Catholic Entity in Sierra Leone Changing Women's Lives Through New Radio Station

Doris Moriba, President of a young women's group shares her views during the Insai Salone programme on Nyapui Radio. Credit: SEND Sierra Leone

The overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland, Trócaire, is working through a new women’s radio station in Sierra Leone to transform the lives of women who listen to the station.

In a Thursday, March 31 report, Trócaire officials say that Nyapui Radio, the new women’s radio station in the country established in partnership with Irish Aid, seeks to provide women with a platform to share information touching on issues that affect them.

“Nyapui Radio is a new women’s radio station in Sierra Leone, and it is being credited with changing the lives of the many women who participate and listen,” Trócaire leadership says in the report.

Under the management of Trócaire partner SEND Sierra Leone, the radio station has empowered more than 36,000 women in Sierra Leone through diverse programs that touch on democracy and good governance.

The manager of the new radio station, Fatima Sesay, describes the move by the Irish Catholic agency to have the station in the country and her appointment to be first manager as “a dream come true.”


“I previously worked with Radio Democracy and the BBC and I was very interested in the partnership with SEND because I know the importance of women in journalism in Sierra Leone,” the 37-year-old journalist says.

She adds, “Becoming a station manager has had a huge positive effect on my life as I have a passion for women and girls; so, working for a women-only radio station is a dream come true.”

Ms. Sesay explains, “I also now have the opportunity to develop my career as a station manager, as there aren’t many opportunities for women in leadership roles in the traditional media. I feel so proud to be in my role and to have a positive impact on women and girls in Sierra Leone.”

Expressing optimism that the station will expand and increase its audience, Ms. Sesay talks of the possibility of a women’s television station. She says that the feedback from the community concerning the operation of the station is commendable.

“Currently we have nine staff, six are women, and we would like to expand so that we could hire a female producer. At the moment, we don’t have the resources and skills for a producer, so I’m doubling up as station manager and producer,” she said.

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 “We currently have four female reporters,” she says, and adds, “but I’d like to expand this number also. I’d also love to develop a TV station for women to further advocate women’s issues.”

The manager of Nyapui Radio says that the station was very instrumental during the lockdown following COVID-19 as the flow of information was equally affected.

“The radio station is vital to spread the message about COVID-19 and to give information on good hygiene practices and vaccinations. Now more than ever, having healthcare experts and discussions on the radio for everyone to hear is so important,” she says.

Ms. Sesay further says that the station seeks to play a vital role in the country’s forthcoming by-elections and that through the station, she will provide a platform for the women vying for political seats to be heard.

“We will give the election full coverage to show that women are deeply involved in politics and that the opportunities are there. This will be a huge cost to us at the station so we are very grateful to Irish Aid and Trócaire for their support,” she says.


In the March 31 report, country Director of SEND Sierra Leone, Joseph Ayamga, describes the establishment of the station as a wonderful move saying it will promote women’s participation in decision making in the West African country.

“SEND has been a partner of Trócaire and Irish Aid for years, to empower and promote women’s participation in decision making processes. Previously, women didn’t have a platform to discuss their rights, contributions and empowerment issues,” Mr. Ayamga says.

He adds, “These issues are often silent in traditional communities in Sierra Leone. We wanted to create a platform to give a voice to women so they can share whatever information they want to. It is wonderful to see it progress and we would love it if any Irish journalists would be willing to come and see our work and to help develop our skills.”

Minister for Overseas Aid and Diaspora, Colm Brophy TD, lauded the initiative saying that it is very important that the voices of the women are heard in Sierra Leone.

“When women’s voices are heard, they can influence the direction of their communities and play a full part in the development of their countries. That’s why community radio in Africa is so important,” Mr. Brophy said.

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He added, “It presents an opportunity for women to voice their concerns and discuss the issues that affect them. This new radio station will give women in Sierra Leone the chance to discuss, debate and inspire each other to create a more equal society. It will allow women to share their experiences and collectively work towards further strengthening their voices.”

Trócaire officials have said that the station has many programs that touch on women’s issues, including news updates, panel discussions, live and pre-recorded interviews and music.

“We have a segment that profiles women and showcases their contributions to society, such as in engineering or in agriculture, and this is very important as many women listening would not be aware that women could have such roles,” the officials said.

They added, “We also have a health program that focuses on sexual and reproductive issues which can teach a lot of women about these issues. Our daily news programmes also keep women informed about upcoming issues and how they can become involved.”

Trócaire makes reference to the new gender equality and women’s empowerment bill under Sierra Leone’s ministry of gender and children’s affairs, which “is calling for 30 percent of parliamentary seats and cabinet positions to be held by women in the West African state.”

Media reports indicate that in Sierra Leone, with a population of almost eight million people, just 19 percent of local politicians are women, with only 13 percent at national level.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.