DOT-COM Activity: Sudan Radio Service
Short Description: As part of an effort to increase the participation of southern Sudanese, the Sudan Radio Service (SRS) provides access to balanced, accurate news and useful information through radio-based education and entertainment programs presented by local presenters in English, Arabic, and eight local languages.
Phase/Type of Activity: Signed Award Status: Active
Start date: March 12, 2003 End Date: July 16, 2006
Person(s) to contact
Jeremy Groce , Radio Programming Advisor
Sudan Radio Service , Education Development Center
Kent Noel , Project Director
Education Development Center
Full Description: The Fall 2002 USAID/OTI assessment team determined that a lack of access to information in the Sudan, particularly regarding the then on-going peace process, was a significant problem. During the run-up to a peace agreement, independent media would help ensure that the southern Sudanese fully appreciate all aspects of an agreement and could articulate concerns and desires to their respective leaders. Moreover, the provision of balanced information is critical to expand citizen participation in local governance and in peace/reconciliation efforts.
Why a Radio Service for Southern Sudan Given Sudan's great size and high rates of illiteracy, shortwave radio was identified as the best means to quickly establish independent media for southern Sudan. Existing radio broadcasts in regional languages have been limited to broadcasts from the north and sporadic coverage from various international services like the BBC. USAID/OTIs plans for a radio service targeting southern Sudan constitute a critical component of the USAID strategy for development in Sudan and the wider USG support to the recently-concluded IGAD-led peace process. In addition to increasing the flow of information into southern Sudan, the radio service also enhances southern Sudanese journalistic capacity.
Radio Service Management Structure Education Development Center is USAID/OTIs implementing partner for the Sudan Radio Service (SRS). Funds from USAID/OTI have launched the initiative, with assistance from other international partners complementing these efforts as available. A Board of Trustees prominent individuals selected for their independence and demonstrated commitment to regional peace is being developed to help set the services goals, define its mission, and provide general oversight once the project becomes independent. Until then, the prospective board members will form what is being called an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee will advise Sudan Radio Service, but also guide the project in its transformation from being an international NGO project to being an indigenous NGO in its own right.
Radio Content Programming and Format The goal of the services programming is to promote peace and development through the reporting of accurate, balanced news/current events and programming that focuses on civic education, health issues, agriculture, educational issues, culture, and even entertainment. In SRS effort to provide accurate, balanced news and information, the service operates within a strict ethos of journalism. While editorial consideration and care is taken with the manner in which we report certain events, we believe that in a democratic society, the people have a right and responsibility to know everything that is happening, as well as what their government and (elected or self-proclaimed) representatives are doing.
The service emphasizes civic education and governance programming, promoting the positive and peaceful development of government and civil society institutions. The service also broadcasts educational programming, such as programs on agriculture/animal husbandry, economic/business development, and health issues, to name but a few. Information about humanitarian and development assistance is highlighted so that the people of southern Sudan know how to access available assistance. The radio service also promotes cultural programming such as music, poetry, story-telling, and dramas, using these forms of entertainment to draw in listeners.
Frequencies and timetable The service was launched on July 30, 2003 with music broadcasts and the transmission of news and information commenced on August 7, 2003. The service transmits Monday - Friday from 6 9 a.m. and 6 9 p.m. at various frequencies. From November 1, 2005 SRS is transmitting from 6 8 a.m. at 7,120 kHz; from 8 9 a.m. at 9,525 kHz; from 6 8 p.m. at 15,575 kHz; and from 8 9 p.m. at 11,705 kHz (all shortwave frequencies). Those with internet access may also listen to daily broadcasts at any time by visiting www.sudanradio.org.
Please submit comments, questions, and requests to the radio service at [email protected] or [email protected].
Update 1 (as of June 2004):
SRS has been broadcasting for almost a year now, and airs weekly programs on civic education, issues related to formal education in southern Sudan, health (particularly HIV/AIDS), and the news regarding the ongoing peace process. Feedback from listeners has been abundant, with the vast majority of comments being very positive. Listeners appreciate the daily updates on the peace process and enjoy the music and culture programs. Furthermore, the journalistic quality of SRS programming is greatly improving, partly due to a subscription to the BBC Monitoring Service. These additional resources of access to media report on Sudan throughout the world have provided SRS the ability able to ensure that news reports are accurate and balanced.
Update 2 (July-Sept. 2004):
SRS kicked off its media campaign in Maridi with football, a dance contest, musical entertainment, an arts and crafts show, uniforms, shirts, and trophies to publicize SRS. In terms of news, SRS continues reporting on health, education, development, political, and current events affecting its listeners. These have included breaking news from Darfur. In staffing news, the SRS has recently hired a new IT specialist, a new producer, and a new marketing assistant. The service has also been successful in expanding the number of stingers it has throughout Sudan.
Update 3 (January-March 04):
Sudan Radio Service continued to cover key topics and issues in the peace process. SRS also aired a series of public service announcements in 9 languages regarding an upcoming polio vaccination campaign across southern Sudan. The vaccination effort was spearheaded by the World Health Organization and the radio announcements focused on increasing awareness and educating listeners about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
Development Sector(s): Conflict Management, Transition Initiatives
ICT Intervention(s): Radio
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