Community radios are development agents – Minister

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Chimanimani (New Ziana) – Community radio stations being established in many parts of the country were important in fostering unity, and preserving the country’s diverse culture, a senior cabinet minister said on Friday.

Officially launching Chimanimani FM, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said the radio stations were also critical development agents, based and focused editorially on their local communities.

Chimanimani FM is one of a series of community radio stations the Ministry has launched around the country, most based in remote parts of the country previously with no access to radio or television services.

Staffed and operated by communities, they focus their programming on pertinent local issues such as provision of health and farming advice, and preservation of local culture.

Mutsvangwa said the radio stations were key in achieving the government’s goal of ensuring no one or place was left behind in national development, through lack of information.

Referring specifically to Chimanimani FM, she said the radio station would also play the role of an early warning tool for impending danger, such as drought or cyclones.

Chimanimani district was at the epicentre of a devastating cyclone in 2019, which claimed hundreds of lives, and destroyed homes, roads and bridges, among other infrastructure.

The district is still suffering the effects of Cyclone Idai, despite the government’s best efforts to mitigate these in the aftermath of the natural disaster.

Mustvangwa said if Chimanimani FM existed in 2019, much of the impact of the cyclone – especially loss of human life and livestock – could have been avoided, through community early warning and preparedness.

The region, which is close to the Indian ocean in Mozambique, is prone to cyclones.

“One of the important roles of these community radio stations is to give early warning to the communities about impending danger like cyclones, so that people and government prepare in advance,” she said.

“If we had Chimanimani FM when we had Cyclone Idai, we could have avoided some of the damage and loss by taking precautions such as going to higher ground and escape being swept away by floods,” she added.

Mutsvangwa said government, after the launch of the radio station, will have no part in its running, and will leave the community to take full ownership and control of programming and other aspects of its administration.

But she urged the community to use the radio station to unite, fight off vices such as early girl child marriages and illicit drug abuse among youths, and preserve local culture.

She paid tribute to Unesco and the World Bank, among other partners, for helping fund the establishment of Chimanimani FM, and other community radio stations in the country.
New Ziana

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