In Malawi, a radio show led by local youths doesn’t shy away from discussing taboo topics such as HIV and child marriage, inspiring and helping the millions of young people across the nation who listen to this crucial source of information.
“It really demonstrates the power that radio and well-trained reporters can have on critical social issues,” says Charles Rice, the head of Developing Radio Partners (DRP), a charity that works with local radio stations in low income countries. “We don’t just train the reporters how to do journalism, we also provide them with life skills, and then they become role models for all youth in their communities.”
Across the southeastern African country, 400 young reporters have been trained not only on how to do the research but also on how to host radio shows. Various sensitive issues are tackled such as sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, sexual abuse, and educational challenges pregnant teenagers are faced with. In large parts of rural Africa, the radio is the only source of information available. Radio shows aim to not only educate their listeners but to give them hope. “It’s a question of mindset,” says Chiko Moyo, a radio trainer for DRP. “If you can change someone’s thinking, you can change how they act.”