An Overview of why Radio is so Important in the Developing World

In this week’s assigned readings we focused on why Radio is such a crucial ICT to the field of development. One of this week’s reading “Why Radio Matters Making: the case for radio as a medium for development” written by Dr. Mary Myers and commissioned by Developing Radio Partners, emphasize the importance of radio for many different aspects of life and development. According to Myers, Radio is by far the most prevalent mass- medium throughout the developing world. Myers discusses the impact of radio in times of emergencies, education, and empowerment. According to her in emergency and disaster situations “radio is an invaluable tool” (Myers   2).  With the help of the radio survivors can sometimes be informed of their loved ones whereabouts as well as different locations to access food, shelter and medical aid. Radio’s can also help evacuate certain areas that may be affected by a natural disaster. Certain radio shows, even one’s that are fiction based, can have a strong impact on helping reduce trauma caused by disasters. According to the author UNDP supported a radio program after the tsunami in Indonesia. “The trauma radio show had 30 counselors who worked closely with the community and had one of the highest audience ratings in the region” (Myers   3).  Topics would vary but would mainly direct mental trauma such as how to control your emotions.

Although in the developing world radio is considered a device for entertainment it can also very easily educate. In this paper, Mary Myers describes various ways radio is used to educate throughout the world. One example she uses to support her claim is an example of a radio program used as a strategy to teach farmers in rural areas new farming methods. Certain studies showed that there a lot of farmers listening to the broadcast listened to the advice that was given on the show and indeed did improve the agricultural fields in the country discussed.  Radio shows can also educate individuals especially women about certain health risks and factors.  A fiction radio soap opera has the power to educate women listening to their show about several issues regarding sexual and reproductive health as well as child and parent relationships. According to a study 85% of respondents who listened to such a program have implemented changes in their lives as a result of the knowledge they learned by the radio show (Myers   7).  Myers does indeed justify her statement that radio really does matter.

In response to Dr. Mary Myers paper I further researched radios and development. I found an organization that focuses on using radio technologies as a mode to help improve education in the developing world. This grass- root humanitarian organization Ears To Our World (ETOW) specializes in the distribution of radios primarily to children and teachers. In their mission statement ETOW claims that their mission is “ to enable children and their support networks in the most remote, impoverished parts of the world to receive educational programming, local and international news, emergency and health information as well as music and arts programming through the use of shortwave radio receivers. While our primary focus is on schools, our reach now encompasses other community facilities, the visually impaired, and, when required, disaster relief ” (ETOW). Ears To Our World is just a few of several non- profit organizations that focus on using radio and other ICTs as a tool to further development.


About vcahen

Hello all! I have been blogging for a couple years now not really for the sake of the readers but for the sake of writing. I have been writing in diaries since I was a little girl...maybe Matilda influenced me as a child, who knows?... but in recent years I have discovered the art of blogging. While studying abroad I tried to write my blog pretty regularly but with limited wifi access in Ghana that wasn't too successful. I am currently doing a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA and we are required to write a monthly blog. But instead of writing just for them I have decided to expand my blog writing to write reviews on restaurants throughout the world as well as describe in detail my traveling stories. I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave comments!! Carpe Diem, V View all posts by vcahen

4 responses to “An Overview of why Radio is so Important in the Developing World

  • sydneysapper

    Thanks for your blog post. I’m glad you found an organization that is using radio for development. Because of the high-tech world we live in, it can be all too easy to forget about radio and the important role it can play. It is nice to see an organization that recognizes that radio can be and is still relevant.

  • vcahen

    Yea it was surprising by how their numbers did actually show some sustainable outcomes. I think however by combining several ICTs in the developing field it is possible to find many new innovator development tools.

  • moving company

    Its hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what youre talking about! Thanks

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