We use radio to amplify youth voices across Africa, giving them the skills and tools to speak about their lives
At the end of May 2018, the Ebola virus was confirmed in Mbandaka, a city of around 1.5 million people, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Previous reports of the disease had all been in remote areas, where Ebola might spread more slowly. Our youth reporter teams on the ground have been working hard to make information available, despite the lack of health facilities and infrastructure in the Equateur region.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) health assessment, the Democratic Republic of Congo faces a “very high” public health risk from Ebola. This is one the world’s most notorious diseases, being both highly infectious and extremely lethal. The current Ebola outbreak has already claimed the lives of more than 30 people, according to the official figures, including Batwa children and women. It has also disturbed our project plans both at radio station and community levels. Our Indigenous People’s Rights project team is currently monitoring the situation and looking for ways to protect its members again the outbreak by sharing prevention protocols and setting up its own response strategy, in case they are directly affected.
Earlier in May, we shared the production guide with the team in Mbandaka and Bikoro to support their current radio content on Ebola. Our team is all safe, although this deadly epidemic raises big fears across the all Equateur region. We know that there are unfortunately no adequate health facilities and infrastructure in the Equateur region, and this is even worse for Batwa Pygmy community living areas and remote villages, where the very little prevention message from government and its partners do not reach.
The Bikoro radio station (Radio Tahangi) has stopped again its operations due to technical and funding issues, and community members can’t be informed about the epidemic and its developments. But youth reporters are using their mobile radio to bring the message to people where they are, starting with schools where our 25 youth reporters have mobilised more than 2000 students from 29 schools in Bikoro between May and June so far.
We will continue to support our team on the ground in the Eqauteur region, and will bring more updates soon.
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