ears to our world

At ETOW, we believe access to information is access to education. We provide innovative, simple and appropriate technologies to schools and communities in remote, rural and impoverished regions of our world.

Filtering by Tag: Cameroon

Thank you for your support in 2016

Dear Friend,

Thanksgiving is upon us here in the US.  Ears To Our World wishes to offer our heartfelt thanks, both for those for whom we exist, as well as for those who so generously support us and without whom we couldn’t exist: you.

ETOW in Haiti: Support for Hurricane Matthew Victims

Many are aware of the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, a country that was still in recovery from the 2010 earthquake.

Following the storm, ETOW's intrepid partners at the Haitian Health Foundation rushed into action, distributing our remaining stock of analog self-powered radios for medical and sustenance relief.  We’re gathering more supplies even as you read this message. Many may not realize that the information a radio provides can be as important as food and medicine––indeed, radio informs Haitians where they can obtain clean water, fresh food, and medical assistance, as well as how to locate loved ones.  Thus, an ETOW radio can mean comfort and connection, as well as survival and safety, giving victims the will and means to carry on.

ETOW is now teaching HHF staff how to build HumanaLights in the field. Our HumanaLights are simple LED flashlights in kit form that run for weeks on a single dead (depleted) AA battery––and for many months on a fresh battery, even with heavy use.  To many, this remarkable little light in the dark means safety.

ETOW in Cameroon, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania: Let there be light 

Meanwhile in Kenya and in Tanzania, a new batch of ETOW radios provide news, health, and safety information. 

And this year, we successfully designed and deployed portable solar battery charging and lighting systems in Cameroon and South Sudan, where several schools and a girls’  dormitory will now have reliable light.  

Clearly, ETOW continues to be dedicated to improving lives and building children’s futures through appropriate, energy-efficient technologies.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible gift to help us help others, you can send it in the enclosed envelope. Or, feel free to give the gift of radio here on our website (printable donation forms available).

If you would like to learn more about the HumanaLight kit, or if you would like to purchase one, check out: humanalight.org.

ETOW radios being distributed through our partners in Tanzania.

ETOW radios being distributed through our partners in Tanzania.

We hope you've had a wonderful 2016, and continue to stay interested in and involved with Ears to Our World. We welcome your support in any form. And to those who’ve already given it:  We thank you!

In 2017, may the light of tolerance and song of peace spread throughout our listening world.

In friendship,
Thomas Witherspoon
Founder & Director, Ears To Our World


Looking back on 2013

Dear Friends,

It’s been a bright year for Ears to Our World, and we’re profoundly grateful for all the Support we’ve received––and continue to receive.  So, thanks to our many, many friends––among them, educators, administrators, clergy, associates, guides, logistical experts, directors, and partner organizations the world over––and thanks to you.  

Following are but a few of ETOW’s 2013 highlights, that you helped make possible:

Miracle Malaki, a visually impaired student at the BCVI Summer Camp in Belize City, Belize, receives a self-powered radio from Ears to Our World. (Photo: David Korchin)

Miracle Malaki, a visually impaired student at the BCVI Summer Camp in Belize City, Belize, receives a self-powered radio from Ears to Our World. (Photo: David Korchin)

Sierra Leone: Ears To Our World donated world-band radios to a human rights program for use in a human rights monitoring project

South Sudan: For the fifth year now, ETOW worked with partner Project Education South Sudan to serve remote communities and schools helping shape South Sudan’s new democracy. And this year, in a new trial project, ETOW also provided a girls’ dormitory with a GoalZero portable solar lighting system for study and security

Cameroon: Also for the fifth year, ETOW continued work with Educare Africa, and received a wonderful report from a small remote village

Belize: ETOW continued to work with the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired; in July, ETOW advisory board member and photographer David Korchin accompanied me to inner-city Belize to document our placement of ETOW radios with a number of inspiring kids attending BCVI’s summer camp (one of his amazing photos is enclosed)

Kenya: ETOW board member/professor Nyaga Mwaniki and his group of university students distributed radios, through Kosmos Solutions, to schools and communities in rural western areas

Mongolia: ETOW and partner EduRelief undertook our most recent project in the extremely remote Tsagaanuur (White Lake) region of Mongolia, near the Russian border, distributing radios to nomadic Tsataan reindeer herder families

But among the brightest potential projects we’ve undertaken in 2013 is our new partnership with Western Carolina University’s Kimmel School of Engineering, where a group of bright students have just produced a new prototype of our HumanaLight, the remarkable little LED flashlight that shines long and bright, even when powered by the residual voltage of “dead” batteries.  


Right now, we need your help to raise the materials costs of our first production run of the HumanaLight. Please, won’t you help us reach our goal?  We only need $5000 more to make this little light shine the world over.  With our loyal supporters, we can do it...and school children in powerless areas will soon walk home, not just with their schoolbooks, but with a safe, affordable light to read them by.  

In 2014, may blessings abound and peace reign throughout our listening world. Happy holidays!

In friendship,

Thomas Witherspoon

Director, ETOW

ETOW Radio Empowers the Disabled in Remote Cameroon

In case you've ever wondered what one radio can do for a rural developing-world community, here's the answer...Just in time for the holidays, the following heartwarming field report arrived from ETOW's mission partner, Educare Africa-Cameroon. This worthy ETOW partner organization, together with Covenant Baptist Church Tsinga-Yaoundé, carried out a joint mission trip to the far northern reaches of Cameroon in 2011.  As the report notes: "...[T]hese communities are extremely enclave, with no roads, schools, health facilities, [potable] water, rivers with no bridges, no access to communication networks...They are completely [cut] off from the rest of the world." The team visited many communities, hospitals, and prisons to share clothing, shoes, food..and an ETOW radio, which was placed with one of the teachers in the remote village of Doulek.

This moving report also describes the 2012 follow-up visit, and speaks for itself:


"...When the National Coordinator of Educare Africa–Cameroon, Mr. Sunjo Emmanuel, returned to Doulek, the community that got the radio came to him singing and dancing because the radio was a real blessing to them.  They shared the following testimonies.

    • More than 150 students came to the teacher who received the radio to listen to the end of course examination result. This was the only radio available and students trekked more than 30km to come and listen to their results.
  • [The community] also got news over the National Radio about what [the] Government was doing to assist people with disabilities. After follow-up, more than 300 people with disabilities have been registered with Government with about 37 from the beneficiary community in Doulek. All of these people have received various gifts [and forms of assistance] from [the] Government, and the teacher who himself is a disabled man has been made Sub Divisional secretary of people with disabilities. Thanks to access to information.
  • More than 3000 people [previously] died in these communities from Cholera, [but] through the donated radio from ETOW, these communities got access to public education on how to fight against Cholera.
  • More than 65 children gathered regularly to listen to Gospel messages using this radio.
  • The villages surrounding Doulek have benefitted from the information sent to them. Doulek has become ear of this region thanks to ETOW.  More communities need their own radios."

It's truly humbling to learn what just one radio can provide to a rural community. We at ETOW feel blessed that we are able to play a part in improving lives in communities like Doulek all over the world. And we are greatly indebted to so many who enable us to do so.

So, as we look back on 2012, we want to acknowledge the hard work, commitment, assistance, and generosity of all the people behind ETOW, and to express our deepest gratitude to them. Our mission succeeds thanks to our exceptional in-country partners, such as Educare Africa; thanks to the dedicated teachers and community leaders in the areas we serve; thanks to our steadfast friends in industry, such as Etón Corporation and Universal Radio; and last but definitely not least, to our generous donors, who share our conviction that radio--in its unique ability to provide critical information in economically challenged and physically remote areas--can empower children, families, and communities every single day.  As this report makes so clear, it can and does.

Thank you!  Happy holidays, and may peace reign throughout the listening world.

Mission in Process: ETOW’s Radios Educate Despite Extremes

The self-powered world band radios that Ears To Our World distributes to remote, impoverished schools and communities around the world through its global partners are often subjected to extremes—not only climatic, in the form of relentlless tropical rains and scorching desert sand-storms, but also the political and economic, resulting in extremes of usage most technologies are just not built to withstand. To support ETOW's mission of providing the developing world with reliable access to information--e.g, educational programming, local and international news, emergency and health information--ETOW radios must be exceedingly rugged and maintainable in the field. Nevertheless, any technology experiencing this kind of usage must be expected to have a finite functionality: that’s the reason our commitment to ongoing partnership and follow-up support is so vital. When we place radios in schools and communities through our global partners, we do so as a collaborative effort among equals: to make a lasting impact in our served areas, our in-country NGO affiliates distribute the radios where they can do the greatest good. Additionally, our partner teachers and community leaders entrusted with ETOW's radios take responsibility for their care, monitoring each unit's function as a result of daily usage. ETOW maintains contact with these partners and provides assistance as needed and feasible.

Fortunately, the Etón Grundig self-powered, hand-crank worldband radios with which ETOW works have been functioning superbly in the field, in places as diverse as Belize, Chile, Romania, Mongolia, South Sudan, and Cameroon. Thus far, these units have proven more than equal to the challenge: with care, these radios can last up to up to three years in the field, exceeding our expectations for the product. In areas where conditions are extreme, the radios do wear more rapidly, but we have learned that only tens in hundreds break within the first year of use, a remarkable finding and a testament to the committed care of the units by our partner-users.

Even a more significant finding, however, is the validation of our organizational model. ETOW recently had the opportunity to examine the sole radio returned to us from a remote area of Cameroon where our partner, NGO EduCare-Africa, had assigned it for use as a teaching tool in a local school. While the radio still received signals after three years of use, it no longer charged by hand crank; ETOW requested its return for analysis. Pavla Zakova-Laney, Founder, President, Executive Director, and full-time volunteer of EduCare, promptly responded with the radio's return. In the meantime, as per our agreement, she offered the teacher partner a replacement radio. So, although the original radio experienced an internal component failure, it was apparently otherwise well-cared for, as the teacher partner had agreed upon placement; our NGO partner was informed of the problem, and served as on-site intermediary; and ETOW was able to address the problem by replacing the unit. Clearly, ETOW’s model of collaboration and follow-through works.

“We recognize that success in humanitarian aid requires providing consistent and reliable support over time,” explains Thomas Witherspoon, ETOW’s founder and director, “so we commit to our teachers and partners that we will do our best to replace or repair radios when they eventually reach the end of their useful life.”

ETOW’s experience in Cameroon is, in our view, a clear success story. According to Zakova-Laney, there are currently seven ETOW radios serving communities in Cameroon, being used in secondary/high schools. And although they are located in remote areas, EduCare estimates that nearly 2,700 students and teachers have directly benefitted from these seven devices. That number increases dramatically as news and other information is disseminated to students' families at home and to communities at large.

But upon further examination, EduCare’s feedback is not all that surprising. In the areas ETOW serves, even one radio can produce a remarkably broad positive impact. “Every school [that received a radio] greatly appreciated it, and promised it would be used well and handled with care,” explained Zakova-Laney. In developing areas, each radio is an invaluable resource because it can affect so many lives. Even the single returned FR200 with the broken crank, in otherwise good condition despite extensive use, reinforces what we’ve believed from the beginning: radio is the best method to reach the greatest number of people where the need is greatest in the developing world. It is economical, uncomplicated, broadcasts are unhindered by boundaries and politics--and, as we’ve seen, as tough as it needs to be.

We’re proud of the continuing role we play in support of invaluable programs like EduCare-Africa's, helping our partners achieve their goals of expanding opportunities and improving lives through education. So, exactly how important is our role? Zakova-Laney: “I believe that as long as there will be remote places without electricity and...a means of communication, these radios will be very helpful, bringing news, useful information and educational programs—and [they will be] appreciated tremendously.”

ETOW extends our appreciation to our generous supporters who enable us to do what we do. Thank you all.



ETOW Partners with EduCare in Cameroon

Ears To Our World has recently partnered with EduCare Africa, a non-profit organization that works with schools in rural Cameroon. Mr. Ndomi Patrick Ndi and his students from G.S.S. Mbu-Warr receiving their first ETOW self-powered, world-band radio.

This year, ETOW sent EduCare a few radios to a pilot rural school in Cameroon to get teacher feedback about the potential project. EduCare is also using a radio to as a demonstration to get local support. The response has been overwhelming.

Mr. Emmanuel Sunjo, EduCare's Project Coodinator in Cameroon, writes:

This project is unique and will create a big impact. It will be first of its kind in Cameroon. The radios are good-looking and well-designed. ...[T]here is a lot that we shall achieve from this project.

We, too, believe our radios will have a major impact in Cameroon and we know that by using EduCare's network and solid reputation, distribution will be effective. Already, our first teacher, Mr. Ndomi Patrick Ndi from G.S.S. Mbu-Warr, commented in a letter to us:

I received with great joy the radio donated to me by you. This radio is going to help me, my students, the staff and the entire community...I am very grateful...

Logistically, Cameroon, much like Kenya, is a challenging country--distances are great from village to village, school to school. Thanks to Mr. Sunjo's dedicated efforts, EduCare's network encompasses a large area. EduCare, however, has limited resources.

It will cost roughly $50 per radio to send 150 radios to Cameroon. If you'd like to help get them there, consider using the donation button on Ears To Our World's website to support teachers, children, and classrooms in Cameroon!

Copyright © 2013 Ears To Our World