The power of radio in Rwanda
Amidst all the type about social media, it’s easy to forget that radio plays a much more important role, often being the only media available (this is why projects that combine the power of radio with the power of mobile – another ubiquitous technology – are so attractive to me; Zimbabwe’s Freedom Fone in particular). ...
Amidst all the type about social media, it’s easy to forget that radio plays a much more important role, often being the only media available (this is why projects that combine the power of radio with the power of mobile – another ubiquitous technology – are so attractive to me; Zimbabwe’s Freedom Fone in particular).
Rwanda is one country where it’s easy to lose faith in the power of radio, as it was widely used in the genocide, often giving details of people and targets to be attacked. Thus, it was great to see an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer today that described the positive power of radio in bringing reconciliation to Rwanda (the piece followed a group of Rwandan girls who produce their own radio program). Good to see such a useful medium rehabilitated so fast…
Last week, in commemoration of the genocide, Urungano focused on reconciliation. The girls went into the countryside and found a mutual support group of genocide victims and perpetrators who, despite their tragic past of conflict, travel together from village to village to teach and model reconciliation. By selecting this topic, the girls sent a powerful message about their vision of the Rwanda they want to live in. And everyone in Rwanda is listening.
For us in the West, it is hard to imagine how relevant – how essential – radio still is to some. In Rwanda, radio is TV, Internet, newspapers, Facebook, and Twitter all wrapped up in one. Here, the potential of radio is unbelievable, almost as unbelievable as the genocide it fueled.
There is something about the sound of a single voice that entices our imagination to fill in the details. Radio leaves room for us. And where radio is the only major medium, the relationship between it and its listeners is a potent one
photo by mark sebastian/Flickr
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