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The team of journalists and trainees at the end of the training ©Fondation Hirondelle The team of journalists and trainees at the end of the training

Eleven journalists trained by Fondation Hirondelle on radio production in Kananga

As part of the new “Ngoma Wa Kasai” programme developed by Fondation Hirondelle in central DRC, 11 journalists and 1 technician have just completed a first one-month training session. They are starting the production of the programmes that will be broadcasted beginning of July by a network of 18 radio stations across the provinces of Kasai and Central Kasai. This programme is funded by the European Union, and implemented in partnership with Interpeace and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

“At Studio Ngoma was Kasai or any radio, we’ll have the microphone!”  These words summarize the resolutions of the trainees, 5 women and 7 men. The intensive training started on April 8th, 2019, and ended on May 7th, 2019. Four weeks of exchanges and practices on “journalism and radio production”. Tick, tock, tick, tock… it all happened so fast.

Eleven journalists and one technician are getting involved! They promise “to put into practice the subjects learned at Studio Ngoma wa Kasai and everywhere else”, says Vanessa Nkongolo, the youngest female journalist. Echoing her words, Alexis Mulumba, the other youngest of the trainees, emphasizes that “this solemn collective commitment augurs a future full of hope in the media space in Kasai. The unfortunate events of the Kamwina Nsapu conflict plunged the listeners into a thirst for transparent and independent information.”

Most of the radio production revisited in four weeks! In addition to news stories and radio magazines, Walter Mulondi, Head of Media of the Ngoma wa Kasai Project, who trained the session, laid the foundations and closed the gaps. He revived “the desire to make radio, a TV for the blind”. The trainees returned to the radio production process. “We thank Fondation Hirondelle for this training. We have learned a lot. It is true that we have already produced some of the radio formats, now we know how to produce them better according to the international standard”, they underline.

“We have never made it, we always have to learn”, exhorts Pauline Bend, the National Representative of Fondation Hirondelle in the DRC. “We still have to roll up our sleeves, we’re all here for a while, to contribute. You have skills that can always be used either here (Studio Ngoma wa Kasai, editor’s note) or elsewhere”, adds Pauline Bend.

Radio Okapi, at the beginning… the flashback makes coach Walter Mulondi capsize! A few minutes earlier, taken by emotion, the Media Chief and trainer of the trainees, could not finish a sentence! Pauline Bend, the National Representative understands. She explains to the trainees: “17 years ago Walter was in your shoes when the United Nations and Fondation Hirondelle launched Radio Okapi in Kinshasa. It is a whole journey, a symbolism that someone who was in your shoes finds himself passing on the torch to you, this desire to move forward, to push you into the crocodile pool. What makes the difference between Walter and others, what will make the difference between you and others, is the motivation, this commitment to work from the first to the last day, as if you always have everything to prove, because you always have everything to prove."

End of the intensive training… start of production of Ngoma wa Kasai programs. As of May 8th, 2019, the six best interns join the new Hirondelle editorial team. Mission: to produce programmes to be broadcasted on 18 partner radio stations in Kasai and Central Kasai provinces. “We hope that these productions… can promote the participation of young people in peace and reconciliation efforts,” the trainees said. Broadcasting of the programs begin on July 1st after a period of blank production.