The Unwanted Witness (UW) is one of the projects funded by IDF and is using the media through the community radio among other communication channels to amplify voices of the poor and vulnerable groups to demand for fairness in land acquisition and ownership in Uganda. A community radio reporter Edward Eninu working with Nenah FM Radio was trained through IDF support and shares his story.
See Edward Eninu Nenah FM Radio Presenter interviewing one of the elders in Rata community Karamoja, whose land was taken by an investor in the picture above.
I attended a training in Human Rights Based Approach to Journalism organized by the Unwanted Witness Uganda in Moroto, 2015. This training ushered me into the human rights programming as a radio presenter at Nenah FM, Karamoja.
Well, it was challenging at first given the Karamoja setting, people are not very friendly to the media and little is known on the importance of the media, besides- the leadership here was really hard to work with, now some improvement has been registered and achievements as well. Writing and conducting programs on land issues was something I hadn’t taken keen interest in although issues of land grabbing evidently exist in Karamoja. Writing has also exposed me not only to the affected persons but also to the other reputable organizations and individuals. However, my greatest achievement has been the reaction of some stakeholders to follow up issues raised on air! I’ve also been able to strike the balance in all the coverage of land issues given the contentions involved.
At the institutional level, the station has certainly had an increase in the coverage of land related matters. We now have land matters airing at least once a week as either a story or programme compared to before the training where months would without a story on land. This shows how communities are getting enlightened.
However, I still have challenges like accessing information especially from duty bearers remains serious hindrance, some politicians were not willing to speak out on some of these issues but it also appears here that some of these leaders have a hand in oppression of locals. Intimidation is much pronounced. Unfortunately, offices that are directly responsible for land issues are not cooperative. Karamoja sub region is known as a hard to reach area, accessing communities here is difficult, especially during rainy season and transportation is also challenge. I’ve also met challenges with communities, most of the respondents if not all want money after an interview!
Depite the challenges, there is progress and hope for the better, My ears are on the ground these days and people who have been following my programs do call me to give some incites on the issues of land.