Madjihinguem Nguinabe talks about what motivates him as a journalist to help his community get the information they need.
I was always really interested in the work of radio stations and I’d heard about Internews, so I asked for a work placement. I really wanted to see what journalism was like because I didn’t know anything about it. Voix de Ouaddai in Abeche fortunately took me on as a volunteer in 2009, and I moved here to Goz Beida to work at Radio Sila in 2010.
Now I’ve learnt the trade of journalism I can say that I love the job – it’s even better than I thought it would be. I like it because information and communication can really help the community. We’ve had lots of occasions when people have come to us at Radio Sila and said “without that information that you broadcast there would have been a problem in the community.”
But my favourite thing is reporting – being close to the people and finding out about their daily life.
The best program I ever did was about sexual harassment at the university. I interviewed a girl who had been harassed by one of her professors. He said that it was her that had asked for it, and she was very upset because no one would believe her. We produced a program and brought it to the attention of the university authorities and it forced them to give the professor a warning and a disciplinary hearing. These kinds of programs about violence against women – rape, early marriage, forced marriage etc. – these are the most important.
I really believe in the role of Radio Sila in the development of the region. I believe it has helped the three communities here – refugees, internally displaced people and the local population – to understand each other better because now they can hear about each other in their own language. There used to be many problems here – four or five years ago refugee women used to get attacked and raped when they went to work their fields, and the Chadian host community used to feel neglected because the aid agencies didn’t help them. It is much better now and I think the radio has played a role in that.
I am optimistic about the future of the radio. I’ve chosen to stay on as a volunteer full time with six other colleagues. I want to help it to become independent and permanent. I will give my body and soul to make it work – everything that I already am and I will test my new skills such as marketing. I think the key thing is to train young people to take over from us, so that they feel the radio belongs to them. Everyone says they think Radio Sila is a vital service, so we have to find enough money to make sure that it remains.