Ears to Our World's first radios have arrived in Southern Sudan, care of our partner Project Education Sudan, a US-based charitable organization whose goal is to foster education in areas that have been ravaged by Sudan's 20 year civil war, which has destroyed its existing educational system.
Like ETOW, Project Educate Sudan believes that education and the dissemination of information is fundamental. ETOW's shortwave radios have found a vital role in this area, with PES distributing and teaching community leaders how to operate them.
Carol Rinehart, executive director of PES, headed up the first distribution project, taking forty ETOW shortwave radios to five different villages in Sudan. She and her team distributed the radios to headmasters and teachers in schools which PES helps to fund, and found the response was overwhelmingly positive.
"The teachers were so excited about the radios and using them as a teaching resource that it became the central focus of the teacher In-Service [program], and more teachers than we [could supply] came from all around the area to receive one," recalled Rinehart. "After distribution of the radios, I saw the teachers around the villages using them with kids surrounding them. Our biggest challenge was the chiefs of the villages also want[ed] a radio!"
The ETOW radios that were distributed in Sudan almost instantly became the primary source for news and current events, particularly in covering the country's first democratic elections. During these elections the teachers kept their new radios in the classrooms to teach their students about the voting process, and the broadcasts provided vital information to the community about where and how to cast ballots.
Shortwave radios like those ETOW distributes take on a crucial role in countries where electricity, internet access, and other technology is limited. Radios connect those in remote areas with information that would otherwise be almost impossible to glean. "The main impact of the radios will be with the students and teachers, but the interconnectedness of the students and teachers as a vital part of their community will have a larger impact on the whole village," said Rinehart. "Their communities are so remote, in a newly-emerging country only now building an infrastructure. So literally, the radios ETOW provides keeps the students, teachers and the whole community connected to the world."