Reaching Across the Airwaves to Bring Peace to the People
Project Summary and Proposed Expansion
Society of Nigerian Doctors for the Welfare of Mankind
Background: Regions of Nigeria have been embroiled in conflict for over a decade, fueled by ethnic, religious and economic hostilities. The advent of Boko Haram, a deadly extremist Islamic sect has worsened the situation. There is a need for programmes and policies that foster citizen participation in the peace process if the country is ever going to return to the path of unity and mutual trust.
Case for action: The radio program, “Bringing Peace to the People” on Silverbird Rhythm FM 93.7 radio, Jos, Nigeria in 2009 showed how powerful radio can be as a tool for stimulating discussion on peace and factors that promote or threaten it. Medical student members of Society of Nigerian Doctors for the Welfare of Mankind (SNDWM, IPPNW- Nigeria), conducted a well-received radio programme designed to educate the public – especially youth – about violence prevention from a public health perspective. It introduced the concept of “peace through health” and discussed IPPNW’s global Aiming for Prevention violence prevention campaign. The broadcasts featured members of SNDWM, policy makers, and other civil society leaders in programs that described the human dimensions of small arms effects on health, how Nigerians could become involved in violence prevention work, information on key treaties such as the Arms Trade Treaty, and information on SNDWM. The host radio station has a wide audience, especially among Nigerian youth. An informal survey of a sample of listeners indicated the show was of value to them. We also partnered with local youth groups to raise awareness of how to prevent violence. (See “IPPNW Radio Show” – Facebook)
Proposed expansion: We propose to replicate the radio program in several troubled areas of Nigeria including Jos, Abuja and Lagos. And, evaluate its impact using community questionnaires and meetings. Preliminary project meetings and discussions have taken place. Partial funding has been acquired. Additional funding is being sought for “Raising Awareness about Small Arms Violence through Interactive Radio Programmes.”