“I hope with this training I will get more knowledge and experience so I can contribute to the work that my local radio station is doing for peace,” expressed one of the participants of the Radio for Peace training organized by UNESCO and UNDP, in partnership with Radio for Peace Network (RaPNet), which kicked off yesterday in Juba.

Structured as a two-day workshop, the aim of the training is to instruct radio station managers on the skills and strategies to engage traditional authorities, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), policy makers and other peacebuilding stakeholders on issues related to peace and reconciliation. Radio managers from 14 radio stations all over the country came to the capital to learn about how radio can contribute to peace.

“I want to know how we can network together and how to engage the civil society organizations to participate in our radio programs to promote peace,” said another participant.

The programme leverages the strength of radio to provide a platform that gives a voice to South Sudanese living in rural areas where limited communications are available.

During the opening ceremony, as a representative of Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology and Postal Services, the Director for South Sudan News Agency Mr. Victor Bullen highlighted the importance of broadcasting in local languages to reach as much people as possible as well as the need of collaborate with journalists working in the ground.

RaPNETRadio managers participating in the Radio for Peace Network workshop pose together with Mr. Victor Bullen, Director for South Sudan News Agency, UNESCO representative Saluwen Yoasa, UNDP representative and Senior Project Manager Lealem Berhanu Dinku, and the UNDP team.

 

UNDP representative and Senior Project Manager Lealem Berhanu Dinku emphasized the key role that radio stations can play for peace in the country. “Here, in South Sudan, where illiteracy levels are high, radio is crucial medium for communication and has the power to bring people together. Especially in remote areas, community radio stations are often the only platform available that gives a voice to South Sudanese living in rural areas and provides education and information to the people,” he said.

“Lasting peace can only be achieved through commitment and engagement of all relevant stakeholders […] community radio stations can play a critical role in establishing social cohesion and building bridges and understanding between communities. UNDP will continue to walk with the people of South Sudan in their pursuit for peace and development because we strongly believe that there can be no peace without development and no development without peace,” he added.

For his part, UNESCO representative Saluwen Yoasa encouraged radio managers to advocate for peace in their local stations. “Without peace and reconciliation there is nothing, not even radio, so radio needs to bring peace to this country, peace should be in the minds of every South Sudanese and radio need to be there to provide this dialogue. We all together can change South Sudan situation,” he declared.

UNESCO Office in Juba is complementing UNDP South Sudan’s Community Security and Arms Control (CSAC) Project to “strengthen civil society, promote accountability and engender social cohesion” through its Radio for Peace Network (RaPNET). RaPNET brings together radio stations in South Sudan to advocate for a culture of peace, provide women and youth with access to information, equal representation and participation in decision making, and radio and mobile application peace messages.

RaPNet membership  is drawn from 14 radio stations  from across South Sudan including: Good News Radio  (Rumbek), Voice of Hope Radio (Wau), Radio Emmanuel (Torit), Anisa Radio (Yambio), Easter Radio (Yei), Don Bosco (Tonj), Bakhita Radio (Juba), Star FM (Yei), Pibor Community Radio (Pibor), Morobo FM (Yei near the border), Jonglei FM (Bor),  Voice of Freedom (Magwi), South Sudan Radio and Eye Radio. 

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