The Way Forward for Radio Kwizera
The objective of RK was and is to encourage dialogue and promote peace and reconciliation in the community. In carrying out this objective it has established a remarkable record of defending peoples rights by standing for the truth. Over the next months JRS will be handing over the management of the work of RK to the Jesuits. All the people involved in this handover are committed to building on the great reputation and achievements of RK over the years.
Radio Kwizera basically consists of four programmatic elements, namely non-formal education, formal education, Information-news and Information-entertainment. Due to constraints in funding and challenges running a popular radio station with two repeater stations, there has been little time to revisit the founding vision and create a model for the future of a new Jesuit owned radio station. Therefore a meeting took place in Mwanza, Tanzania, on 7 and 8 March to discuss and make concrete plans for the way forward. The meeting was attended by the Project Director of RK, Damas Missanga SJ, JRS Country Director, Romy Catagin SVD, JRS Regional Director, Joe Hampson SJ and East Africa Province Consultant of the Jesuits, Bob White SJ.
There was a recognition and agreement on principles that will continue to guide RK. The Radio Station is a life companion through campaigns, contests, social services, support and assistance to community based organisations. There will also be continuous educational support with the underlying motto not to have more but be more. Furthermore, RK will be involved in community debates and giving news and relevant information. These principles will be even deepened through the general motto: Sowing the seeds of Hope. JRS hopes that the great foundations of this apostolate will be enhanced by the commitment and involvement of the Province to create a deeper impact within the country and region.
By the end of 2008 the Province is to assume responsibilities for RK as one of its priority works and should become part of the Jesuit identity in East Africa and integrated through Jesuit spirituality, schools and parishes. This would require a programme of training and missioning young Jesuits for the work at RK. A fund will be established, with the help of partners, to give some financial independence to the apostolate.
During the transition period, JRS will ensure that the Radio stays valuable and committed in working with and for the poor. This includes continuous JRS commitment to peace and reconciliation, developing leadership trainings and adult literacy programmes, communication that leads to individual empowerment and community mobilisation, encouragement for people to listen and actively participate and integrate with each other.
Some important dates were identified to mark the transitional progress such as a project proposal by April 2008 and a presentation to the province consultation team. Furthermore, the official opening of the new RK building is scheduled for 1st of July and the official handover to the EA Province on 31st December.
By Fr. Joe Hampson, JRS-EA Regional Director