Vital, reliable information for 270,000 refugees from East Africa: That is the goal of a joint project by the UN refugee agency UNHCR and DW Akademie in Uganda.
On June 22, the organizations will launch a new radio station in Bidibidi, one of Africa's largest refugee settlements. Other partners in Bidibidi FM include the Ugandan NGO Straight Talk Foundation and the Dutch REF FM Foundation.
The Bidibidi refugee settlement in northwestern Uganda, on the border with South Sudan, covers an area of roughly 250 square kilometers. Around 270,000 refugees live there. Most have fled the civil war in South Sudan, while others come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Living conditions in Bidibidi are precarious, with many lacking access to food, clean drinking water and medical care. The need for reliable information is great – not only for the refugees, but also for aid organizations and people in the surrounding communities.
Carsten von Nahmen, managing director of DW Akademie: "At Bidibidi FM, refugees and local volunteers produce the radio program together. In this way, the new local station strengthens social dialogue. It also gives all people in Bidibidi access to reliable information. There are also many illiterate refugees, so radio is the best way to reach them."
Matthew Crentsil, UNHCR country representative: "Bidibidi FM empowers refugees, enhances community engagement, and promotes social cohesion by providing reliable information. Its communication-for-development approach supports refugees in building better livelihoods."
Aarni Kuoppamäki, program director for displacement and crisis preparedness at DW Akademie: "We are looking forward to supporting the people living in Bidibidi and the surrounding area to develop their own radio programming. Especially in crisis situations, it's vital that reliable information flows both ways between those affected and those there to assist them."
The station will officially open on June 22, 2023. Presently, four permanent team members work for Bidibidi FM. DW Akademie, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), is responsible for training the journalists. In addition to learning the basics of journalism, the team is also trained in topics such as conflict-sensitive reporting and fact-checking. Bidibidi FM currently broadcasts in English and Arabic from Monday to Friday. In the future, employees with varying language skills will be recruited to make the programs more accessible to the different local population groups.
The radio station Bidibidi FM was initiated by the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The project is implemented jointly by DW Akademie, the Dutch REF FM Foundation and the Ugandan non-governmental organization Straight Talk Foundation.
DW Akademie is Deutsche Welle's center for international media development, journalism training and knowledge transfer. Its projects strengthen the human right to freedom of expression and unhindered access to information. DW Akademie empowers people worldwide to make independent decisions based on reliable facts and constructive dialogue. DW Akademie is a strategic partner of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. We also receive funding from the Federal Foreign Office and the European Union and are active in more than 70 developing countries and emerging economies.