Created on July 15, 1996, the service broadcasts radio programs in the Kirundi and Kinyarwanda languages to Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
In recent years, programming has included interviews with major public figures from the Great Lakes region, such as Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Paul Rusesabagina who inspired the movie "Hotel Rwanda," a story about the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which some 800,000 people were killed.
"We're very proud of the role of VOA's Central Africa Service in assisting the people of this region during such an important time in their history," said VOA Director David S. Jackson.
The Service also gives a voice to ordinary listeners by airing in-depth features on HIV/AIDS patients, orphans, single mothers, medical professionals, NGO leaders and separated families.
"The Service's health, conflict resolution and human rights segments have proven very valuable in a region trying to recover from years of civil conflict," said Service Chief Robert Daguillard. "But I'm convinced the crown jewel of our special anniversary broadcast on July 15th will be an interview with families that have been brought together thanks to our family reunification segments."
VOA has also earned praise for Ejo Bite?, its popular program aimed at young refugees. The 30-minute weekly program, which translates as "How About the Future?," is financed by the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Started in February 2003, the program is reported and produced by young refugees in camps along the Burundi and Rwanda borders. The refugees, trained by professional journalists, produce reports on health, conflict resolution, life choices, HIV/AIDS awareness, education and social issues.
VOA's Central Africa Service broadcasts seven hours each week at 0330-0430 UTC to the Great Lakes region on shortwave, as well as on VOA’s own FM frequency in Kigali, Rwanda. VOA also broadcasts on FM through Radio Publique Africaine in Bujumbura, Burundi and Radio Kwizera in Ngara, Tanzania. Visit our website at www.VOANews.com/centralafrica for more information.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.
For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.