Bunia: five community radio stations now safe from programme interruptions thanks to MONUSCO's support

As part of its support to the media and quick impact projects (QIP), MONUSCO has provided five local radio stations with complete solar panel kits. Photos MONUSCO / Ado Abdou

20 Jun 2022

Bunia: five community radio stations now safe from programme interruptions thanks to MONUSCO's support

Jean-Tobie Okala

"Sorry, hold on, it's just for a line change. Sorry for the interruption of your programme". This little message regularly broadcast on almost all the radio stations in Bunia in Ituri during the endless power failures is now history. At least for five community radio stations in the town that have just been provided with complete solar panel kits by MONUSCO. These are radio stations are the following: Radio Fides, Radio Merveille de Bunia (RMB), Radiotélévision Mont Bleu (RTM), Radio Peace FM and Radio Lobiko (RTVL).

With a total capacity of 13,000 watts each, these solar kits should now enable these radios to operate autonomously, without the risk of interrupting their programmes for lack of energy.

The city of Bunia has a rather poor and unpredictable electricity supply; radio broadcasts are constantly interrupted, either because of a lack of fuel to power the generators, when these are not broken down, or because of untimely power cuts, thus depriving millions of listeners of their programmes.

It is common for listeners to bring three or five litres of fuel to a particular radio station so as not to miss their favourite programme, or for others to send the equivalent in Congolese francs by mobile money or electronic money transfer.

As part of its support to the media and Quick Impact Projects (QIP), and in order to strengthen their operational capacities, MONUSCO has provided these five radio stations with complete solar panel kits to reinforce their energy autonomy.

Supporting access to information

Each kit includes solar panels with an installed capacity of 2,000 or 3,000 watts, four batteries of 200 Ah 12 volts each, a 5 KVa hybrid inverter/charger as well as installation and equipment protection accessories.

With the amount of sunshine that Bunia receives, these solar panels produce 7 to 8 Kwh, which allows them to operate on a self-consumption mode during the day and, at night, to consume the energy stored in the batteries.

This equipment also takes on he local electricity supply source to charge the batteries in case of lack of sunlight (rain or night), which allows these radio stations to operate autonomously 24 hours a day.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Jacques Bazo Adimoni, Director General of Radio Merveille de Bunia (RMB), welcomed this gesture from MONUSCO, which supports access to information for the people of Bunia.

"By making this invaluable equipment available to us, MONUSCO is once again demonstrating to the world the importance it attaches to access to information for the Congolese population in general, and in particular for the most vulnerable people living in Ituri," he said.

For him, this gesture will largely contribute to the improvement of the security situation through the improvement of the performance of these five beneficiary radio stations.

"These solar kits will now save us from interruptions in broadcasting due to untimely power cuts and breakdowns of our generators... This gift is a grace from God Almighty. From now on, it will enable us to reach our different communities in due time and according to the schedule of each of these radio stations," he concluded.

The project, which cost US$45,000, was carried out in the space of three months by the local NGO FRAPES. It was officially handed over on 16 June by the MONUSCO head of office in Bunia, Josiah Obat, to Christine Abeditho, provincial president of the Ituri branch of the National Union of Congolese Press (UNPC).