Struggling to emerge from decades of civil war, the citizens of Sudan are working to rebuild their society. Yet basic services, such as paved roads, hospitals, and schools, are scarce or nonexistent, making development across the country a daunting challenge. With funding from USAID, EDC’s International Education Systems Division is using radio to bring vital information and resources to the poorest and most remote regions of the country.
In one project, EDC has developed Sudan Radio Service (SRS), the first unbiased news source to reach across the country. Modeled after BBC World Service, SRS broadcasts six hours a day, providing coverage of new government policies and segments on health, agriculture, development, current events, and civics. Broadcasts occur daily in English, Arabic, and Juba Arabic, as well as in a different local language each day. “The Sudan has no history of independent media,” says EDC’s Jeremy Groce. “Until now, radio in Sudan has been used as a propaganda tool by the government or the rebels.”
In a separate project, EDC is developing interactive radio lessons for grades 1–3, in an unprecedented effort to bring quality literacy and numeracy instruction to all the primary school children in Southern Sudan. “The programs are interactive, and this is different from anything the students and teachers have done before,” says EDC’s Leesa Kaplan- Nunes. Students are asked to sing songs, repeat words, and respond to questions out loud. Counting lessons instruct children to find sticks or stones to work out sums. The program also instructs teachers to include girls and boys equally in the activities—a departure from traditional school practice.
The EDC program has distributed solar-powered and wind-up radios to schools and provided training on how to use the radios and integrate the programs into the school day. Project staff are now working closely with 200 schools to track the program’s impact.
Originally published on April 30, 2006