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BBC World Service Trust launches lifeline radio project in Darfur


Category: World Service

Date: 23.01.2006
Printable version


BBC World Service Trust has launched Darfur Salaam, a humanitarian radio programme for Darfur in Sudan.

 

The 15-minute programme, to be broadcast at 8.00am local time on the new BBC frequency of 11820 kHz and repeated at 8.00pm on 9640 kHz, includes five minutes of news from the BBC Arabic Service.

 

One displaced person, currently living in a Darfur camp, said: "I like the idea of this programme and can't wait to hear my voice and my story on the radio."

 

BBC World Service Trust has obtained funding from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) and the Ford Foundation to manage the programmes for six months.

 

A team of Arabic journalists based in Darfur, Khartoum and at the BBC Arabic bureau in Cairo has been recruited and trained by the Trust, the international development NGO of the BBC.

 

Working closely with the BBC World Service Arabic team in London, Cairo and Khartoum, the Trust will manage this ambitious project and work at raising money to keep it going beyond the initial six months.

 

Nearly two million displaced people live in camps in Darfur, unable to return home because of local conflict. Radio is often the only way to deliver vital information.

 

Darfur Salaam will dispense vital, life-saving information and advice. The project is modelled on previous BBC World Service Trust lifeline projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Rwanda and Burundi.

 

The programme will feature personal testimonies, humanitarian news - including up-to-the-minute practical information about food distribution, shelter and medical help - and an educational element offering advice on security, health and social issues.

 

Hosam El Sokkari, Head of the BBC's Arabic Service, says: "It will be the survival guide for our listeners in the area. We view it as a continuation of our commitment to the region."

 

The programmes will also provide entertainment, using music, drama and storytelling to reflect and debate issues important to the audience.

 

The journalists will work with existing drama and music groups which receive support from NGOs and UN agencies in Darfur.

 

Two programmes each week will be made especially for children with contributions from Zeinab Mobarak, the well-known Egyptian children's writer.

 

For the last two years the Trust has been running a comprehensive journalism training programme in six regions of Sudan (including Darfur) to strengthen the skills of the Sudanese media.

 

Workshops held in Khartoum, Nyala, El Fasher, El Obeid, Juba, Wad Madani and Port Sudan were designed to enable local journalists to produce quality programmes that are accurate, fair, relevant, educational and participatory.

 

Project Director Maria Frauenrath said: "The journalists were eager to boost their skills. For many it was the first time they had undertaken specific journalism training. I found it very rewarding to work with people so keen to improve their knowledge and provide life-saving information for their communities."

 

For further information visit the BBC World Service Trust website: www.bbcworldservicetrust.org.

 

Notes to Editors

 

BBC World Service Trust works with people in developing and transitional countries to improve the quality of their lives through the imaginative use of the media.

 

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Category: World Service

Date: 23.01.2006
Printable version

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