|by Matongo Maumbi|
|Published on: Jan 27, 2005|
|Radio is the best way to bring development to the people. Giving a voice to the community through a medium such as a radio station is what can make people thrive in a rural setting. The people of Chikuni, Zambia have been able to share knowledge and challenging ideas through their popular radio station, Chikuni Radio.
Development through radio is what Chikuni Radio has been doing since its inception in 2000. Different groups have partnered with the station to help people share ideas for development. The stations’ broadcast journalists have helped mobilise people in different communities to produce programmes that are of direct concern to them. One interesting feature is that people often take what they hear on radio to be gospel truth. Change can come easily when a voice from their community is heard addressing an issue.
The Chikuni Radio Listening Clubs have done and are continuing to do good programmes for integral community development. Now we are moving to improve health standards with Balwani basikalileke (Fighters against HIV/AIDS). The Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ) funds this programme.
The 45-minute programmes on development were broadcast every day except Sunday on Chikuni Radio. In these programmes, the community radio clubs were highlighting issues with their solutions in line with the area they live in. This in the long run would serve as an example to other communities with similar experiences. Development ideas are revolving around the people of Chikuni and Monze. Sharing information is what can make a community survive. By sharing you will realise that what you have is not enough or there is a better way of doing something.
People now view the station as a source of inspiration and encouragement to do things that they once thought to be taboo or witchcraft or just simply impossible to do. Stigma and discrimination have been well combated, almost becoming a thing of the past in most communities.
In the 2005 phase of programmes by the community to the community, CHAZ has sponsored a variety of programmes on Chikuni Radio. Every single day there is a good programme on the fight against HIV/AIDS and other related diseases. Such issues are for all age groups.
There are competitions lined up such as essay writing, poetry, music, singing, public speaking debates and quizzes. These competitions are carried out once a month from October 2004 to September 2005. The response has been very good. We hope to publish some of the good works from the submissions that have been received so far. People are now talking and HIV/AIDS is no longer an issue of shame. The programmes shall total 312 by the end of the year. There are discussions, documentaries, features and write-in/phone-in questions for the listeners. We also offer proper nutrition suggestions and a prayer moment for the sick and for those who take care of them. This has all been possible because of the use of the available information and communication technology.
At last something is coming around the corner. You might agree with me that children have always been delicate assets of our world communities. No wonder the United Nations formed UNICEF to look after the plight of children. Their voices have only been heard from the background. Either someone does something for them or dictates their choices. Can you imagine listening to a child sharing his or her views on radio without someone putting words in his or her mouth? It might ambitious to some, but this is what Radio Chikuni looks forward to for 2005.
Suggested as the best idea for Interactive Radio Instructions (IRI) Campaign Programmes for 2005 under Education Development Centre (EDC), Our Talk will be the first Educational and Motivational Radio programme in Zambia to be produced by children. It will be hosted not just by any ordinary child but by IRI or Tonga students. These are children who cannot go to formal schools for various reasons, among them poverty, traditional beliefs, lack of a sponsor and a commuting difficulties. Called Ijwi Lyesu in Tonga, the programme producers who are children themselves will be hosting fellow children to discuss various issues that are affecting their daily lives. The Executive Producers will just be helping them bring to fruition the issues and how to present the programme. This is in an effort to give them a chance to share their thoughts, hopes, visions and ideas to the development of their communities.
So you will be privileged to listen to “Our Talk” on Radio Chikuni from Friday, January 14, at 5:30pm. Children are the leaders of tomorrow. “Our Talk” will be shaping and tidying the path for their dreams. As Jesus said, "the brick that the builders ignored became the most sought-after later. Today’s rejects are tomorrow’s heroes.” Let us work together with the available affordable ICTs to bring development to our rural communities.