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.
Fun montage of radio programs made during training
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.
The Tsavo West National Park is a section of one of the largest wildlife conservancies on the planet, as well as one of Kenya’s largest wildlife national parks. It is well-known for its resident population of Red Elephants as well as the tale of the Tsavo Man-eaters. Unfortunately, most of the communities bordering these parks have never had a chance to visit them due to the cost. For these reasons Amara organizes game drives with Purdue University students each year into Tsavo West National Park. We also encourage children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. This year Mrabenyi Secondary School in Taita Taveta County had the opportunity to tour the vast Park and interact with the University students from USA.
tHistorically, the Tsavo Area is renowned for the Man-eaters of Tsavo, two mane-less lions who developed a taste to prey on humans back in the early 1900’s (various reasons are cited for this, one recently being that they suffered from tooth decay and pain that made hunting difficult for them!). Although they were later shot, they killed many people that were constructing the railway line connecting Mombasa and Nairobi. Additionally, it was the main battlefield between the Germans and the Britons in Africa in the course of World War I. Currently the area is very peaceful and is now famous for its resident Red-colored Elephants, that enjoy dust-bathing in the red colored soil. The serene environment of Tsavo comes mainly with thorny bushland, open grasslands and among the most beautiful scenic areas are; the Yatta plateau, the World’s longest lava flow stretching 290km; Mzima springs; Shetani Lava Flow; Chaimu Hill; and Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary.
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