In Africa, Radio Connects Communities Across Borders
By Jane Coaston | June 18, 2013
In the United States, radio runs a distant third behind television and internet for news gathering. Only 33 percent of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said that they listened to the radio for news. But in Africa (particularly sub-Saharan Africa), radio is by far the most dominant media source, with the widest reach and the largest audience. According to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, 92 percent of Kenyans, 93 percent of Tanzanians, and 90 percent of Mozambicans own radios, vastly outnumbering those with access to internet, mobile phones, or even television. In rural regions and in urban centers alike, radio ownership outstrips ownership of televisions, computers, or household phones. Over the past two decades, while radio use faded in the United States, commercial radio grew by leaps and bounds in Africa. In a study performed by the BBC, researchers found that community radio use in 17 sub-Saharan African countries grew by more than 1,386 percent in a six-year period.
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation has been using radio to reach audiences and share information about HIV, AIDS, care and treatment, and how to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to children. In Zimbabwe, EGPAF joined the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW) and community leaders to create a radio program sharing information on antenatal care and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). In Uganda, EGPAF and USAID used radio programs to get more men involved in the fight against pediatric HIV. In sub-Saharan Africa, EGPAF is using the radio to save lives and keep families happy, healthy, and HIV-free.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing stories about how we use radio in countries around the world. Stay tuned!
Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.