SIGNIS Projects: new equipment to promote spiritual well-being from Radio Faraja FM, Tanzania
Every year, SIGNIS screens project applications on media training, equipment, and production for subsidy from the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith (PSPF). In 2020, we launched the signisprojectapplication.net online portal, successfully switching from a paper-based to a fully digital application process and making it easier for applicants from all over the world to submit their projects.
Prior to 2020, the Diocese of Embu in Kenya had received funds from POF. That same year, they applied again on the new portal to further develop their local radio station, Kimuri Radio, through the purchase of audiovisual equipment. In this interview, Fr. James Nthiga Gatiti gives us more insights into how the subsidies have helped them so far and how they intend to use the new funds and support the radio carry out its mission: to bring the message of the Gospel to the local population.
Could you tell us more about the human impact the project will have on your community?
Fr. Gatiti: The Kimuri radio team will be trained on journalism and production to inform the community better and empower community members through educational, moral, spiritual and economic messages. We will also create information centres to be used by schools, colleges, and people out of the school system. Finally, we will make materials available to non-formal education groups from various sectors of society. Altogether, there will be increased awareness of the importance of communication as a medium for self-development.
How do you see the situation in your community once the project is implemented?
The project will contribute to achieving peaceful co-existence and mutual support among the community members by being an avenue for addressing vital issues. The community will also stand a chance of understanding the issues affecting their social, political, cultural, economic development aspirations in their diverse forms. Citizens will be more likely to discuss important issues among themselves during their leisure time. The values brought forth by the project will be carried over to the neighbouring communities.
What can you tell us about the community where the project is taking place?
The Diocese is located in the Eastern region of Kenya in Embu County, whose population is estimated to be about 610,000 as of 2019. Embu is a cosmopolitan county inhabited by Aembu, Ambeere and people from other ethnic groups like Akamba and Kikuyu mostly living within the towns.
The Diocese was created on 20th June 1986 and inaugurated on 20th September of the same year. The first Bishop was John Cardinal Njue, the now Emeritus Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. Bishop Paul Kariuki is the current Bishop of Embu. For the last 35 years, the Diocese has made great strides in human development such as health, education, communication and agriculture. The Diocese sponsors 186 schools, owns Consolata Hospital Kyeni and more than ten other functioning parish dispensaries. Pastoral activities in the Diocese are also organized into groups and associations for men, women, children, catechists, etc.
What are your main objectives with this project?
The Diocese of Embu is indeed faced with challenges influenced by social, political and economic factors. Thus, evangelization is not complete without considering communication in the realm of human development. Due to the diverse and varying social, political, and economic factors, the Diocese requires well-informed people who should be given an enabling environment to grow spiritually and lead decent lifestyles.
Parishes from the Diocese have varying needs ranging from expansion of educational opportunities, improvement of agriculture, income-generating projects, health facilities, pastoral needs, family life programmes, etc. Through training of the staff and parish communication agents, Kimuri Radio will address these needs.
Why do you think PSPF should continue to support these types of projects?
POF has a long history of supporting meaningful church projects, which eventually become self–supporting. It is a people-growth oriented organization that significantly enhances the evangelization work and promotes the ideals and values of the Gospel.
Financial self-supporting has become a priority in the entire AMECEA Bishops’ resolution, as evidenced in their 18th and 19th plenary Assemblies. Kimuri Radio is striving for that aspect.