Cote d’Ivoire Radio Station, Looted and Burned, Returns to the Airwaves

Station reaches an audience still affected by violence and displacement

Man listens to a portable radio
A refugee from Côte d’Ivoire in a camp in Liberia listens to news on the radio. (credit: Bonnie Allen/Internews)

While violence has largely subsided, Cote d’Ivoire is still suffering from the effects of the post-electoral crisis that resulted in more than 3,000 deaths and left tens of thousands of people displaced, following the December 2010 disputed presidential election. In recent months, there have been a series of alarming outbreaks of violence that have led to a new wave of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Now, Radio Voix du Guémon, a much-needed outlet for local information in Duekoué, a town in the west of the country that was severely impacted by conflict, has returned to the airwaves after an 18-month absence.

During the fighting, the radio station was looted and burned to the ground. This has left a significant portion of the local population and IDPs without any credible information, something that became especially worrisome this past July when a camp with 5,000 IDPs was attacked and burned down.

Recognizing the important need for information in Duekoué, Internews worked with the United Nations Mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and other international organizations including UNFPA, International Rescue Committee, and UNHCR, asking for their support in rebuilding the station. According to Albert Koenders, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN in Cote d’Ivoire, UNOCI provided new equipment for the station because of the strong sense of local ownership that Internews has helped to build within the community. “What Internews has done is unique in the world,” stated Mr. Koenders.

Internews’ project in Cote d’Ivoire supports local radio stations in the west of the country, the region that has been most affected by the electoral crisis and its aftermath, where there is acute need for credible, neutral information.

The Internews program focuses on building the capacity of six radio stations, covering Moyen Cavally and Montagnes, the two main Western provinces, and even deep inside neighboring Liberia, where tens of thousands of Ivorian refugees still remain. One of the main priorities has been to establish feedback groups with representatives from villages and neighborhoods. Thus far each station has managed to establish at least 20 groups whose members provide important feedback, information and even financial support.

Related Stories

  • Ukraine: Finding Home for Children on the Run from War in the East

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    The military conflict in Ukraine’s east has driven thousands of Donbas residents out of their homes, seeking safer abodes and better fortunes in other places across the country. Now they are called ‘internally displaced’, or IDPs, and many of them, literally, have to start their lives from scratch. And it is even more difficult for those families with children. In addition to financial hardship, many families must also cope with the psychological effects the war has had on their children. When the state fails in tackling these deeply emotional issues, volunteers come forward to help.

  • Internews Aims to Safeguard Dialogue, Info

    Radio World
    Friday, March 17, 2017

    Internews is a non-profit organization with a mission to “empower local media worldwide to provide people with news and information and the means to make their voices heard.” The association has been operating globally for more than 30 years and today is working in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Tanzania. Radio World spoke to Brice Rambaud, regional director, Sub-Saharan Africa at Internews about the impact of radio in these countries.