Twelve (12) community radio stations from South Sudan held a consultative meeting in Juba on the 25th February 2016 that culminated with the formation of the Radio for Peace Network (RaPNet), to promote and advocate for the role of radio in peacebuilding, reconciliation and nonviolence in the country.
Drawn from Jonglei, FM, Morobo FM, Bakhita FM, Easter FM, Emmanuel FM, Don Bosco FM, Voice of Freedom FM, Good News FM, Voice of Hope FM, Anisa FM, Star FM and Pibor FM, the twelve radio stations mandated the station managers from Bhakita, Jonglei and Good News radio stations, to not only spearhead the operationalization of the Radio for Peace Network, but also facilitate the establishment of the Community Media Network for South Sudan (CoMNeTSS), as well as facilitate the network in joining the Eastern Africa Community Media Network (EACOMNET) and the global community radio body, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).
The twelve (12) radio station managers met in Juba under the auspices of UNESCO’s activity for Peace Journalism, within the framework of “I love my country; Strategic Communications for Peacebuilding in South Sudan”, a project funded by the European Union ( EU) and implemented by Search for Common Grounds, UNESCO, Catholic Radio Network and Ihub Kenya.
The Radio for Peace Network aims at bringing together radio stations in South Sudan, to upscale their advocacy for a culture of peace, by increasing their reach on the source of information from their communities, improve the quality and quantity of peace messaging by tapping into citizen journalists and through provision of incentives such training, reporting equipment and competitions through peace journalism awards.
As a first phase of the Radio for Peace Network, forty five (45) peace “citizen journalists” are selected from the citizens around the reach of the twelve (12) radio stations, targeting citizens who are reliable sources of information such as community leaders, community workers, teachers, shopkeepers, etc. to also act citizen journalists for the community radio in their vicinity. The forty five (45) citizen journalists will be trained beginning March 2016, by UNESCO Media Sector Working Group partners, the Deutsche Welle Akademie. They will also be equipped with basic citizen journalist skills as well as facilitated in their citizen journalist role.
Speaking during the consultative meeting, UNESCO Country Representative Mr. Salah Khaled reminded the radio station managers that radio in South Sudan is the most relied on community based communication platform, because it reaches the highest population across the country, considering the high level of illiteracy which is over 81% among the women. “Your radio stations are a key player in peace building and in providing a platform for community dialogue, as well as in identifying home grown solutions to the conflict triggers in the communities within your reach” stressed Mr. Khaled.
Ms. Enrica Valentini, Director of the Catholic Radio Network urged the participating radio stations to utilise the Citizen journalists in giving voices to the communities living in remote areas that the radios have not been reaching before. She urged them to network and share peace messages to ensure the project has a national impact.
While the twelve radio stations have been involved to the formation of the Radio for Peace Network, the network is open to all other radios that are promoting a culture of peace, reconciliation and non-violence in the country. The network is also expected to reach out to the global Culture of Peace News Network, being an interactive online network, committed to supporting the global movement for a culture of peace and nonviolence and exchange information about events, experiences, books, music, and web news that promote a culture of peace.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Lydia Gachungi
Communication and Information Specialist
UNESCO Juba Office
Ms. Josephine Achiro, Directress, Bakhita Radio, Juba - South Sudan