Power for Good

(Originally published by the CDAC Network)

Radio has long been recognised as an important element in responding to any humanitarian crisis. Whether as a result of extreme weather, epidemic or conflict, displaced populations need to be informed, educated and organised if they are to recover - and radio plays a vital part in this process.

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The benefits that radio can deliver for remote, often off-grid, communities in developing nations are well documented.

For example, thanks to the dedicated work of the UN FAO’s Dimitra project and its Community Listeners’ Groups, women in the DRC and Niger are having an increasing influence on their communities’ futures and on their own roles within them. The listeners’ groups enjoy strong links with local broadcasters and have been able to develop two-way communications routes which allow for the sharing of knowledge and experience, and joint problem solving. 

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Shortly after the BBC World Service (then called the BBC Empire Service) was launched in 1932, King George V said the service was intended for "men and women, so cut off by the snow, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them."

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Africa has long been a dumping ground for the world’s waste and unwanted produce. From discarding toxic waste in Cote d’Ivoire and off the cost of Guinea to the mountains of e-waste building up in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya, businesses and governments around the world are putting African lives at risk in the pursuit of a quick buck.

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Conflicts can inflict catastrophe for longer than you might think. As battles destroy homes and populations flee violence, international governments and NGOs try to alleviate the worst effects by delivering much-needed shelter, medical aid and food supplies. Indeed, we are used to seeing tented cities spring up to accommodate displaced populations and this remains a vital response to such a crisis.

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Pass any high street while football championships are underway and you will see crowds of punters gathered in pubs and bars watching the latest play-offs. The lure of a big screen and a beer may be strong, but many spectators will have access to a fridge and a TV at home.

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