In Sibut, a Central African city located 180 km from the capital Bangui, 'La Voix de Kémo', the local community radio station, which is listened to by residents throughout the day. This radio is supported by 'Fondation Hirondelle / Radio Ndeke Luka' through the media sector strengthening component of its peace process support project, financed by the EU Trust Fund for the Central African Republic – Bêkou Fund. Training, coaching, equipment, co-production of programmes: these are the type of activities from which La Voix de Kémo and its agents benefit to always guarantee more quality to listeners.
At the end of 2021, the radio had only one woman among the 12 community radio agents. “One woman alone was not enough” laments Innocent Banga Ziambi, the Voice Director of Kémo, “there was an imbalance – during the week, it was practically only men that the listeners listened to on the radio".
So, in January 2022, recruitment was launched for 3 leadership positions and 1 technical position, with the firm desire to integrate new women into the team. First success, out of the 29 files received, 11 were female, in a city where young women struggle to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate. Innocent explains “The women who were formerly on the radio – especially the one who was hired by a major radio station in the country inspired the youngest. And then we raised awareness on the airwaves by encouraging women to work and empower themselves.”
Huridis, Daniella and Edwige finally took up their posts on 1 February 2022. After following a month of training and coaching, they are gradually taking over the air. They animate the mid-day segment "les souhaits de bon appétit", participate in the production of the magazine "Le repas" and the magazine "Justice". When the need arises, they go out into the field and collect the opinions and testimonies of the locality’s inhabitants on subjects covered in the daily newspapers. It is also a way for them to take account of the concerns of local girls and women, who confide in them more easily.
Moussa Rodrigue and Thibault, loyal listeners who are members of the Radio la 'Voix de Kémo' listeners' club, are delighted with these new arrivals. “We often listen to the programmes of new women working on the radio. The programmes are of good quality, we congratulate them for the work done, they must continue”.
Before getting their job on the radio, Edwige, Daniella and Huridis worked in the fields and sold their harvest at the market. “With this new job as radio hosts, you meet more people, different people that you don’t meet at the market. We can discuss a lot of things with these people,” rejoices Edwige. For Daniella, it's a pleasure to come and work on the radio and to gain notoriety in the city: "We participate in the development of our city because without the radio, we don't feel good, we have no information, we hear only the rumours in the neighbourhood”.
This professional opportunity allows them to develop their computer skills and practice writing, but also to earn a fixed salary. “We are greatly congratulated by our families for having obtained this job,” says Huridis.
Gender issues remain central in CAR and in the media sector, where women remain little or not represented in decision-making positions: editor-in-chief, radio director or member of the boards of directors. Creating an environment conducive to the development of women's skills is a daily challenge in which Radio Ndeke Luka and its partners, such as Voix de Kémo, invest, working for the effective inclusion of women in programmes but also in teams.
The radio was created in 2000 by 'Fondation Hirondelle' and receives funding from the Bêkou Trust Fund, a European Union multi-donor fund aimed at supporting the resilience of the Central African Republic. Thanks to this support, Radio Ndeke Luka produces and broadcasts reliable, independent and widely accessible information.
It broadcasts in French and in the national language – Sango, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from FM transmitters installed in the capital Bangui and in 9 provincial towns. The project also aims to support the Central African media in their professionalisation and empowerment.