“I listen to the radio all day,” says eighteen year-old Rahma Mohamed Ibed. “In the afternoons to Radio Sila when it comes on air at 4pm, and then the rest of the time I listen to BBC on shortwave or Sudanese radio.”
“Radio Sila promotes friendship between the journalists, the people in Goz Beida and the refugees. If you have a question and you don’t know the answer, you can call them or text them and they will reply,” he says. “I would really love to be a journalist one day because I see what an important service they provide in the community.”
Rahma lives in the Djabal Darfur refugee camp in eastern Chad where Internews has built three humanitarian radio stations, starting in 2005, to help those fleeing the violence in Darfur to receive the critical news and information they needed to survive.
Seven years after the first station went on air, Internews has left eastern Chad as funding to international agencies has significantly reduced. Internews has spent the past year preparing the stations for independence, including establishing rent-free premises, community governing boards and marketing strategies.
Journalist Celeste Hicks and photographer Meredith Kohut spent a month with the stations in July 2012 to document the past seven years – and what the future holds as these enormously popular stations strike out on their own. Their report – Chad and the Darfur Refugee Crisis – profiles each station, the dedicated journalists who work at them and what it means for the listeners to have access to this valuable resource.
Internews’ work in Eastern Chad has been funded over the years by: UNHCR; The US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM); USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI); USAID; UKAid; and several private foundations and individuals.
Read or download the report, Chad and the Darfur Refugee Crisis.
Read more, from a March 28 panel discussion on the stations and their impact.