Relay Community Network’s leaders based in Kananga, DRC, have worked together as a team and used the local radio stations to inform their community about COVID-19.
Kananga is the capital city of the Kasai-Central Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a town of 1,272 million people.
Due to its terrain and geographic location compared to the rest of the country, almost half of the inhabitants of Kananga don’t have access to electricity which slows down access to information.
Five of the Relay Community Network’s members in DRC – Etienne Tshisekedi Kabalwapa, Bernadette Mbombo, José Kalala, Sylvain Kabuanga, and Marcel Mulambwa – have decided they should do something to alert their off-the-grid communities about COVID-19, and more importantly, to alert about fake news. To accomplish that, they asked radio stations to give them space to do so.
After receiving reliable information generated by the World Health Organization (WHO), shared with them by Relay Community Network, the leaders translated the content into Tshiluba, the local language, to be as much clear as possible.
Every week, the five leaders participate in these radio programs and answer questions to debunk myths related to the novel Coronavirus, like local plants considered as miracle medicine which oftentimes have led to poisoning and death. To date, they’ve been present on the following local stations: Réveil FM, Kananga 24, Radio Ndudi, Radio Pilote and Radio Télé Chrétienne.
When asked how they’ve managed to gain the trust of these local radio stations, Etienne Tshisekedi Kabalwapa said: “People know us as “Les Envoyés de REFUNITE” (The REFUNITE’s envoys). They know that we work for good and that makes it easier to assist our community”.