Today our Ugandan partners at NAPE-Uganda celebrate the first birthday of the Hoima Community Green Radio initiative that is now owned and run by local communities of the Albertine Graben region in the west of the country.

Established by NAPE to provide a forum for communities concerned about the prospect of oil extraction in the region, the radio has been a great success, giving the people a public voice in the local, regional and national debate over oil and other eco-social issues. Boosted by a growing number of listeners, the radio forms a ciritical part of NAPE’s work to strengthen African Civil Society networks to respond to the rapid growth of extractive industries; part of a programme of work undertaken in partnership with Gaia.

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Worldwide, community and indigenous radio stations are empowering people to disseminate culturally appropriate, locally translated information on matters from destructive development to public health; connecting rural and urban communities and diaspora; facilitating community organisation and cohesion, and reaching those without internet or telephone services. They are allowing the people to put their voices first.

Where mining is concerned, these radio stations form a critical part of the struggle to provide accurate, timely information on the devastating impacts of mining operations, allowing communities to make more informed decisions on their own terms rather than industry myths and empty promises.

Community radio is particularly vital as part of the struggle to prevent mining destruction, rather than be forced to seek compensation or legal remedy for damage done. Allowing communities to organise early and nurture broad-based local support through local media, community radio stations are a key part of strategies emerging worldwide that strengthen communities’ intention and right to say Yes to Life, No to Mining! and to succeed in doing so.

We congratulate NAPE and the communities of the Albertine Graben involved with the Community Green Radio who are playing this important role in their region. Happy Birthday, and long may your work continue.