Radio station boosts vital communication link for Rendille speakers in Kenya

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Radio station boosts vital communication link for Rendille speakers in Kenya

A WACC-supported project in Kenya is helping an Indigenous community radio station to serve as an enhanced information channel for the Rendille people and preserve the tribe’s language and culture.

In 2021, the Fereiti Action Network, a Kenyan, youth-driven organization for social change, partnered with WACC and the U.S.-based Cultural Survival to establish Fereiti FM Radio, an online Rendille-language broadcaster in Marsabit County in the north of the country.

Prior to this, the region had only one community radio station — which broadcast only in Swahili and English despite the majority of residents speaking Rendille, a language at risk of extinction.

The follow-up project aims to strengthen Fereiti FM Radio as a vital communication link for up to 15,000 Rendille-speakers by transforming the online broadcaster into a government-licensed FM station with enhanced programming.

Collage with men and women standing in a line, two men sitting at a table reviewing documents, two men sitting at a table with radio broadcasting equipment, a man and a woman standing outside a building with a sign "Fereiti FM"

Clockwise from left: Members of Fereiti FM Radio’s team and board, Director Mario Roba Kuraki at the Communication Authority of Kenya during the licensing process, live broadcast with board member Robert Lenguya, at the entrance of Fereiti FM Radio.

Through the project, Fereiti FM Radio is expanding broadcasts to transmit the Rendille language, cultural practices, oral literature, and traditions to the next generation, says Mario Roba Kuraki, director of Fereiti Action Network.

The organization is holding training workshops for journalists and management to improve the quality of broadcasts to local Rendille communities.

Such programming addresses topics ranging from drug abuse and gender-based violence to security, natural disasters, and global issues, he added.

Youth volunteers with Fereiti FM are shoring up their skills as well, thanks to the project.

Community radio as citizen radio

Radio remains a popular media channel of information dissemination, according to the Fereiti Action Network director.

“Community radio stations are a form of grassroots media as they provide an opportunity for disadvantaged groups to participate in national democratic discourse.”

WACC is again partnering with Cultural Survival to support Fereiti Action Network.

A Rendille woman with her camel in the village of Korr in Marsabit County. Photo: Fereiti Action Network

WACC works in partnership with Fereiti Action Network and other communication rights and sustainable development organizations worldwide through its Communication for All Program (CAP), with support from Bread for the World-Germany.