Establishment of the Kwenje Community Radio
The Chama district is far away (more than 330 km) from Lusaka, Zambia's capital city where the media industries and institutions are located. The national radio signal barely reaches this province and newspapers: monthlies, weeklies and dailies are a rarity. Most of the citizens of this area end up listening to Malawian radio, even reading newspapers from the same country, which is not ideal for the building of a national identity. The illiteracy rate is very high because of the long distances to schools and the natural barriers like hills and rivers, which lead pupils to drop out of school. Besides, the very few schools are also too crowded, which appears dissuasive even for the most enthusiastic learners. The overall population is also vulnerable to malnutrition and other diseases. Coupled with HIV/AIDS, it all results in a rise in orphan population, especially orphaned-child headed households. Issues of public health such as environmental degradation and sanitation and a high prevalence of HIV and malaria are some of the areas in which the people have insufficient information. The project seeks to empower the people of Chama by providing them with a means of communication that would enable them to speak out and be heard, to engage in a dialogue about their living conditions and defend their cultural and linguistic diversity. It aims at contributing to human rights education by promoting freedom of expression through the development of media-centred interactive programmes, with a programme schedule compiled around rights and responsibilities of both men and women of the Chama district. These broad objectives will be accomplished through the more specific objectives of: establishing a fully operational democratically run community radio in Eastern Zambia's Chama District promoting social and development goals, human and political rights of rural marginalised men, women and the youth, and particularly the right to freedom of expression; broadcasting programmes on health, HIV/Aids, agriculture and education, elaborated by community production units after the training of production and technical staff; contributing to human rights education and to the promotion of the culture of citizenship and sense of belonging; creating a platform for a dialogue accessible to women, mainly the illiterate, and to the unemployed youth peasant farmers living in the most remote parts of the Chama district.