By Jon Hargreaves
HCR partner station Amani FM in eastern Kenya’s Tana River County, has joined forces with another community station to promote peace in this conflict-affected region. The project “Amani Mashinani,” which in Swahili means peace at the grassroots, involves young people in the design and creation of feature stories and talk-shows that promote peace, using the airwaves of Amani FM in Garsen and TBS (Tana Broadcasting Service), in Hola. Besides creative radio content, many on-the-ground activities involving youth are being planned around the district to encourage awareness of how conflict happens and how it can be resolved.
The initiative follows concerns that terrorist groups such as Al-Shabab have been trying to recruit vulnerable, unemployed young people in the eastern areas of the country, near the border with Somalia.
HCR Associate Kelvin Nyangweso, one of the architects of the project, says the radio stations are operated by young volunteers who come from different communities in Tana River and who have a good understanding of the dynamics and needs of their own people.
“The radio stations will provide the youth with a platform to engage in planning and producing media content through a collective, participatory approach,” says Kelvin.
Besides training the young citizen journalists in the techniques of “peace journalism” and communication that counters violence, youth leaders in the county will also undergo training to help them prevent and respond to issues that threaten to destabilise their communities.
Amani FM was established by HCR in July 2017 ahead of Kenya’s controversial elections, in an effort to promote peace and complement the work of Una Hakika which was set up to combat rumours, misinformation and fake news, the key drivers of conflict in Tana River County.