A group of young people in the Central African Republic have combined forces with the country’s flagship radio station, Radio Ndeke Luka, to fight for their rights against corrupt officials. The group was planning to study in Morocco on a Moroccan government scholarship scheme.
"We were selected for 2019 because we were the best in our schools," says Kratos Ngadjama, one of the scholarship students. "During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a small suspension. Now in 2021, Morocco has updated the file by sending the list of successful candidates, the names of their universities, their cities, including boarding schools.”
30 scholarships were awarded for the 2021-2022 academic year. However, the scholarship holders got wind that some fraudulent manoeuvres were taking place during the process of obtaining visas for Morocco "While Morocco was about to send us the invitations, agents of the general secretariat of scholarships decided to replace us with other people," says Kratos
Radio: an effective, accessible tool for all
Fraud in the awarding of scholarships is not new. It undermines the education system and equality of opportunity. Unfortunately, appeals made by aggrieved students are rarely successful, due to lack of support. The lack of follow-up and sanctions fuels this phenomenon, which is taking on worrying proportions.
Faced with the risk of being deprived of their grants, the students mobilised to demand that their rights be restored. They contacted Radio Ndeke Luka, betting that radio coverage of their case would have immediate repercussions on the public officials involved and the authorities of the Ministry of Higher Education.
Radio Ndekele Luka was created in 2000 by the Fondation Hirondelle and receives funding from the Bêkou Fund, a European Union multi-donor fund aimed at supporting resilience in the Central African Republic. Thanks to this support, Radio Ndeke Luka produces and broadcasts reliable, independent and widely-accessible information.
We are Central Africans. We are students, we want to build our country. We do not want corruption. That is why we have come to complain to Radio Ndeke Luka so that our voices are heard.
- The students
After field investigation and cross-checking of information by journalists, a report was broadcast on Radio Ndeke Luka and its partner community radio stations in the provinces. Following the report, the authorities took up the case. The investigations helped to identify the officials at fault and resolve the situation: "We won our case thanks to Radio Ndeke Luka and certain authorities in the country. Our rights have been restored and our visas have already been issued by the Moroccan embassy in Bangui. We are all going to go to Morocco to continue our studies," says Bienheureuse Dango, one of the scholarship holders.
This case illustrates the indispensable role played by Radio Ndeke Luka to facilitate communities to live together and build peace. It is a powerful tool at the service of all, but especially vulnerable and marginalised populations. "I am delighted because the work we have done has borne fruit despite the threats made by some of the agents in charge of awarding the grants," says Inès Laure Ngopot, one of the journalists involved in the investigation of this case.