World Radio Day 2024 resonates with the impactful theme, “Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining, and Educating,” emphasising the profound influence of radio as a catalyst for change in society. As we immerse ourselves in the celebration, our focus turns to the ways radio functions as a communication channel within our regional organization’s activities, impacting the lives of cross-border communities.
IGAD leverages radio through its climate, peace, and livestock and pastoralist centers, effectively disseminating information on climate hazards, early warnings, best practices, peace messages, and livestock updates to pastoral and cross-border communities. Despite the global dominance of communication channels like TV and social media, radio remains pivotal for the IGAD secretariat to reach key audiences directly affected by policies and programs.
Globally, radio retains its status as the most widely consumed medium. Its unique ability to reach the broadest audience positions radio as a tool that shapes a society’s experience of diversity, providing a platform for all voices to be expressed, represented, and heard. The strategic utilization of this essential resource is crucial in advancing peace and development in the IGAD region.
On this day, we commend visionaries who have harnessed radio’s transformative potential, earning them accolades as IGAD Media Awardees in the radio category in 2023. These awardees exemplify the transformative spirit, using radio broadcasts as a tool to challenge norms, break barriers, and bring about positive change.
Meet Mr. Bernard Maranga, a Radio Producer at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Radio TaifaFM, Kenya, who shares his insights on the power of radio in mitigating climate change. He says, “As we celebrate this year’s World Radio Day, I acknowledge the transformation radio has brought within Kenya and the entire IGAD region by informing the masses about climate information and improving agricultural productivity. This has improved the livelihoods of people in the region. Radio has also contributed to a healthy IGAD region by communicating health messages, especially during pandemics. Prevention of COVID-19 and Polio campaigns has successfully been done by radio personalities and health experts through radio talk shows and commercials. Despite emerging technologies, especially in this era of social media, radio is still loved by most ordinary citizens because of its believability. As a broadcast journalist, my two-decade career has been dependent on radio.”
Ms. Lina Mwamachi, a Journalist at Sifa FM Radio in Kenya and an IGAD 2023 Media Awardee, echoes the sentiment, highlighting the transformative role of radio in the region. She emphasizes, “the transformation radio has brought within Kenya and the entire IGAD region by informing masses about climate information and improving agricultural productivity, which has further helped in improving and transforming the livelihoods of people in the region. Despite the emerging technologies especially in this era of social media, AI technologies, and much more. Radio is widely adored by most ordinary citizens because of its diversity. As a broadcast Journalist, in my ten-plus years, I have enjoyed depending on radio despite severe limitations that face radio widely.”
In the spirit of World Radio Day, the stories of our awardees showcase the real-life impact of radio as a medium of change. Knowledge empowers them to make informed decisions, contribute to their communities, and inspire future generations. As we celebrate the IGAD Media Awardees, let us not forget the countless individuals in the region whose lives have been shaped and uplifted by the transformative waves of radio. World Radio Day serves as a reminder that, beyond the frequencies, it is the human stories that truly highlight the enduring power of this remarkable medium.
Acting Head of Communications, IGAD Secretariat.