Written by Andrew Boston:
As a Peace Corps volunteer I work with Aisa 92.4 radio station in Eastern Uganda, helping manage day to day operations along with hosting 4 hours of radio programming every day. We cover a broad range of topics, from economic development to public health to current events in Uganda and Africa as a whole. Our programs on Aisa FM (Aisa means “to take care of” in the local language of Ateso) are community interactive programs, giving each listener the opportunity to call, ask question, give opinions, or reach out to the station through our Facebook page.
One of main topics for discussion is Malaria and Malaria prevention. We have received great support from United Against Malaria, Radio Pacis, and have partnered with several Volunteer sites which have produced skits, spots, and messages relating to malaria prevention. Each hour on the hour, we run a 30 second malaria awareness spot along with our local advertisements. Every week, malaria prevention is discussed during my lunchtime program slot. The program also works to debunk rumors that travel thru the village by word of mouth and draws attention to Malaria related events in our region. Every Sunday afternoon we have a group of local youths that perform a live on-air drama. Through the month of April (leading up to World Malaria Day) they made Malaria the focus of their skits. This proved to be an extremely valuable resource to raise awareness while using the local language.
In countries like Uganda the radio is still the easiest form of media to reach the largest amount of people. A survey completed in 2010 in Ngora District across 450 homes cited that 85% people received their news information from a radio that either they or their neighbors owned. Each week I am discovering a new way to take advantage of the reach the radio provides. When it comes to malaria education and prevention, the options that the radio provides are truly endless.
Andrew Boston is an Economic Development Volunteer with United States Peace Corps Uganda. Boston’s primary assignment is with a community radio station sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization). The radio station, Aisa FM Radio is located in Ngora District, in Eastern Uganda. The station covers over 5 districts of Eastern Uganda, with a reach of over 200,000 individuals.