By Susan Kendi
A crowdfunding campaign has kicked off to enable a radio station continue with its reporting work on the situation in Darfur, Sudan.
Radio Dabanga is the only independent radio station of Sudan reportedly reaching more than 2 million people every day. It has been conceived, operated and facilitated by Free Press Unlimited in the Netherlands.
The journalists in Radio Dabanga work in exile, because the regime of President Omar Al Bashir, who is wanted on two warrants of arrest for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, does not tolerate a free press.
Dabanga, sometimes written as “damanga” or “dabunga”, is a storage vessel made of a mixture of clay, water and dried grass used by Sudanese farmers to preserve food or store crops like grain and corn to keep them from spoiling. These provisions can be used in the event of famine.
The radio station broadcasts two and a half hours of daily programming in Arabic targeting Sudanese living in the country and abroad; the Darfuris, Internally Displaced Persons, refugees, villagers and herdsmen and offers the population a platform to be heard which in turn promotes peace in the country.
It receives news from its listeners in Sudan, verifies the stories with the locals, checks the reports with official sources and after this it broadcasts the news to its audience both in Sudan and abroad.
The radio is a project of the Radio Darfur Network, a coalition of Sudanese journalists and international development organizations, supported by several international donors, humanitarian community organisations and local NGOs.
In the recent past, Dabanga, with the help of medical sources at rural hospitals, reported on the cholera outbreak that swept through Sudan between August 2016 and mid-2017 and informed people through its radio broadcasts and social media about ways to prevent infection.
This countered misinformation spread by the Sudanese government about the severity of the outbreak. Keep Radio Dabanga on air seeks to raise money that can provide the radio with at least 155 days of radio broadcasts.