Today, Environmental Defenders convened a dialogue with female activists and environmentalists from the Albertine region to share their stories in safeguarding rights, combating climate change, and preserving land rights. The conversation with women and girls aligns with the goals of the Environmental Defenders and Radio Terra FM programs, which seek to commemorate this year’s World Radio Days.
During the live conversation on Radio Terra FM, female activists and young girls recounted their experiences of resilience and emphasized the crucial role of Radio Terra in their efforts to preserve rights and promote food and agricultural advancements in rural areas of the region. The partcipants hailed from many organizations and local schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, with representatives from the youth organization AFOYE in the Pakwach district of Uganda also in attendance. The event took place at Radio Terra FM 95.0, situated in the border area between DR Congo and Uganda.
Origin of World Radio Day
World Radio Day is observed each on February 13. The United Nations states that the purpose of World Radio Day is to enhance public and media understanding of the significance of radio.
The purpose of this day is to promote the provision of information via radio stations and foster networking and international collaboration among broadcasters. The designated theme for this year’s World Radio Day, observed on February 13, 2024, is ” Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining, and Educating.”
Environmental Defenders works with Radio
The Environmental Defenders have utilized radio as a crucial means of communication and promoting awareness regarding environmental issues and human rights concerns in the Albertine Rift region of DR Congo and Uganda since their establishment in 2018. The organization has heavily relied on radio as an advocacy tool, empowering marginalized and traditional farming communities residing in the Lake Albert region of DR Congo and Uganda, commonly known as the “Albertine Rift Valley”.
Due to its distinctive principles and capacity to reach a broad demographic, the Environmental Defenders founded radio Terra FM in the Albertine region, broadcasting on frequencies 95.0 and 97.0.
This establishment serves as a crucial instrument for distributing environmental and human rights information, as well as providing agricultural extension services, market information, and public health updates to empower farming and fishing communities.
The Environmental Defenders use radio broadcasts to provide crucial information to remote areas as well, ensuring that both human rights and environmental information are accessible to all segments of society, including rural farming and fishing villages.
The radio is a crucial and widely embraced form of communication, particularly in rural communities in the Albertine Rift. It plays a significant role in promoting agricultural output by giving expert opinions and advice on agricultural matters, as well as supplying free agricultural extension services to farmers in remote areas.
The Environmental Defenders, via radio Terra, provide farmers with up-to-date information and specific pertaining to market access for their agricultural products. Furthermore, weather updates, fire alerts among other. The radio broadcasts are conducted in local languages to ensure universal comprehension.
Radio Terra effectively reaches the populations of Mahagi, Djugu, and Aruu in the Ituri region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as over 30 districts in western Uganda, the West Nile region, and Northern Uganda. Our annual listenership spans an impressive 30 million individuals throughout the region. Women, girls, adolescents, and individuals of all ages are enthusiastic listeners of Radio Terra. These individuals belong to illiterate groups, yet, Radio Terra effectively communicates with them in languages they comprehend.
Over time, Radio Terra has received favorable feedback from its listeners, who credit the station for enhancing their agricultural expertise in areas such as agro-ecology, agroforestry, harvesting techniques, fertilizer application, market access, crop disease management, soil fertility improvement, and animal care on farms. Additional recipients have informed the Environmental Defenders that their total agricultural productivity per unit of land has improved as a result of tuning in to radio Terra. This was made feasible by the implementation of many educational programs broadcasted by Radio Terra, with a specific focus on the agricultural sector.
In addition, while using radio as a means to assist rural farmers in addressing climate change, Environmental Defenders also use Radio Terra to safeguard human rights, advocate for land rights, and enhance women’s involvement in democracy and human rights initiatives at the local level. Radio Terra FM is the only radio station in the area that airs programming dedicated to promoting and defending human rights, advocating for communities affected by environmental damage to their water and land, as well as supporting people who have been displaced due to violent conflicts in the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The radio has provided marginalized fishing communities in the Lake Albert region of Uganda and DR Congo with the means to assert their rights, which have been infringed upon due to the impact of international development funding and projects on their livelihoods. One such project is the LEAF project, funded by the African Development Bank, which focuses on fisheries regulation in Lake Albert and has resulted in adverse effects on the local population, including the displacement of fishing communities.
The radio has amplified the voices of women and girls who have experienced gender-based violence and those who have had their property rights infringed upon, particularly in relation to land ownership issues, among other topics.
Radio Terra provides communities with up-to-date information on security and geopolitical events occurring in Africa and throughout the globe.
The radio has provided a platform for previously marginalized cultures, including women, to express their opinions and be heard. This is achieved by providing opportunities to empower those whose perspectives are not often heard in the area. Health information is disseminated to communities via the expertise and presentation of radio programs by medical physicians who are granted specific time slots to educate communities about health and pandemics.
This evening, Radio Terra FM will conduct a focused conversation on the functions of community radios in community development, with a specific emphasis on Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This show will be broadcasted on the 95 and 97 frequencies of radio Terra FM.
The leadership of Environmental Defenders expresses gratitude to the communities and beneficiaries of its program in the area where it works. The organization is grateful to the government for collaborating with them to improve the lives of local residents in the area where they operate and The Environmental Defenders express their gratitude to their development partners and financial agencies, with whom they collaborate to ensure the feasibility of their project operations.
About the Environmental Defenders
The Environmental Defenders (ED) is an ecofeminist and collaborative environmental justice organization that works to protect biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The organization operates in the Albertine Rift region (Murchison-Semliki, Greater Virunga, and Ituri landscapes), which borders the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
The organization is committed to fostering resiliency for environmental and human security, assisting marginalized Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities in the Albertine rift region to live sustainably and safeguard their cultural practices, water sources, lands, and surrounding environment.