“When people call the radio they might be telling the truth, but they can also spread hate speech, and people often ask me to tell them whether some information they have heard is true or false.
For this reason, reporters have to travel across the country so that we can see with our own eyes what is really going on on the ground and how communities struggle to survive on a daily basis.
Many people in the capital have no idea what is going on inland. They can eat and drink what they want and walk around in peace and security, but when you travel inland you can see that there is a crisis. People cannot express themselves freely or go about their business.
I came to MINUSCA to do my part for peace in my country and I think my work with Guira-FM has had a positive impact, but it can be frustrating at times. People will come to me and say, “We need you to help us, we need you to support us, but you cannot solve our problems.” All I can tell them is that help comes later, and it breaks my heart that I can’t do more Hence, it is important to share the stories of the people we met and talked to on Guira-FM.
UN Photo / Catianne Tijerina
The protection of the civilian population is a key role of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. Changing women’s lives
When I was assigned to Kaga-Bandoro, some 300 km from Bangui, I was the only woman from Guira-FM who worked in this field. Sometimes it can be beneficial to be young and female, with a family far away in the capital. People want to help and because I’m young it makes it easier for other young people to talk to me and tell me things that older people wouldn’t.
But women in places like Kaga-Bandoro face many challenges. Many of them want to learn professions, but in some areas only boys are allowed to study, in others there are no schools.
So we started using the local airtime provided by the national radio station to do programs that focused on women and we seem to have made a difference. If you go to Kaga-Bandoro today you will find that women really contribute a lot more. Not only in jobs like sewing or hairdressing, but also on construction sites you can see that women work among men who no longer think that the industry is just for them.
“One day peace must return”
Central Africans need to realize that we are all from one nation and that we need to work together to rebuild this country.
When I think of peace, I think of what I saw in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Birao, more than 1,000 km from the capital, near the border with Sudan.
I was about to interview someone when an 18-month-old came up to me, completely naked. The kid just wanted to be with me, so I took them in my arms and continued with the interview.
I figured if there was peace, this child wouldn’t be in a refugee camp, it would be at home with his family, living in peace, maybe in Bangui. There are many children like this in internally displaced persons who want to return home but cannot because of a lack of security. One day there must be peace so that these children can find their place. ”