News

From Mayian to Sidai, the radio reigns

Renowned gender activist Cythia Simantoi says radio in Maasailand has played an important role of empowering grassroots women

By Our Reporter

As the global community commemorated this year’s World Radio Day, a section of Kajiado residents have recounted the impact that their favourite communication gadget has had in their day-to-day lives.

The most common vernacular radio stations among the Maa are Mayian FM, owned by Mediamax Ltd; Nosim FM, owned by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC); and Sidai FM, which has more listenership in Narok County.

Kajiado Star sought the views of a cross-section of residents on how they have interacted with radio content and the responses were diverse.

Elijah Naini, the treasurer of Olgulului Olalarashi Group Ranch and a vocal land rights advocate, says: “Mayian FM, in particular, has been quite instrumental and supportive of our drive to lobby the Kenya Wildlife Service to set aside 25 per cent of the annual revenue from the Amboseli National Park towards developing the conservation areas in Kajiado South Constituency.”

“Moreover, we (group ranch leaders) have convinced members, through radio, of the importance of conservation, and they have accepted to create four conservation areas with a total of 120,000 acres.”

One of the conservation areas, Naini said, is fully operational, and that two investors have expressed interest in developing the other sites.

On her part, renowned gender activist Cythia Simantoi said radio in Maasailand has played an important role of empowering grassroots women by providing a platform where they can discuss social and economic issues that affect them.

She added that radio has been pivotal in promoting wholesome cultural values, while at the same condemning retrogressive practices like female genital mutilation and early marriages.

Reverend Douglas Kulei of the Working Faith Ministry based in Isinya, Kajiado East Constituency, and who has been a frequent host in radio stations where he speaks about leadership and marriage, said there has been tremendous social transformation in the community.

He added that electronic media has been instrumental in entrenching the Gospel in Maasailand. This manifests itself in the number of calls inviting him to teach in crusades and seminars.

Joyce Namunyak from Meto, Kajiado Central, said that through radio, she keeps abreast of new government initiatives. “I used to hear about Mbuzi Moja Initiative as local administrators ask us to take our goats for auctioning, but it was difficult just to follow what they were telling us until we had full information through the radio as the minister (Health CECM Esther Somoire) was explaining in a language we understood.”

The same applies to the concept of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Namunyak says she was hearing people say, “BBI, BBI” but didn’t quite grasp it. She told Kajiado Star that she learnt what the Initiative was all about when Governor Joseph ole Lenku was invited to discuss the matter at Mayian FM.

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