Happy World Radio Day!
This year, Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS) joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 12th World Radio Day, under the theme ‘Radio and Peace’. This day was declared by UNESCO in 2011 and later recognised as an international day by the United Nations General Assembly on 13th February 2012.
Despite advancements in technology where people can access news, information, and entertainment through other means, radio still is a powerful medium. In South Sudan, radio is still the most widely used source of information, education, and entertainment ( Radio in South Sudan – Wikipedia). Radio as a source of information can be used for learning and to foster peace through informative programmes.
South Sudan’s protracted conflict has been ongoing for close to ten years, causing tension between those from different geographic areas and ethnic groups. Radio has been an effective peacebuilding tool in South Sudan, educating people, supplying information, and promoting freedom of expression across cultures.
GESS celebrates this day to recognise the importance of radio for education and peace. Through the Behaviour Change Communication element of the programme , GESS partners with 20 radio stations across South Sudan to air a radio programme ‘Our School’. The 15-minute magazine style radio programme addresses the barriers to the education for girls and children with disabilities and highlights the importance of education.
The radio programme follows the lives of girls and their families as they strive and resolve the challenges of going to school. These on-air role models function as positive examples, encouraging listeners to adopt certain behaviours over time. In the first phase of the GESS programme, GESS produced programmes to promote peaceful co-existence in schools, covering topics such as ‘How do teachers deal with tension/conflict between people from different background?’ and ‘What is happening in schools to build trust among pupils from mixed background?’.
The ‘Our School’ radio programme has so far reached two million listeners across South Sudan. Listeners have expressed how relevant and impactful the episodes are: “The topics discussed are interesting and relevant to the community. For example, the programme is talking about early and forced marriage, sending children to school, the benefits of education which are happening in our community,” a male listener from Eastern Equatoria State.
“The programme is interesting and educative. It creates awareness in the mind of the community and removes practices that hinder education to children especially girls and children with disabilities,” a male teacher from Unity State.
Positive change in society begins with long-term changes in behaviour that promote peace and education for all. GESS believes that radio can help to achieve this.
As we celebrate this day under the theme ‘Radio and Peace’, we call upon all stakeholders to ensure there is peaceful co-existence in schools, especially where there are cases of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Let’s continue to keep peacebuilding on the agenda through radio! (Link to radio programmes)