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.
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.