by Giulia Inguaggiato, Project manager “Rich Land! Awareness about irregular migration risks”
The radio is a very widespread and low-cost communication tool, which has become an integral part of the daily life of the inhabitants of Guinea-Bissau. For this reason it represents a very useful means to inform, raise awareness, stimulate reflections and generate changes in listeners.
The radio is also a useful tool to reach the most isolated rural communities and the most vulnerable people by sharing information in a simple and direct way.
For this reason, Mani Tese has often included radio activities in the interventions carried out in the countries in which it operates. In particular, in Guinea Bissau, as part of the project “Rich Land! Awareness about irregular migration risks”, financed by the European Union Trust Fund and the International Organization for Migration, it produced the radio program “Guiné-Bissau i Terra Rico“. The broadcast consists of nine episodes and is promoted in partnership with Radio Sol Mansi of Bissau. It is recorded in Creole and is enriched by the radio theater of the Netos de Bandim Cultural Group.
Designed to inform Guineans about the risks of irregular migration and to promote a conscious and safe migration, today, in a historical moment in which we are facing a world pandemic that seems to have demolished all borders, the program takes on a further value. In fact, the first two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the country date back to 24 March. Since then, according to an exponential growth similar to that observed in other contexts – albeit at an apparently more contained pace – the number of infected people has increased and, with it, the difficulties that Guinea-Bissau, already weakened by an unstable political situation, is facing.
With the aim of limiting the spread of the virus in a country lacking health facilities and services and the means necessary to provide adequate treatments to those who fall ill, “Guiné-Bissau i Terra Rico” today informs the population on how COVID-19 spreads and raises awareness of the prevention practices to be followed. “Keep a safe distance”, “Wash your hands often” and “Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough” are some of the messages spread during the broadcast by radio speakers or through a piece of music made in the local language by a group of artists living in Bissau.
The program, already aired in the capital Bissau from March 28, will be broadcast throughout the country by the major community radios in the regions of Gabú, Oio, Cacheu, Bafatá, Quinara, Tombali and on the Bijagόs islands, with the aim of ensure a widespread diffusion.
This is a small intervention which, however, in a context such as the Guinean one, could really make a difference because the country certainly cannot afford for the virus to reach the levels of spread recorded in Europe or in other parts of the world. Prevention, therefore, becomes more than ever the best cure to face and contain the negative effects of the pandemic.