Community radio stations called to take a leading role

By Tamuka Charakupa

COMMUNITY radio stations have been identified as key partners in the country’s weather related disaster warning systems amid recurring natural disasters in the Eastern Highlands.

An all-stakeholders meeting which included government officials, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and traditional leaders was held in Chimanimani this Tuesday with the need to establish viable ways to manage natural disasters high on the agenda.

Community radio stations are expected to take a leading role in disseminating information while the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has installed disaster monitoring equipment at one of their transmission towers in Chimanimani.

“As BAZ, we have installed new and modern disaster tracking technology at Gwindingwi, which our community radio stations should utilise to relay information to the communities so that they are not caught unaware,” said Engineer Mathias Chakanyuka, the acting chief executive officer of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

UNESCO Projects Coordinator, Miss Hui ‘Chenjerai’ Xu said the international body will provide funding to enhance the disaster response strategy.

“As UNESCO, we have called on this all stakeholder conference where we want to tighten our disaster reduction protocols so that we avert future disasters. This is part of our Cyclone Idai recovery programme here in Chimanimani and Chipinge,” she said.

The local leadership was well represented at the event confirming that all hands are on deck.

“As a district we are very appreciative of the developments. We have established community volunteers who will work with our village and ward structures so that we raise awareness in very corner,” said Mr Joseph Manyurapasi, Chimanimani District Development Coordinator.

“We are happy with the establishment of the community radio station as it will advance our community communications and development,” said Chief Raymond Saurombe, a traditional leader.

Meanwhile, government is promoting community-based communication with Chimanimani FM set to be officially commissioned early next month.