everyone owns a TV, or even has an electricity supply, but most
people have access to radio. In remote desert areas, radio is
a lifeline that connects isolated communities with the outside
Islamic Relief wanted to get its message across, the most effective
way was to set up its own radio station.
Akhbar,’ which means ‘The News,’ is a community
radio station that reaches 37,000 people in 22 villages.
in local languages, it runs daily cultural and social programmes
which are an information lifeline bringing the community closer
programme themes include education, the environment, health awareness
and women and children’s issues.
Relief’s work in Mali involves community development, which
means working with local people and helping them to develop successful
can be challenging in isolated rural areas but Al Akhbar is able
to reach these communities and encourage them to set up local
local communities also play a vital role in managing programmes
and ensure that Al Akhbar gives people a voice to air their views
of Al Akhbar’s major achievements has been its role in promoting
peace and reconciliation between conflicting communities such
as the local population of Gourma Rharous and nomad refugees who
returned after a five-year war.
Another significant moment was
when a cholera epidemic broke out in Gourma Rharous. The state
health service used the radio station to alert the public, and
Al Akhbar also broadcast information on prevention and treatment,
which helped to bring an end to the cholera outbreak. It also
empowered the local community by highlighting their ability to
play an active role in changing their lives for the better.
Three years after it was first set up,
Al Akhbar radio station is no longer dependent on external funding
and is able to sustain itself with advertising. It is so popular
that almost everyone in the area tunes into it, from council chiefs
to desert nomads.