Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

IWPR Radio Returns to South Sudan Airwaves

Reports from across the country will be compiled in Juba and broadcast on seven radio stations.
By IWPR staff
  • Gathering interviews for Nadhrat al-Shafafa. (Photo: IWPR)
    Gathering interviews for Nadhrat al-Shafafa. (Photo: IWPR)

IWPR’s radio programme on women’s rights in South Sudan is back on air after a gap in broadcasting due to civil conflict there.

Nadhrat al-Shafafa, which means “Transparent View”, will be broadcast on seven radio stations in partnership with the Catholic Radio Network over the next 18 months.

IWPR-trained reporters will cover issues affecting women and children amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. They will examine topics like early marriage, single mothers, child neglect and high “bride prices” among a long list of challenges facing women and young people in the region.

The original programme ran in 2012 and 2013. (See Praise for South Sudan Radio Show.)

In December 2013, a power struggle broke out between South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar, sending the country into a brutal civil war. According to Human Rights Watch, the fighting has forced one million people to flee their homes and another 400,000 to become refugees in neighbouring Sudan, Kenya and Uganda.

The weekly Nadhrat al-Shafafa programmes will be broadcast in Arabic and local languages like Dinka, Zande and Bari on Radio Voice of Hope, Radio Good News, Radio Bakhita, Radio Easter, Radio Emmanuel, Radio Anisa, and Radio Voice of Peace.

The stories are being researched and produced by reporters based in the towns of Yambio, Yei, Torit, Juba, Rumbek and Wau as well as across the border with Sudan in Gidel in the Nuba Mountains.

Reporters from at least three different stations will research each episode, giving the programme a national feel.

The 20-minute magazine-format programme is followed by a live phone-in on each station during which listeners can comment on the issues raised, ask questions and offer advice.

Fourteen journalists (12 of them women) started work on the episodes after a two-week training session held in South Sudan’s capital Juba in November 2014. They will receive further on-the-job training at their stations over the course of the project.

Two female editors based in Juba have been trained to compile the separate audio reports coming in from the various radio stations. They play a pivotal role in the broadcasts as they also commission interviews and material from the network of reporters.

The programme is part-funded by the Netherlands foreign ministry. The country’s ambassador to South Sudan, Robert van den Dool, opened the training and emphasised the importance of radio for spreading information about women’s and children’s rights.

“The work you will do is of utmost importance because with information women, children, but also men can have better lives,” he said. “They can learn more about healthcare, education and rights. I am sure you will do a good job – and I hope you will have fun at the same time.”

Maura Paul, a broadcaster from Voice of Hope in Wau who attended the training course, said, “The training will help our community, creating awareness so that women know their rights, and men will also know about women’s rights.”

Another trainee said the training method was very practical, adding, “I have learnt a lot about interview techniques – the interaction with the interviewee and making sure he is comfortable and relaxed.”

William Laat Mabor from Rumbek said he appreciated the special focus on women’s rights.

“I had heard about women’s empowerment and women’s demands, and in the future I will let her – my wife – be free and enjoy freedom like any man, because I have learned that women are equal with men,” he said.

The Nadhrat al-Shafafa programmes are funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and by the European Commission.