Changing Culture Through Radio In Uganda
Anywar Ricky Richards calls himself a child born of trouble. He has survived his share. Ricky and his brother were just 2 of thousands of Ugandan children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and forced into slavery as child soldiers in their civil war that has now lasted over 20 years. Ricky is one of the few who managed to escape.
I first saw and heard about Ricky’s work when he received a modern-day abolitionist award in 2008 presented by Free the Slaves.
In 1999, Ricky and his friends started Friends of Orphans (FRO), an organization dedicated to empower and reintegrate former child soldiers into a society torn apart by atrocities the children were forced to commit.
FRO impacts thousands of children and entire communities each year by providing some of the following services:
- Payment for school fees to get former child soldiers an education and a path to rejoin society
- Vocational and income generating programs
- Peer counseling and individual therapy
- Peace building projects
- Organization of music, cultural and sports progams that heal spirits and bring communities together
- Administration of HIV and AIDS support programs; the overwhelming majority of children returning form the bush are HIV positive
Ricky and his team is now launching a new initiative that will bring radio to people in Northern Uganda. Here’s why this is needed as stated on their website:
Northern Uganda region is remotely located with poor road conditions, leaving some areas inaccessible, especially during rainy season. People are only able to communicate through radio. The FRO Community Radio publications will cover a broad range of economic and social issues, including development policy, finance, health, education, environment, trade, poverty, climate change, and globalization. The Pader district local government is calling for the creation of an enabling environment which leads towards rapid and sustainable economic growth and structural transformation, increasing the ability of the poor to raise their incomes through access to productive means.
Here’s what the need radio station will hope to accomplish:
- Target the war and HIV/AIDS affected communities of northern Uganda region benefiting more than 4 million people.
- Be used by FRO, other NGOs, government officials, etc to promote, train, discuss and talk about developmental programs within the communities.
- Help the community to have their stories and views heard by other stakeholders in developments.
- Help in promoting dialogue, debate and change. This will foster sustainable and equitable development
- Be the main sources of disseminating information about developmental issues and it will help to fight poverty among the local communities.
- Be used to promote development activities and programs within the war and HIV/AIDS affected communities in northern Uganda region.
- Help in promoting education, human rights, peace building and reconciliation, livelihood programs and fighting poverty among the communities who have been affected by war for over 21 years.
- Be used to inform the communities about the disease outbreak such as such as Ebola, Hepatitis A and B, and cholera. Communities can be warned to take precaution.
- Create a communication pathway between NGO’s and the local governments. Helping the communities hold developmental workers and the government accountable. Communities will be allowed to discuss programs going on in their communities and include the achievements and challenges and areas that still need to be addressed.
You can help Ricky and his team out by giving towards this new endeavor by clicking here. Here is a short video describing Ricky’s work that was featured when he received his award: