Radio is a powerful tool for disseminating conservation messages across widely populations. In the rural Tsavo Conservation Area where there is limited access to electricity, television coverage and newspapers; radio is the central means of mass communication and highly revered by the local community.
In areas of low literacy, poor quality roads, no electricity, sporadic access to newspapers, televisions, telephones and Internet, where small populations are scattered in isolated corners, radio is the most effective means of communication.
Radio Tsavo – a community-based radio station – will provide a venue for the community to share their knowledge. Locally produced programs will cover topics including the environment, local conservation issues, women’s issues, health and agricultural information; and to bring distant communities in contact with one another, sharing experiences and information to improve the lives of all inhabitants.
There are many local and national radio stations ruling the air waves transmitted through FM frequencies. Some of these stations broadcast in local dialects.
The initial Amara Conservation plan was to set up its own radio station to primarily transmit conservation messages. Due to the high cost of operations, technical and manpower requirements and initial capital outlay necessary, added to witnessing the failure of a number of local radio stations, the idea became unfeasible. However, to keep the idea alive Amara intends to buy airtime on the existing local stations to broadcast conservation programs.
The programs will be designed, developed and broadcast by Amara Conservation as Radio Tsavo. The program will involve a variety of activities that include talks, interviews, discussions through interactive live call-in sessions, plays (drama), among others.
Radio station training was generously provided by Max Graef of RadioActive UK on station set up, program design and content, and equipment use. this was carried out in Tsavo West and included Kenya wildlife Service staff, local community leaders and all of the Amara staff.