This 20th September 2013 at “Chez André Restaurant” in Bujumbura has taken place the closing of the Great Lakes Regional Media Training Project PIGISTE of radio journalists run for 4 years (2009-2013) – By Yves Didier Irakoze
According to Bettina Haasen, Technical Counselor of the German NGO EIRENE GL and Coordinator of the “PIGISTE” project, the project will last 4 years until this September and funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation SDC, the main objective was to bring closer divided population through media coverage in exchanging real and reliable information.
“That’s the reason why during 4 years we have trained 25 journalists from the Great Lakes Region in conflict sensitive news reporting with the three radio stations: Radio Publique Africaine (Burundi), Radio Izuba (Rwanda) and Radio Maendeleo (DRC). We have really accompanied them very closely during 3 cycles and I’m happy about the inter-linkage created through this project through which journalists have benefited more than they could learn in theory,” points out Haasen.
Haasen also states that she is also proud of the experience journalists have acquired during their internship in the neighboring radio stations and the friendship they have created, which has allowed them to break fear among themselves and across the borders. Shortly speaking, they have succeeded to build strong ties despite their cultural, historical and political differences.
She mentions that it is very important that the beneficiaries continue to exchange information, produce in rotation a weekly regional broadcasting called “Hebdo Grands Lacs” each Sunday on the 3 radios and see how they can develop projects together and a regional platform though the project ends.
She adds that the project was effective though some recent obstacles due to warlike tensions in Goma, DRC starting in November 2012
“It was very difficult to exchange information; journalists were afraid and wouldn’t cross borders but thanks to the teamwork, we overcame the obstacles,” declares Hassen.
SY Issaka M. Tahirou, Regional Coordinator of EIRENE Grands Lacs told journalists that it is the end of the project and the beginning of a new project; it is a process that starts and that the ball is in their court; they have to work effectively and hard to show what they have really acquired.
“We have gained much”
According to journalists who got the training, they have gained much and expressed a sentiment of satisfaction.
Olivier Bugegene from “Radio Publique Africaine” (Burundi) states that he is satisfied because he has learned a lot regarding respect of journalistic rules, now he is sensitive about what he writes to inform without hurting people. It has also been a great opportunity to find out different realities occurring in the sub region.
Jean François Isibo from Radio Izuba in Rwanda says that he has gained much from technical point of view and teamwork which has been a new experience as a journalist.
For Raissa Kasongo, she has been satisfied to see that this project has gathered Great Lakes Countries shaken by civil wars and such stereotypes; the project has allowed them to break stereotypes and that now we can contribute to search for peace while providing information.
All Journalists have thanked EIRENE for initiating that project and call upon other partners to fund and launch it again.