Radio (re)active: restoring peace during and after Burkina Faso’s coup d’etat

During the 2014 revolution in Burkina Faso, Ibrahim Touré mobilized 15 members of his EAI radio listening group to defuse the mob and restore peace. This is his story.

A Project of
Peace Through Development II (PDev II)

When the angry mob arrived at the politician’s house we intercepted them and started calling for forgiveness. We mediated and pleaded with them. As time went on, some of the violent ones became disgusted by their own behaviour and threw themselves to the ground before us; other thanked us and left without touching or breaking anything.”

– Ibrahim Touré, Grassroot Community Leader, Town of Quahigouya


In October 2014, Burkina Faso erupted into an unexpected revolution that ended with the removal of President Blaise Compaoré. Faced with intense riots and violence in Ouahigouya, gardener Ibrahim Touré stepped up to lead the way forward in his community through nonviolent action. He mobilized 15 members of his EAI radio listening group, which used to meet regularly to listen to and discuss PDEVII radio shows, to defuse the mob and restore peace.

We were relieved and happy to be of use, but it must be said honestly that it was thanks to EAI that we knew how to take action. Your program has educated us without us even noticing. It cultivated in us the spirit of forgiveness and tolerance.”  – Ibrahim Touré explained to one of our PDEVII team members.

The need for quality information and access to moderate voices only grew after the conclusion of the coup, as citizens (many of whom had never known any President but Compaoré in their lifetimes) struggled to navigate the political vacuum. PDEVII team members were quick to react, exploring and implementing new initiatives that could support tolerance, peace and dialogue in such critical time in Burkina Faso’s history. One of them was fostering a new partnership with Radio Omega, the station that had served as the emblem of free speech and the voice of the people during the coup.

After the revolution in October 2014 the new authorities dissolved the municipal councils. In our commune no one realized what would happen next, that the Special Delegations were designed to replace the former Councilors. But thanks to your radio program, we were able to understand the changes, and we were grateful!”  – Ousmane Zabsonre, IVR message April 28, 2015

Similarly, in the year following the coup, Burkina Faso wrestled with political instability and uncertainty as citizens prepared for the November 2015 elections. In this context again, EAI was quick to respond, launching a new good governance series, Voices of Good Governance (Zansong Soré). One young listener described the changes he had already noticed in his community as a result of this new series:

Through your episodes, we are beginning to understand more about politics, how to vote, and the importance of voting. In my opinion, your good governance shows are educating and raising awareness not only among the population, but also with the authorities – and that’s powerful”. SMS from Youssouf Congo, student, Ouagadougou, Capital city of Burkina Faso

"Through your episodes, we understand more about politics and the importance of voting. Your good governance shows are educating and raising awareness among the population, and among authorities too!"

“We must thank you for the incredible work that this program represents, because the episodes have played a big role in changing the mindset of many people in our community, which will, in the future, change our behavior as well. The advice you provide is beneficial, and helps assuage our fears and call on our authorities to respond to the needs of the population, and especially of the youth.” Madi Sawadogo
in Koudougou, Burkina Faso