Radio Wa, Lira, Uganda

Awareness and media action against environmental degradation in Northern Uganda

Title:
Awareness of and media action against environmental degradation in Northern Uganda

Partner Organisation:
Radio Wa 89.8 FM (registered under Lira Diocese Media Ltd.) P.O. Box 99 LIRA, Uganda
Website: www.radiowa.org, E-Mail: director@radiowa.org, finance@radiowa.org
Radio Wa is owned by the Diocese of Lira (registered under Lira Diocese Media Ltd.) and started broadcasting in 2001 as a community radio with the idea of serving the community of Lango sub-region at large, which at that time was very much affected by an environment of displacement, fear and widespread violence at the hands of the LRA rebels.

Project Duration:
October 2013 - September 2014

Project Objective:
To contribute to the protection of the natural environment, combining media activities with concrete actions related to tree planting, promotion and installation of biogas plants and of energy-efficient stoves that consume less fuel required for cooking.
• Promotion of general environmental awareness
• Promotion and introduction of energy saving stoves
• Promotion and awareness of biogas plants and systems
• Promotion of good agricultural practices (agroforestry), particularly tree planting among farmers, and fostering of tree nurseries

Actions and Results:

Promotion and introduction of energy saving stoves (in co-operation with International Lifeline Fund, ILF)

  • Two community public debates/meetings on options for environment friendly cooking devices were organised. The aim of the activity was to promote fuel efficiency stoves (FES), which cook faster, produce less smoke and need less firewood than three stone fires. The debates were used as a platform to draw lessons on how best to package environmental conservation messages and the adaptation of the use of energy saving stoves as one strategy for conservation. 
  • Six radio talk shows were produced on environmental management and use of renewable energy as an alternative fuel source, advantages/disadvantages of the new stoves, explanations on combustion chambers, etc. 
  • A total of 306 spots were produced, and 36 stoves were awarded to quiz winners ("The Green Winner" 
  • Two radio plays were produced by the Radio Wa drama group. "The Empty Court" featured the daily struggles communities face due to high levels of environment degradation, conflicts over firewood, etc., and "The Open Secret" reflected challenges connected with the three stone fire (such as high costs, delays in food preparation, etc.). 
  • The ILF received 577 leaflets, and 212 were given to communities. 
  • ILF conducted sixteen sensitisation meetings
    * Community sensitisation meetings could be conducted in areas ILF had never worked in
    * Ninety stoves were sold in areas the ILF did not work in before ´
    * A total of 2587 commercial jacketed stoves were sold
    * A government department disseminated 1350 wood burning stoves
    * Forty-three institutional stoves were constructed
    * Nineteen institutions received training on the use and maintenance of stoves
    * Eight vendors were identified and trained in the sale of new stoves

Promotion and awareness on biogas plants and systems (in co-operation with CARITAS Lira)
  • One community public debate and meeting was organised. The purpose of the meeting was to find out about the knowledge level on biogas within the community, and to sensitise about benefits of using biogas plants for cooking, lighting, etc.
  • Four radio talk shows were produced on launching the project, requirements for biogas systems, domestic and general usage of bio-slurry, etc. Between eight and twenty-one listeners per talk show phoned. In consequence, CARITAS conducted thirteen sensitisation meetings in communities. 
  • A series of spot messages was produced, as well as quizzes. Thirty-eight listeners won 
  • T-shirts with biogas messages for right answers. 
  • One radio play was produced on "The Benefits of Using Biogas Technology".
  • Caritas Lira conducted community sensitisation meetings and user trainings which were attended by 208 people during the project period.
  • Caritas Lira developed promotional kits to disseminate information on biogas.
    * Fifty biogas plants were constructed during this project period.


Promotion of good agricultural practices (agroforestry), particularly tree planting among farmers, and fostering of tree nurseries (in co-operation with the Welthungerhilfe, WHH)

  • Two public debates/community meetings were organised. One on the effects of cutting down trees without replanting, and the other on reasons for intensive felling of trees and possible solutions. 
  • Six talk shows were produced, e.g. on the establishment of a tree nursery, the common pest and disease of citrus trees, and the farm management of citrus trees. 
  • Two radio plays were aired. One on the "Effects of Cutting Down Trees Without Planting", including storm damage, and the other, "Forest Village", was about sending messages to listeners to plant seedlings and avoid felling trees. 
  • Weekly quizzes on environmental issues were produced. A total of 241 listeners won a prize (such as tree seedlings) for the right answer. 
  • 4220 spots /adverts were aired aiming to increase knowledge on the use of renewable energy
  • WHH distributed 600 brochures to communities.
    * Persons trained in agroforestry.
    * Establishment of three tree nurseries

The World Environment Day (6th June 2014) was organised and celebrated by Radio Wa and the three co-operating partner organisations, and attracted a huge attendance of students from four schools, other community members, as well as governmental representatives, etc. Energy saving stoves and other products (such as seedlings) were displayed, prizes and awards given, etc. In addition, a song with environmental messages was launched and presented to the public.

(PS 16.01.2015)