ORS FM based south of Arusha in Tanzania is the only radio station broadcasting across the whole region in Maa - the language of the Maasai people - as well as in Swahili. More than 1 million people receive their broadcasts. Since many Maasai cannot understand Swahili or English, ORS FM is the only source of reliable, up-to-date information and news for them. This is particularly critical now for updates & advice on COVID - otherwise unavailable in Maa - as well as all their regular programming.
The Maasai community of northern Tanzania live mainly in remote rural settlements, and many are still nomadic. News, education, health and other public information in Tanzania is only made available in the official languages of English and Swahili, which many of the Maasai do not speak or understand. Thus it is very difficult to get topical news and public information (such as COVID measures) to the Maasai population, or to share news or relevant information from their own community and culture.
ORS-FM was set up around 20 years ago to provide news and information to the Maasai in their own language and culture. The first (and only) community radio station in Tanzania, ORS still needs to fight to stay on air, and broadcast in the Maasai language. COVID has caused a downturn in support for programming and the advertising they need to make repairs and remain on air. This project will provide new equipment and support their ability to remain on air for the community, and become sustainable
The project will enable ORS FM to continue as the only source of Maasai language news, public information and advice on issues as diverse as COVID, education, animal husbandry, FGM, gender equality and electoral democratic rights. It will also continue to provide a mechanism to preserve and spread traditional Maasai culture, arts and language, for which few other media exist locally. More than one million Maasai speakers locally will therefore benefit from these resources to improve their lives.