4 June 2015

This week, the president of the Central African Republic Community Radios Association (ARC for its acronym in French), Jean-Ignace Manengou, was in RFI Planète Radio office in Paris. In this interview, he tells us about the ARC’s history, the cooperation with RFI Planète Radio and the current media projects in the Central African territory. 

The Community Radios Association of the Central African Republic : an umbrella organisation

The ARC is an association created on 13 June 2009. In the Central African Republic, a lot of community radios were created by different kinds of stakeholders: churches, individuals, international cooperation agencies. Thereafter, these community radios faced difficulties they couldn’t overcome on their own. In this context, their managers decided to create the Community Radios Association to get the support they needed.

« Unity is strength. The ARC presents itself as a network protecting community radios’ interests, coordinating their resources and strengthening their capacities » (source)

Jean-Ignace Manengou tells us about the characteristics of a Central African community radio : it belongs to the community ans its managements is also community-based. « Today in the Central African Republic, there are almost thirty radios and radio projects. We face difficulties but it works ».

Jean-Ignace Manengou, président de l'ARC, dans les locaux de RFI à Paris (2015). Photo: RFI Planète Radio

Jean-Ignace Manengou, président de l’ARC, dans les locaux de RFI à Paris (2015). Photo: RFI Planète Radio

A long time partnership: ten years already

RFI Planète Radio and the ARC have been partners for a long time. Ten years. It all began in 2005 with a first project, « Les ondes de la démocratie », that aimed at networking several Central African community radios provided with an internet connection. Today, both organisations are still working together within the framework of the project « Grassroots Radios » to create a community radio in Bayanga.

Radio Ndjoku in Bayanga: the elephant’s call in the forest

Bayanga is located in the Dzanga Sangha Reserve and 10 km away from the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park. This project is developed thanks to a partnership between the ARC, RFI Planète Radio and WWF. Indeed, this forest is a home for a great population of gorillas and elephants. « A forest that is practically virgin, says Jean-Ignace, with minority populations – the Baaka pigmy people – that need to be supported and provided with communication tools ».

Radio Ndjoku has been settled recently in march 2015. Currently, RFI Planète Radio experts are on-site to continue with the radio staff training in journalism, management and technical use of the radio equipment.

Ndjoku in Baaka traditional language, tells us Jean-Ignace Manengou, means « elephant ». This is why Radio Ndjoku is « the elephant’s call in the forest ».

Radio Ndjoku's logo. Photo: RFI Planète Radio

Radio Ndjoku’s logo. Photo: RFI Planète Radio