Folks, I'm still working with the Organic Health Response on IT support, and we just got an update in from the radio team on Mfangano Island, Kenya. They interviewed community members and asked them about the future of the radio station. The Ekialo Kiona Radio, EK FM, is proud to be Suba. "Turi alala," its slogan, means "together" in the local Suba language.
Here's what they had to say:
The Organic Health Response (OHR) had a vision to establish a youth-driven, wind-powered, Suba language radio station on Mfangano Island, Kenya. On World AIDS Day Dec. 1st, 2012, OHR successfully launched the radio station EK-FM. Today they broadcast live from a hand-welded communications tower on Mfangano to over 200,000 residents in rural Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
EK-FM is grounded in the philosophy of open community discourse as a cornerstone of holistic and sustainable responses to cultural erosion, environmental degradation, infectious disease, and economic isolation among remote indigenous populations.
EK-FM mobilizes youth activism, empowers marginalized groups, promotes HIV prevention and treatment services, encourages sustainable agriculture, and most importantly, preserves the endangered indigenous Suba language (Olusuba).EK-FM has had a very impactful first year of broadcast, putting OHR and the Ekialo Kiona Center (with IT support from Craig Newmark) at the center of the Suba cultural map in Kenya.
Last week, youth presenters from the station interviewed community members on Mfangano Island and asked them about the future of EK-FM. This is what they had to say:
- “I see EK Radio as the only communication tool for the people of Abasuba and that it will be the only way to help salvage the almost extinct Suba language,” paused Ex-Assistant Chief, Mzee Charles Kasera, a Suba elder who helps run the Ekidiori Radio Program focused on Suba culture.
- “Aaaaaa …. This is our voice! No one can take it out from us. In fact is has given us, our men, children, and community at large to share together. So, EK is there to stay. It is for eternity,” said Suba, a Piki (Motor cycle) rider on Mfangano Island.
- “This is the clearest radio station along the Lake Victoria region. It is even clearer than those with sophisticated equipments. I don’t want it to go away since it is my favorite station. Let it stay forever,” said Pema, a boat manager who resides at Kakiimba village in Mfangano Island.
- “I see a radio station that accommodates thousands of people from different regions in the Island, who have come to seek and experience its services. With all the programs, I see a community that is well informed and equipped with first hand information,” says Nancy Sungu, a young radio presenter with the EK Community Youth Radio.