In Abyei, the Abyei Information & Radio Service (AIRS) is the only media outlet serving the information needs of the people in the disputed region. When a group of diaspora members contacted AIRS to provide support to an education project, AIRS served as the local conduit to complete the project. The organization called, “Pion Nyan Abyei” which translates as “Heart of Abyei daughters” wanted to provide school materials and uniforms for the 2020 school year, and its legal advisor recommended AIRS as the local partner.
As a result of extensive reporting and engagement with the local community, the authorities and humanitarian agencies, AIRS provided Pion Nyan Abyei with support to launch their project. AIRS produced audio messages targeting diaspora members and informing them about the project. Ms. Ashai Arop, focal point for Pion Nyan Abyei, commented on the role that AIRS played in their project, “you cannot imagine how your data, picture, videos and message were crucial to the launch,” she said over a call.
A fundraising event was conducted in the presence of government officials, Abyei well-wishers and donors. Among the dignitaries was the South Sudan Ambassador to the US and two former ministers. The former state minister in Jonglei recently called AIRS to thank them for their work, “I am really very happy with the way that the diaspora and home cooperated. I was impressed with the helpful data provided.” The organization’s project has increased the visibility of the Abyei community and the diaspora to the real situation on the ground.
AIRS is a sub-grantee of the USAID-funded i-STREAM (Strengthening Free and Independent Media in South Sudan) project, implemented by Internews.
(Banner photo: Girls being education in South Sudan. Credit: Medical Aid Films)