BBC World Service Trust Wins Radio For Peacebuilding Award

BBC World Service Trust Wins Radio For Peacebuilding Award

Darfur Lifeline – The BBC World Service Trust’s humanitarian radio service in Sudan has won first prize for its children’s programme Ursom ala el ard makaanak (Draw Your Place On Earth) in the Youth category of the Radio For Peacebuilding Awards. The prize is awarded by Radio For Peacebuilding Africa.

The 30 minute programme, Ursom ala el ard makaanak, which goes out twice a week (Tuesday and Saturday) is targeted at Darfuri children and is delivered in a magazine style format. Each show consists of testimonies from Darfuri children, an information spot where children get to voice their opinions, story time, recordings of children singing or playing and a short drama skit.

The Darfur Lifeline project which was launched with the aid of ECHO and the Ford Foundation is currently funded by DFID Sudan. The project has been running since the start of this year and the award-winning team (from Sudan and Egypt) were recruited and trained specifically by the Trust.

Programme editor, Zeinab Mubarak, and her award-winning team operate out of a base in Nyala, South Darfur. Zeinab is delighted with the outcome;

“Winning the prize is wonderfully gratifying; especially that it came after almost a year of work in very challenging conditions. It is a sign of confidence in all our work, not just this one program.

The messaging was very important and we tried to put the idea of finding alternative ways to solve differences foremost. I’m glad we were able to do it well. I’m extremely happy, because the prize says that what we did is effective.”

Producer Lina Attalah, presenter Eptihag Homri and the team continue broadcasting to the internally displaced populations of Darfur with support from project director, Rosalind Yarde, in Khartoum.

“It is not difficult to put together an episode because we work together as a team. We help each other,” says presenter Eptihag.

These thoughts are shared by the show’s Producer Lina: “I remember sitting on my computer to edit the children’s testimonials after having spent a morning with them for the winning episode and smiling at their wit and honesty. But if it wasn’t for the team work and spirit I’m sure it would have been very hard to produce a proper show.”

The programmes are produced in Darfuri Arabic and are broadcast on BBC World Service short wave frequencies at 08.00hrs local time – repeated at 20.00hrs.

Anna Da Silva, head of projects in London also recognises the hard work and dedication the team have shown in Sudan since the start of the project.

“This is a well deserved reward for the great commitment they have shown over the last year under immensely difficult circumstances,” she states.

The Darfur Lifeline Radio project also broadcasts a programme for adults called Salam ila Darfur (Peace/Greetings to Darfur). The show which airs five days a week is crucial to the community of Darfur as radio is often the only way to deliver vital information.

The show covers testimonies, informative reporting, features, dramas, discussion time and family reunification.

Stephen King, Director of the BBC World Service Trust, states that “Media’s – especially radio’s – often unprecedented reach into both urban and rural areas and the ability to target content to specific audiences in local languages are a powerful combination to support development goals such as improved health, education or humanitarian needs.”

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Name: Kevin Wilson