Book Three: Austin Ochola of Bus Radio Kenya

Education has been proven to be the key for lifting people out of poverty, ending prejudices, and reducing violence. Every community needs educated minds to solve problems, mediate disputes, and empower all citizens to live successfully. In the county of Kajiado, Kenya, Bus Radio is improving their communities by connecting people with information and advocating for education and social issues. Completely supported by volunteers, this community radio station is not just broadcasting news, but engaging people to get involved and create sustainable change by highlighting daily events that effect everyone.

They cover a wide range of topics such as politics, corruption, sexual abuse, drugs, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, and a strong focus on education. Programs include youth outreach and scholarships, journalism programs, interviews with local leaders, training women and disadvantaged persons to become politically active, music and film projects, and business training. Below is an interview with Bus Radio advisor and long time volunteer Austin Ochola.

What inspired you to educate others? -The need to archive a well-informed society.

-To have an educated community to fight poverty through education.

-Because education is the key to a successful living and information is wealth.

-To minimize the gap between the rich and the poor in education sectors, giving voice to the voiceless in the community of Kajiado.

-To support boy and girl child education through starting journalism classes from primary to secondary schools for students to tell their unheard stories.

-To advocate for education for all in our county of Kajiado.

What steps did you take to start this particular journey? -First we had to collect ideas from the community on how to address the community’s needs through effective communication.

– Raised funds for low range radio equipment.

-We begun by installing a unique radio station in Kajiado County where the education level is down to create education awareness.

-Frequent visiting of boys and girls in remote areas where schools are ten to twenty kilometers away from homesteads to motivate them through debates and games.

-Bus radio has come up with an initiative where bright students from humble families are given school fees and bursaries to empower them through education.This initiative is dubbed “Okoa Imarisha Maisha”.

What was or are the hardest obstacle(s) to overcome to meet your goals? – Acquiring relevant radio broadcast equipment (even at the moment the equipment is low range as opposed to the long range equipment we desire).

– Getting volunteers to work in our radio station as we cannot pay salaries to professionals at the moment.

– Generating income from the station because the state (Kenya) law bars community radios from commercial ventures such as advertisement.

– Dependency on donors and well wishers to run our outreach programs.

– Identifying schools and families where children could not afford school fees, books and a uniform. Also getting them the right equipment for education to empower and motivate them in schools.

-The rising number of school going children who walk for ten to twenty kilometers in search of education, walking bare foot without fear to seek for information in school.

What is your proudest accomplishment so far in relation to your work? -Acquisition of radio equipment (low range though).

-Integration and coordinating basic needs and wants of Kajiado County.

– Giving renewed inspiration to skilled and talented formerly idle youth by introducing motivational programs in our radio station and outreach programs.

-Linking our project with like-minded people like you(the reader).

-Soliciting and coordination of donor food, clothes, school fees and shoes to the poor families who could not afford education in county kajiado.

-Assisting street boys and girls from our community to acquire Identity cards (I.D.) through the help of Bus radio and the area senior chief through an initiative dubbed “ID kwa ma youth wa mtaa” meaning “ID to all the youth in the hood.”

How can people get involved either through your work or in their own communities? -By volunteering professional and non professional skills/talent to our Radio station.

-By making Bus Radio known to as many people as possible.

– Supporting in any way to enable Bus Radio to acquire long-range radio equipment.

-Through listening to bus Radio and passing comments on how to improve our programs quality.

-Getting involved with our grassroots projects.

– For those who are able and willing, donations of cash or kind are highly welcome.

-To donate school stuff and mostly to pay school fees for the poor children from the humble community.

-To recognize and trust Bus Radio with their kind support they would accord the poor families for Kajiado County.

– Any sound advice.

Learn more at: www.busradioafrica.weebly.com

Find “busradio 102.5” on Facebook.

Follow @busradiokajiado on Twitter

Their vision: To be agents of change and development in Kajiado County, Kenya

Their mission: To advocate for peace, harmony, justice and development in Kajiado County through Community Media

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About Impower You

Empowering the wrold with articles, resources and interviews that educate and inform.
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