the world–radio. That’s right, radio. The movement is toward the use of radio
for community groups to provide voice for the concerns of those who are
otherwise left out of the larger society.
Kampala, Uganda–“We cannot avoid modern communications, if we are to advance,” Mr. Samuel Suuti, team leader of the United Methodist Communications team of Uganda told a meeting of the Humble Place village discussing community radio in Uganda.
Mr. Suuti told the assembly that United Methodist principles of holistic ministry encompassing both physical and spiritual needs are particularly well-suited for the poor in Uganda. And he said, the church must address the concerns of those who are left without voice in the society. Among those he cited were abandoned and orphaned children, women, the physically challenged and youth mired in poverty.
A business person by vocation, he told the group, “We can’t continue to see our members affected by diseases like cholera, malaria and HIV/AIDS. We need to help our people know how to prevent them.”
“We are dying of poverty,” he said.
Mr. Suuti said the future of the church depends on community radio to bring life-saving information to people. He said this includes spiritual information, instruction in disease prevention, parenting skills, civics and economic development.
He told the group he has made a point to interview young people on the streets of Ugandan cities and he is often told that many feel they don’t have a future.
“They tell me, ‘I wish I were dead,'” he said. “I have no money, no parents, no education. The only solution to my life is death. I have no life, no reason to be here.”
However, Mr. Suuti told the group, the church has a message for these young people but it has no effective way to reach them where they are. “If we are empowered and can reach a big population, we can bring change,” he said.
He laid out a case for the church in Uganda developing a community-based radio station that is in touch with people in poor, rural villages to solicit their concerns and to provide information they can use to improve their quality of life. He called on United Methodist Communications to partner with United Methodists in Uganda to launch a community-based radio station to meet the needs of this audience.
I assured the group that we will work in partnership with them to seek the funds, equipment and other resources necessary to enable this committed and creative team to move forward in serving the needs of those in Uganda who feel left out of the mainstream media.