World Association for Christian Communication (WACC)

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) is an international organization that promotes communication as a basic human right, essential to people's dignity and community. Rooted in Christian faith, WACC works with all those denied the right to communicate because of status, identity, or gender. It advocates full access to information and communication, and promotes open and diverse media. WACC strengthens networks of communicators to advance peace, understanding and justice.
May 22, 2014

Slow progress - but we're getting there!

Refraka training session
Refraka training session

REFRAKA’s work on behalf of equality for Haitian women has long being recognized as crucial to empowering and promoting their welfare. And not just for the women but for the whole of society. Haitian women have struggled for recognition, fairness, justice and equality throughout their history.

From as far back as 1792 when the struggle for independence from the French slave owners began, Haitian women have been seen as “Poto Mitan”, a concept that represents women as the central pillar of Haitian society. And yet until the late 1950s women lacked any rights at all.

The marginalization and invisibility of by women in Haiti is precisely what REFRAKA has been fighting against since it was created in 2001. Since then, the group has worked to achieve progress in changing relations of power in the home, in social moments and in the nation. REFRAKA’s 25 member radio stations in nine of Haiti’s ten geographical departments aim to address a male culture that finds it hard to accept women’s voices.

According to Marie Guyrleine Justin, director of REFRAKA, “Before, it was hard to find women speaking on the radio. Now it’s not. Now women are advancing. More women are trained in reporting and production. There are more women on the radio, and there are more women’s radio programs. Now we have women who are directors of radio stations, though there are still no women owners. Men are starting to understand, and gender issues are crossing over into other radio programs.”

As for progress, Mary Guyrleine says “Relations between women and men are fragile today, especially with all the displacement since the earthquake. But we’re taking small steps. Today on the radio, you hear less discrimination against women. This has to be reinforced so that we don’t go backwards.”

The dream of a future society with equality and justice for countless Haitian women and men will only be realized if people across the world help support their struggle. Please help that future come earlier by donating now!

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Mar 20, 2013

Radio is a voice for peace and stability

A former chief of UN peacekeeping operations once said that in conflict zones, one radio station is worth five army battalions. In other words, radio has the potential to change people’s hearts and minds and to present them with alternatives to the violence that surrounds them. Listeners and numerous expert studies confirm that “peace radios” have become powerful and persuasive voices for peace.

Beyond helping to ease tensions and to counteract malicious propaganda and misinformation, such radio stations have been important training grounds for local journalists and technicians, who make up most of their staff. They have strengthened professional standards in countries where media outlets have often been the mouthpieces of particular political actors.

In Sierra Leone, radio is the most important communications medium due to a sixty percent rate of illiteracy and virtually no newspapers outside the capital city, Freetown. Radio Shalom is voice for peaceful development in a country in which economic recovery has been slow, partly because the reconstruction needs after the civil war are so great. Around half of government revenue still comes from foreign donors.

In addition, media freedom in Sierra Leone has its limits. Media rights monitors say high-level corruption is a taboo topic, with officials using libel laws to target errant journalists. Other challenges facing broadcasters include unreliable power supplies, poor funding and low advertising revenues. There are dozens of radio stations, most of them privately owned, but very few promote peace and stability.

Radio Shalom amplifies the voices of ordinary people struggling to change their lives and livelihoods. It is a voice of conscience and critical dialogue that aims to rebuild the country’s image of itself and to help people live together in peace.

Feb 22, 2013

Important results achieved in communicating rights

PNG-Sepik-River-Villagers
PNG-Sepik-River-Villagers

Despite many obstacles, particularly in terms of communications infrastructure and access to remote areas, the Sepik Wetlands Management Initiative has achieved important results.

A great deal of work was put into developing and increasing understanding of basic rights contained in the country’s Constitution as well as understanding people’s rights in relation to documenting evidence and presenting it to the mining company. Much more work is necessary in this area as knowledge of basic rights is scant.

A second outcome has been increased awareness of the kind of critical information and tools needed by villagers to make informed decisions. Many more resources and organizations have been brought to bear on the problems faced by different communities. The project is now focused on coordinating different networking opportunities.

A consensus-driven plan for a communication strategy was approved by villagers in the Middle Sepik region. There is a growing awareness among the local people of the urgent need for more sophisticated communication channels. However, there are problems insofar as Internet by phone is available but costly, making it almost inaccessible to the majority.

The project has instilled a sense of hope, a need to engage and a need to change but also a realization that there are many steps to take before people have the capacity to respond effectively. Villagers have indicated a great desire to get organized in order to build the partnerships needed and take further steps to achieving their goal. The logistical and funding challenges cannot be ignored.

However, the local people are continuing the struggle and will make renewed efforts to communicate their concerns in every way possible.

Thank you to all those who have supported this vital work!

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