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“Service to humanity” is heartbeat of IPPNW Nigeria Radio Project

February 13, 2018

by Dr. David O. Onazi (IPPNW Board Member 2010-2014 & International Councilor SNDWM)

The IPPNW Nigeria Radio Project has at its heartbeat “service to humanity”- creating awareness of the threat armed violence poses to health and healthy communities and providing relevant information about public health approaches to preventing armed violence, thus equipping the public with knowledge that can drive peace building in society.

We first launched the IPPNW pilot radio project “Bringing Peace to the People” in June 2009 in a short series on a commercial radio station in Jos, Nigeria. Everybody thought we were crazy and ambitious but at that time there was no telling how far it might go. We were inspired by our audience who urged us to keep being on air and how much they loved what we were doing. The show introduced the concept of “peace through health” and discussed IPPNW’s global Aiming for Prevention violence prevention campaign.

Raypower project Nigeria - Lets start (2)The broadcasts featured members of the Society of Nigerian Doctors for the Welfare of Mankind (SNDWM), policy makers, and other civil society leaders in programs that described the human dimensions of small arms effects on health, how Nigerians could become involved in violence prevention work, information on key arms control treaties, and information on SNDWM.

The host radio station has a wide audience, especially among Nigerian youth. An informal survey of a sample of listeners indicated the show was of value to them. We also partnered with local youth groups to raise awareness of how to prevent violence.

The initial awareness created in 2009 was short-lived as afterwards the project went into silence for eight years only to be re-launched last year in 2017 in a 10-part series of both live and recorded programs.

Drs. Emeka Okolo and David Onazi during radio broadcast

IPPNW Nigeria’s Drs. Emeka Okolo and David Onazi at radio station studio during the the live call-in program

The new series was helped by the project winning the “Mazda Makes Things Better”  competition which bestowed a financial award to the project.  The project was submitted to Mazda in 2014 by PSR Finland (then) medical student Antti Junkkari.  PSR Finland has been our major partner in the new radio project.

Nigeria radio project group, York

Radio project members from Nigeria, Finland, Central office at World Congress, York

I am still in awe of their commitment which started during and after the IPPNW World Congress at Hiroshima in 2012 when Daniel Bassey and Robert Mtonga returned with the news of PSR Finland’s willingness to stretch its hand to the global South and support our cause.

Despite the challenges of fundraising PSR Finland remained committed to this cause.  Again thank you PSR Finland for believing in us!

In the new series, we sought to provide the public audience with different perspectives on armed violence and health. We looked at topics such as the One Bullet Stories, youth violence, the Arms Trade Treaty, internally displaced persons, mental effects of small arms violence, security forces and armed violence injuries, small

Nigeria radio project team at studio 2017

Drs. Onazi and Okolo with radio station  hosts Kimberly and Ofi of Nigeria Info radio 95.1 Abuja

arms and development and women’s participation in preventing armed violence during each packaged program.

We also looked at linkages and assistance to victims of armed violence and peace through health during our live shows which gave the public audience the opportunity to ask us questions and make contributions to what was being discussed. The response from the public was great.

 

The merits of the IPPNW Nigeria radio project are currently being researched with post-program community surveys. An analysis of pre-program surveys has already been completed.

We were medical students in 2009 but now are young doctors and the passion to bring peace through health still remains fresh and strong (er). Our years of on-air silence did not diminish our enthusiasm to bring our message via other venues such as Aiming for Prevention plenary session at the IPPNW World Congress in Basel in 2010, the World Safety Conference 2010 in London, IANSA Weeks of Action against gun violence, and an article in Medicine Conflict & Survival .

I watched Beatrice Fihn of ICAN on CNN recently as she was interviewed by a correspondent at Davos – Switzerland and I met it being aired. I had no prior awareness she was going to be live on CNN and my thoughts went to the project we are having in Nigeria and also for the entire IPPNW community: “What if we occupy CNN & other global news agencies, the social medias, the newspapers and journals with information about our cause and concerns for the world today? Can we generate much awareness that will drive people to pressure governments towards world peace?”

Friends, people do not know that nuclear weapons can abolish us as much as they do not know proliferation of small arms has not made the world safer in any way.

We hope to continue on this path to further our cause.

Listen to broadcasts of the 10 live and recorded “Bringing Peace to the People” radio programs here.

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