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Facebook Live Provides a Local Imam an Opportunity to Listen

Since 2015, Equal Access has been working with over 15 community radio stations in five territories affected by Boko Haram as part of the Cameroon Peace Promotion project. Successfully promoting programs emphasizing peace and coexistence in a sensitive environment has only been possible because our teams are made up of local staff who have built pathways of engagement through listening and learning from communities.

People like Ahmadou Baba Boubakar.

In Garoua, where Equal Access holds a field office, few people knew this young Imam from another town in northern Cameroon. All of that changed when in July 2016, he became a presenter on the radio program Douanirou Derk’en, one of the few shows in the area produced in the local language, Fulfulde, that airs segments on pressing issues concerning youth and women.

Boubakar explains that he has always been passionate about social media. He said that when he discovered the Facebook Live option, no one else in town knew about it.

Boubakar’s initiative has not only grown the listenership of the station, it has created a safe space for people to share their input and feedback about the show’s programming. This connection keeps the show relevant to its listeners. Boubakar provides feedback to the writers and producers based on his Facebook Live chats ensuring that people get to listen and to voice their own perspectives on the radio program.

What is especially moving is that this connection that Boubakar holds with his community extends into the offline world too.

Boubakar has taken his role as a peace ambassador a step further by holding regular meetings with youth and women in his community. In a sensitive context, he has embraced the responsibility that comes from being a trusted source of information. The work at the radio station and his first-hand experience listening and learning from people has inspired him to create an organization in his hometown, Gourore, for all members of society to come together and talk about peace and coexistence.

The Cameroon Peace Promotion project will be merging with our five-year USAID-funded Voices for Peace project in December.

 

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