Airtel Tanzania in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided to improve radio communications to reach people in rural areas and address their social challenges.
According to a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday the company recognised the importance of communication to societies which need access to economic, political and social news.
It said Airtel and UNESCO will cooperate with the societies to start community radios to provide education, entertainment and information.
Speaking after visiting a radio station at Ololosokwani, in Loliondo, Arusha, Airtel Public Relations Officer, Jane Matinde said: "The decision was made after learning that many areas miss this important service and are thus left behind by others.”
She pointed out that lack of the service allowed practices such as female genital mutilation, poor education, witchcraft beliefs, poverty, violation of human rights, spread of HIV/Aids to thrive.
Matinde who also serves as the project supervisor said the company was happy to reach its customers through its widespread network in the country.
"We believe through community radios, education will be provided to Tanzanians and availability of current news on different issues will enable people to improve economic activities at their areas and the country in general. People will also have an access to know political situation in the country and other internal and international events.”
"The fact that it is only Airtel network that is available here at Ololosokwan shows our commitment to reach many people especially in the rural area, and today we have brought to you the first ever local radio station that will also be heard by other people in the neighbor villages," she said.
The UNESCO Project and Communication Officer, Yusuph Al Amin said: "The radio project in Ololosokwan will connect Maasai to the rest of the world as well as advocating their culture and traditions while giving education on how to maintain their culture and development in general.
"We thank Airtel for cooperating with us to implement this project which will cover 14 villages when the broadcasting starts."
Al-Amin added: "Apart from the radio project, we also have multimedia center project that will give Maasai women, residents and nearby secondary school students the opportunity to surf through internet to acquire news as well as other services.
He said they were building two demonstration houses which are smoke-free and allow more light, hoping that the Maasai community will adopt them, adding: “We also have a project to improve animal husbandry while Ololosokwan villagers will also enjoy electricity from solar power to be launched soon.”
The Ololosokwan Community Radio project under partnership between UNESCO and Airtel will be officially launched at the end of this month. Followed by other community radio in different regions including Mbeya (in Kyela), Kigoma (Uvinza) and Pemba.