UNSOS Supported Isnaay Radio Drives Positive Social Change in Jowhar, Somalia

15 May 2024

UNSOS Supported Isnaay Radio Drives Positive Social Change in Jowhar, Somalia

Jowhar - Abdalle Omar Ali, a 34-year-old businessman in Jowhar, a rich agricultural town in Somalia’s Hirshabelle State, regularly listens to his favourite radio station every morning and evening.

The father of three has developed a deep affinity for Isnaay Radio due to its coverage of essential topics impacting his life, spanning business news, agriculture, health, and education. He anticipates the station's potential expansion to include television in the future.

“The radio airs important programmes on social issues which I love like business, health, and education. We urge the management and staff to continue the good work they are doing and where possible start a television station and include entertainment programmes,” says Abdalle.

He is not the only ardent listener of the community radio station. In Jowhar, with a population of approximately 100,000, there are four other private radio stations. Residents prefer Isnaay Radio, named after a renowned sugar factory in Jowhar, primarily for its socially centered programmes.

Rukia Abdulle Ali, a civil society activist, is another avid listener of Isnaay Radio. She says, since the radio station's inception in May 2020, it has significantly contributed to raising general awareness on key issues affecting the local community.

“The public has benefitted greatly from Isnaay Radio. Our communities are now more aware and informed about issues that affect them like through women tailored programmes and others. The station’s focus is on social issues and avoids issues that can jeopardize the development and stability of the region,” notes Rukia.

Voice to the voiceless
Isnaay Radio broadcasts on the 87.7 MHz frequency in and around Jowhar town, airing six hours daily in two sessions. The morning segment runs from 7:30 am to 10:30 am, and the evening programme starts from 6 pm to 9 pm. The station is staffed by seven members, including two females.

Isnaay Radio, which is among five other community radio stations based in Beletweyne, Kismayo, Baidoa, Dhusamareb and Dhobley supported by the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), is also available live on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isnaayradio?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Isnaay Radio broadcasts programmes dedicated to raising awareness about human rights, gender equality, public health, environment, and development, alongside peace and reconciliation efforts. These programmes aim to enhance the well-being and productivity of local communities, fostering positive interactions with the government.

Operated by the Mukay Foundation, a community-based organisation in Jowhar, Isnaay Radio was established with the objective of being a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to foster cooperation between the local community and government, advocating for and promoting reconciliation and peacebuilding.

Addressing day-to- day challenges

Abdiaziz Hassan Abdulle, the station’s director, says Isnaay Radio broadcasts community-centered programmes tailored to address the day-to-day challenges and highlight opportunities for its predominantly farming and business-oriented audience, with a particular focus on women and youth.

“Isnaay Radio airs various programmes on agriculture, health, education and peacebuilding and discussions on social issues. We also air other important programmes like technology, women, youth, business, and other interesting programmes that impact the lives of our audience,” he says.

The radio station is especially valuable to the local community during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic or natural disasters like floods—a recurrent issue in Jowhar, where the Shabelle River passes and frequently overflows during heavy rains, leading to flash floods.

“Since its inception, Isnaay Radio has worked very closely with us, We use the radio to pass our public announcements and key messages on all social development issues,” says Mohamud Hassan Bariise, the secretary of the Jowhar local government.

Maryama Abdi Hassan, a presenter of women’s programmes among others, notes that through their coverage dedicated to empowering women, they have witnessed a positive impact, with an increasing number of women in the area becoming change-makers.

“Some women say the programme has empowered them to better participate in community affairs, which has seen more women taking part in the local council elections,” she said.

According to Maryama, residents are now more aware and informed about their surroundings, including market prices—a development that has significantly contributed to making life easier for rural listeners.

“Business owners, fishermen, farmers and herders are now better informed about the prices of various products, so they come from far with an informed decision on what to buy and sell like animals, food or other products,” she added.

In addition to Isnaay Radio, UNSOS has established five other community radio stations: Radio Beer Lula in Beletweyne, Radio Waamo in Kismayo, Radio Arlaadi in Baidoa, Radio Daar Dheer in Dhusamareb, and Radio Sanguuni in Dhobley.

UNSOS extends technical support and provides equipment to these six community radio stations, including transmission masts, studio mixers, FM transmitters, and generators.

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