Radio Helps to Overcome Ethnic Hatred in Central Africa

Studio Ijambo and Radio Kwizera Promote Reconciliation

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NAIROBI, Kenya, JULY 9, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Studio Ijambo and Radio Kwizera have agreed to collaborate in an effort to use radio as a tool of conflict prevention and reconciliation in the bloodstained Great Lakes region.



Studio Ijambo and Radio Kwizera were established in 1995, in response to the use of "hate radio" during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Based in Bujumbura, Burundi, Studio Ijambo produces radio programs aimed at promoting dialogue, peace and reconciliation. Hutu and Tutsi journalists work alongside each other, producing about 30 programs a week in Kirundi and French. They broadcast on state and private radio stations in Burundi, on a community radio station in Eastern Congo,
and via the Studio Ijambo Web site, www.studioijambo.org.

Studio Ijambo has earned a reputation for its balance. According to an independent evaluation in 2001, Studio Ijambo programs were credited with having changed the political and social language from "one of hate and mistrust to one of dialogue, negotiation and reconciliation."

Radio Kwizera (Radio Hope), based in Ngara and Kibondo in Tanzania, broadcasts from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Its content combines news bulletins and formal and informal education programs in Kirundi, Kiswahili, English and French.

Tanzanian and Burundian journalists work together at Radio Kwizera.

The radio stations' collaboration include program sharing, co-productions, journalist exchanges, and a correspondents' network.

The collaboration aims to help reunite Burundi refugees with their compatriots in Burundi, through the power of radio.

"This collaboration will open up a dialogue, through the radio programs, between Burundians in Burundi and those in the camps," commented Lena Slachmuijlder, director of Studio Ijambo. "In the absence of dialogue and information, dangerous rumors and misunderstanding thrive. This collaboration aims to open a space where Burundians can begin to discover each others' realities, and find a common understanding of reconciliation."

"It is our hope that the collaboration between Radio Kwizera and Studio Ijambo will be an important contribution to the promotion of peace and the prevention of further conflict," the director of Radio Kwizera, Father Hugues Deletraz, said.

Radio Kwizera was founded in western Tanzania in 1995 to promote peace, understanding and reconciliation among the Rwandese who left their country in the thousands and went to western Tanzania.

An extension of Radio Kwizera was blessed and opened on June 29 by the local prelate, Bishop Paul Ruzoka. The extension will offer the message of peace to the people who live in the camps in the Kibondo district, and to some camps in the Kasulu district in the Kigoma region.

The radio's broadcasts reach Rwanda, Burundi and western Tanzania. The audience numbers close to 4 million.