|Solar-powered, fixed-tuned SonSet® radios designed by the HCJB Global Technology Center are being provided to thousands of Africans who can’t afford radios so they can listen to Christian broadcasts in their area.|
Most of the 4.5 million residents of the Central African Republic live in a place where they cannot access the Internet, have no access to television or newspapers and can’t even receive mail. They would be cut off from the rest of the world if it weren’t for one thing—radio.
“Community radio is extremely popular in Africa,” said HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson. These stations “provide information about health, family, current events and, more importantly, the good news of Jesus.” Christian radio impacts their lives both physically and spiritually.
Since 1993 HCJB Global has been partnering with local organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa to help establish or “plant” more than 60 Christian radio stations in the region. The mission provides equipment, training for broadcasters and programmers, technical aid and seed funds to build studios.
Radio ICDI in Central African Republic, for example, went on the air in 2007 with the nation’s first privately owned shortwave station. The HCJB Global Technology Center, in Elkhart, Ind., provided the ministry with two satellite downlinks, giving access to the Internet and radio programs online. In 2011 two more regional shortwave stations in Boali extended the broadcasts, boosting access to programming in Sango, French and several tribal dialects. Topics include community development, AIDS prevention, orphan care and well-water systems repair.
In Ghana, partner Theovision International has been the conduit for planting three radio stations and an online station in the last 18 months. In Assin Fosu, radio programs discuss personal hygiene with topics such as hand-washing and dental care. In Asamankese, the station has begun to sponsor soccer tournaments and blood drives.
|The sound board is installed at the radio station in Saboba, Ghana.|
In Saboba, Radio Gaakii (Radio Faith) has been broadcasting 24 hours a day since May 2011. Programs in three languages can be heard by nearly 800,000 predominantly Muslim people. Joel, a retired nurse in Saboba, said, “We will use the radio station to educate our people on teenage pregnancy, attending school, farming and common diseases like malaria. I don’t know how to thank God for this gift to our community!”
Also in Ghana, Bolgatanga launched its station in July 2010. As a result, the 60,000 predominantly Muslim residents of the Frafra people group in this city are hearing the gospel for the first time in their own language.
In Guinea, Radio Familia began broadcasting in May 2011 to 10 million people, many of whom are strongly resistant to the gospel. The least evangelized group in Sub-Saharan Africa, these semi-nomadic people now have the opportunity to hear about Christ’s love.
In Burkina Faso, the Radio Evangile Développement (RED) network has eight stations and plans to launch another this year. Begun in 1993, RED broadcasts in French, English and 13 local languages to 16.3 million people who follow predominantly Muslim and animist faiths.
After eight years of waiting for the government to approve their license, Radio Sawtu Jam Jamanu (Voice of Peace for This Generation) is on the air in Cameroon. Jeremy Maller, project coordinator for the Sub-Saharan Africa Region, along with radio trainer Joseph Kebbie, helped install the station and trained the staff in November.
Kebbie, himself a Liberian war refugee, helped obtain a radio frequency and train students at African Bible College University in Yekepa, Liberia, where a station now operates on the campus. The school was reopened in 2008 after 10 years of civil war. Many of the students are war refugees who lost loved ones during the conflict.
Allen Graham, an HCJB Global radio trainer who spent time in Liberia with the students, said despite emotional wounds, the pupils were filled with optimism. “They realize their country has great potential. They know it won’t be easy, but they’re committed to using Christ-centered media to bring changes to their country and Africa.”
“Working with like-minded ministries such as Theovision is important in accomplishing what God wants us to do in Africa,” added Kebbie. “Thousands, if not millions, can hear the gospel message of Christ in their local dialects or languages across the African continent via the community radio stations that we help plant.” These radio plants and partnerships are key in HCJB Global’s strategy to reach Africa for Christ.