Community radios key to disaster awareness
Ray Bande-Manicaland Bureau
THE ongoing establishment of community radio stations is part of the Government’s disaster preparedness and response mechanisms, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, has said.
Addressing delegates during the commissioning of Nyangani FM at Country Club ground yesterday, Sen Mutsvangwa said community radio stations were part of the lessons learnt during the catastrophic Cyclone Idai.
“Yesterday, (Thursday) I was in Chimanimani, I started listening to Chimanimani FM when I was at Wengezi turn-off up until I got to Chikukwa village. It is broadcasting very clearly,” said Sen Mutsvangwa.
“That is commendable. We should always remember that these community radio stations are there to better our communities.
“In fact, community radio stations are part of Government’s efforts to ensure we have effective disaster preparedness and response mechanisms after the lessons learnt following events that occurred during Cyclone Idai.
“These radio stations are not for hate speech but for development issues.”
The minister said it was not by accident to have some community radio stations in the areas they were put, but by design, so that they benefit people.
“You will note that some of these areas like Nyanga and Chimanimani are prone to disasters and therefore we expect these community radio stations to help us raise awareness before, during and after such natural calamities,” she said.
Sen Mutsvangwa, who donated a generator and three computers to Nyangani FM in her capacity as a Senator in Manicaland, said the establishment of community radio stations was ample evidence that President Mnangagwa means it when he talks about opening up the media space.
Community radio stations are expected to address existing language gaps and Nyangani FM will be broadcasting mainly in Chimanyika, Chibudya, Barcelona and Hwesa local communities’ dialects.
UNESCO executive regional director Dr Lidia Brito said the remaining six radio stations, which are yet to go on air after being granted licenses, must be assisted to see the mission being completed.
“Of the 10 radio stations granted licenses, four are now functional and we hope we will have the remaining six functioning soon.
“It is incumbent upon the people of Nyanga to support this station and own it. Through this radio station, we hope the children will learn the history of this country.
“It is very important for the young to know where they are coming from. We also want to thank Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe for working tirelessly to ensure these radio stations are functional.
“Let us also congratulate the board and the Nyangani FM family for this achievement. Our hope is that this initiative will grow and establish a community media centre which will be a hub of knowledge for citizens and help in creating knowledge in internet communication technologies,” she said.
Dr Brito also said communicating early warning systems in times of natural disasters is the duty of community radio stations.
She added that community radio stations will play a crucial role in speaking against gender-based violence.
“We hope the radio will cover issues related to women well-being and address issues related to gender-based violence.
“We need to have the radio interrogating causes and ways to reduce gender-based violence,” she said.