Tanzania: Broadcasting awareness

Radio Kwizera, run by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in western Tanzania, broadcasts to roughly 500,000 refugees in camps dotted along the Tanzanian border with Rwanda and Burundi, as well as to local communities in the three countries. This makes it an ideal ally in the anti-AIDS struggle. ?Inspired by the call to fight the spread of HIV,? in the words of RK director Br Elias Mokua SJ, the radio broadcasts succeed in raising awareness about the disease. He goes on to say ?Such initiatives need the right channels to reach the right people at the right time, and Radio Kwizera is one ideal channel. Doctors and others educate society about HIV/AIDS on our programmes, and answer questions raised by the audience.? The radio, set up in 1995 for refugees who had fled the Rwanda genocide, has always aimed at empowering refugees by supplying balanced, accurate and comprehensive information and by giving them a voice. In line with its primary goal of fostering peace and development, RK produces programmes with a strong educational focus, covering human rights, religion, gender issues and health awareness. Programmes are broadcast in Kirundi, Kiswahili, English and French. RK staff members say the radio?s ?popular approach? encourages people to tune in. Going by the principle that ?worthy but dull programming will not keep an audience,? RK strives to ?maintain a balance between information and entertainment.? Contact Elias Mokua SJ The full version of the article was published in AJANews, January 2006. AJANews is published by the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) in English, French and Portuguese and is available free of charge. To subscribe, please write to [email protected]