Using Radio to Broadcast Justice

Legal Empowerment in Practice: Effective Radio Strategies

In this post we highlight how Network members in Myanmar, Kenya, and Tanzania use the power of radio to advance justice and spread their work.

@urdu Khalid Hussain, the Founder and Executive Director of Council of Minorities just visited the Namati office in DC. He shared with us how his organization is using radio in Bangladesh as a part of their work.

Do you use the radio in your country? Join the discussion and tell us below!

Why did you decide to start using radio, and do you see it strengthening your work?

@Yadana: The program was initiated by MyJustice and they invited me. At first, I didn’t want to join as it might annoy the authorities. But, realizing the impacts to our outreaching, I took the chance and joined all three programs (Mandalay FM for general public, TEEN FM for teenagers and DVB TV Show). I believed the broadcasting and airing reached a wider audience far more than our usual activities.

@mustafa_mahmoud: Radio has a wider reach and can cover more area compared to the small team of paralegals. It is also engaging and entertaining and this was why we chose to do radio shows. We are able to get a wider reach of people in a short period of time that would take months or years to reach and disseminate the message to.

@syrus: We serve the poor community who depend on radio to get information. Radio voice reach many villagers at once and community radio stations are enabling isolated communities across Tanzania to voice their own concerns. On air, ordinary citizens discuss issues that are central to them, such as injustice issues. Some areas are not easily accessible and we do not money to set an office or to take service there etc. Yes, it strengthens our work by increasing our impact on positive changes. We reach a wider audience since we have a line for SMS and mechanism to track the number of the listeners.

How did you decide to structure your program?

@Yadana: I tried to be neutral and focused on awareness raising rather than touching sensitive issues. For example, I emphasized on Citizenship rather than Statelessness.

@mustafa_mahmoud: The structure of the show was jointly decided with the radio station based on the fact that we were just supporting an ongoing show.

@syrus: We bring all the stakeholders in case it is a discussion but it is based on a direct presentation we present it as teaching lesson where you present receive questions, comments and we work on them. NB radio programmers assist us to make it effective as an expert.

Do you have tips for other practitioners who would like to start using radio or podcasts in their own organization?

@Yadana: Especially for radio programs, speaker should discuss the issues in informal talks or live conversations with hosts. Most normal programs are a bit boring as the speakers laterally. Listeners get tired of this and usually switch to music. For some organizations with adequate financial resources and if they are planning to use similar approach, I strongly recommend using mild debates with multi-speakers instead of solo lecturer.

@mustafa_mahmoud: The key strategy is to have clear talking points for the radio as well as having a creative host for the radio who knows how to direct a show. One key advice to new practitioners is to prepare well for the radio show. It will help if you could get a list of the topics for at least half the year but also be flexible to alternate the shows based on the demand of listeners and continuing previous topics that were not completely exhausted.

@syrus: It is better to use the radio to market your organization even introducing your works and your contacts. Also, the radio does not charge highly as other users, it’s very useful for addressing bad beliefs and changing attitudes in long term. Lastly, it is a platform to share your work, you can successfully use this to influence the community to trust you and engage you with their activities.

@Yadana speaking with Mandalay FM in Yangon, raising awareness on civil documentation.

@Yadana on DVB TV Show

What is your organization’s mission?

Braveheart Foundation, Myanmar

Thematic focus: Citizenship

@Yadana: Along with recent transition periods towards democratization, Myanmar is opened and facing with various experiences of both good and bad. Unquestionably, its people has been oppressed by various dictators throughout the history. Once they enter new era, everything is new to us including the philosophy of paralegal. As one of the active leading members of Myanmar National Paralegal Network, I myself am devoted to nurture and flourish the group to effectively and efficiently serve needy people.

Namati, Kenya

Thematic focus: Citizenship

@mustafa_mahmoud: I have over 5 years experience of hosting a radio show borrowing from my previous work with Nubian Rights Forum. The mission of the radio show is to grow a movement of communities facing discrimination and those sympathizers of the community to speak against the discrimination process.

Himiza Social Justice, Tanzania

Thematic focus: Citizenship, Gender

@syrus To advocate and promote equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities through legal and policy advocacy, capacity building and community empowerment, youth engagement, fundraising, and resources mobilization.

Please feel free to reach out to any of our three interviewees with any questions you may have about their organization’s work and their experiences using the radio to promote it.

We want to hear from you! Please share if you are using the radio at your own organization, and how you see it impacting your work.


C’est encore mieux pour le travail des assistants juridiques à la base car la radio communautaire permet de toucher à un grand nombre de personnes riches et pauvres à la fois et un laps de temps trùs important !

Je vois ici que l’accĂšs Ă  la justice s’amĂ©liore en grand pas avec les radio de proximitĂ© et/ou communautaire.

Souvent, pour notre activitĂ©s au Mali, nous utilisons des radios communautaires pour atteindre les populations des zones Ă  risque auxquelles l’accĂšs est difficile.

A chaque fois que nous avions utilisĂ© les radios communautaires pour sensibiliser et informer les communautĂ©s sur les diffĂ©rentes possibilitĂ©s juridiques par rapport aux problĂšmes liĂ©s Ă  l’accĂšs Ă  la justice, les rĂ©sultats ont Ă©tĂ© positifs !!!


I really enjoy this topic exploring how members merge legal empowerment with radio programs from Myanmar to East Africa, and it is great to hear of your positive experience doing just that in Mali, @KONATEZan.

I know many members use the radio in different ways, like @patrickjohnbull in Sierra Leone using radio programming for general legal awareness or @RKM who uses radio for addressing land issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I would be interested to hear more from members about their use of radio in legal empowerment work, particularly successes in specific thematic areas like children’s rights, community radio programming that is citizen led, or radio programs that do more than spread legal awareness. Any thoughts?

@Akhona, @Randall, @Princemuhurla, @rosekaha, @Paulinajuma, @paulmcnally, @bazlur, @judi_IYR, @bricksadvice, @ZandileMashaba, @Lawal, @AmalElhudhud, @aviimaupreti, @Ntmodi, @CMFetterhoff, @AnitaTiggelaar


Hi Michael

The Citizen Justice Network builds journalism capacity for paralegals to develop stories on social justice issues in under-reported areas.We provide technology, editorial guidance and connect them with local community radio stations so they can broadcast their stories in African languages. We have 10 paralegal journalists who work with different community radio stations across the country. Some of the most notable shows done in 2018 are one such as the the show that aired on August 2018 by the Amoati paralegal journalist in Inanda, KZN. The show topic was on Arranged Marriages a traditional practice in South Africa that is closely linked to the practice of Ukuthwala . The show aimed to concertize the community that the practice is a crime and tried to engage the community on cultural practices that violate others whilst they in fact they see it as part of preserving their culture. The show aimed educate the listeners about the consequences such as facing rape and kidnapping charges if they continue to practice this culture.

On the 31 January 2018, Orange farm aired a show discussing issues relating to deceased estate and will and testaments. The shows aimed to raise awareness about the importance of a will works in an estate, how to register a will with the masters, because there are instances where people create their wills separately and when the children who are not in the will dispose of the will or simply not produce once the deceased has passed on.

The Messina Legal Advice office has been in the forefront of mediating a number of community issues and the most prevalent in Musina is unfair dismissal of employees and Crime. On the 3 August 2018 they aired a show on Musina FM on Crime Prevention which was sparked by the spike of crime in the community and reports from the Community Police Forum about the new drug called ‘Matombo’. The purpose of the show was to encourage the community members to report crime because it was discovered that cases don’t get reported unless it affects them personally.

You can listen to some of the shows on our soundcloud account: Citizen Justice Network | Free Listening on SoundCloud


That is a great example @ZandileMashaba, thanks for sharing here on the forum.

I really like how the Citizen Justice Network supports paralegals from different community advice offices to communicate their stories effectively to a broad public audience while touching on a number of pressing justice issues. Communications and story-telling is quite an art and has been more of focus in our recent leadership course and learning exchanges as it is often not seen as a priority. If you had any helpful resources to share for members looking to use the radio in similar ways, I would encourage you to share them here or via PM to me and I will be sure to publish them in our resource library. :sunny:


Hola a tod@s, en nuestra organizaciĂłn tuvimos una experiencia exitosa con el uso de la radio. El acceso a los espacios radiales es relativamente econĂłmico y te permite brindar gran cantidad de informaciĂłn en poco tiempo a diferencia de los medios escritos.

Una de nuestras estrategias fue la de grabar pequeñas capsulas de consejos legales de para luego ser compartidas a través de apps como Whatsapp, así aprovechamos un poco mås la oportunidad de grabación de calidad que tienen los estudios de radio.




This is enlightening. I ran a programme titles Access3 to Justice on Radio IN NIGERIA for about 5 years. But I must confess it was not properly structured. I’m thinking of similar programme again. I believe we can get it right this time around. Thanks.