In the heart of the Sahel, access to reliable information is not a mere preference; it enables people to make crucial decisions on which their livelihoods may depend. People living in the Lake Chad region face recurring droughts, food shortages and a continuous influx of people displaced by conflict. And the war in Ukraine, with the resulting global grain shortages are placing even more pressure on food security.
Timely information allowing people to react to a rapidly unfolding series of crises is crucial. Radio Ndarason Internationale (RNI), which first went on air in 2015 and broadcasts in Kanembu, Kanuri, Buduma and French, has set out to address this need.
Further reading: The Lake Chad Region and Boko Haram
The program schedule focuses on daily news and issues affecting listeners directly, such as growing tensions between herders and farmers as a result of the food crisis. From good farming practices and land management to peaceful intercommunity dialogue, programming aims to reduce tensions and strengthen social cohesion.
Radio Ndarason Internationale broadcasts programs about a number of issues concerning women and their empowerment, such as combating domestic and gender violence, girls’ education, perinatal care, coping with Covid-19 and other topics. The programs, broadcast from Chad, now have some 7.7 million listeners in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.
This Greater Sahel region, which is marked by a strong oral tradition, now has a virtual forum for interaction in an area where it is sometimes impossible to establish and maintain links on the ground.
Further reading: No Security without Development in the Sahel
AFD Group has been involved in the project since 2020, providing €1.25 million of financing. These funds are helping develop the NGO Okapi Consulting, which manages the radio station, through the recruitment of a dedicated project manager, support from human resources consultants, monitoring and evaluation, and the harmonization of the association’s administrative and financial policies. RNI has been able to develop a new editorial program, hire journalists, upgrade its equipment and increase its visibility and broadcast capacity so it can reach an even wider audience, touching on all the shores of Lake Chad.
Further reading: In The Sahel, a Project to Reconnect Youth with the Media
The flagship project constitutes a first phase in improving the capacity and structure of a reliable and independent information network in Chad and Nigeria. This could also fuel longer term ambitions: RNI plans to install antennas in each of the four countries of the Lake Chad basin as a symbol of the leading media network across the region.
Further reading: How AFD Contributes to Freedom of Information around the World