Saturday, January 06, 2007

Radio Dreams

I announced in this space a few weeks ago that the Mission Office would be moving across town in January. We’re going to be partnering with the Fobang Foundation on a number of initiatives. One project that is especially exciting is Radio Health International, a program that Dr. Wilfred Mbacham (right) is drawing up to address the problem of health prevention and education among the poor, rural population of Cameroon.

As soon as the offices are complete, and Dr. Mbacham is able to raise the money, he plans to open and maintain a community health radio station. According to him, the station will broadcast on a broad range of contemporary issues in public health management, ranging from diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, and diabetes, to issues concerning reproductive health, hygiene and sanitation.

“The station will support and encourage science and health in schools through its participatory broadcast style,” says Dr. Mbacham, “and through programs like youth forums, talk shows, and quizzes.”

Radio Health International will be a branch of Dr. Mbacham’s Fobang Foundation, a nonprofit, apolitical and non-governmental organization, which carries on activities in Cameroon to promote science and health. Fobang sponsors and maintains a network of schools involved in AIDS prevention activities. In Fobang’s 2005 annual evaluation and in-depth interview of volunteers, a gap was identified. It turned out that the media was not accomplishing its role as agent of development or change, especially of behavior, due to the government’s media monopoly. With the recent liberalization of the press and media by the government of Cameroon, the radio is seen by many as the prime electronic medium of most people especially the poor because it leaps the barriers of isolation and illiteracy. It is the most affordable electronic medium to broadcast simultaneously to a large and broad population. With this information, Dr. Mbacham decided to create Radio Health International in order to reach out to those who, due to ignorance and lack of health information, suffer daily.

As soon as funds are raised, equipment is purchased, and staff trained, the station will begin broadcasting eighteen hours per day to Yaounde and its surrounding area. But Dr. Mbacham hopes to go 24 hours daily quickly, and has plans to have stations around Cameroon pick up the programming and become partners.

Dr. Mbacham also desires the station to have a Christian perspective. In his early drafts of the weekly programming schedule, he has penciled in the UMC for a daily, hour long morning show, as well as a Sunday morning service!

The Mission has already become a partner in this endeavor, but we are looking for some more financial support to help get the station up and running. If you or your church are interested in helping, then write me at, and I can send you a copy of the proposal.