A Friend in the Wilderness: A new project is joining the Feba UK portfolio as broadcasts on shortwave into a closed country in North East Africa go on air.

The country can’t be identified for security reasons but our hope is that the programmes will be informative and supportive to anyone living there regardless of religion or ethnicity.

Together with our partners, we are looking to be A Friend in the Wilderness (and so the project is known) to those living in a restrictive environment. Programme content is designed with a clear Christian identity and will also help support believers and the church, which exists under some pressure, without duplicating other religious broadcasting into the country.

The programme producers speak the language, understand the culture and are close to the intended audience without being inside the country. Through the programmes they are seeking to build relationship with their listeners, addressing subjects and issues that are interesting and helpful to them.

We are looking to be a friend in the wilderness to those living in a restrictive environment.

In preparing the programmes, the team handle the subjects in a non-judgemental and accurate way, trying to get input from others with current, local experience, for example, health professionals who can give medical advice in a way that is practical for the local conditions.

The heart of issues

When considering the issues facing an audience, programme producers have to dig deeper, asking the questions ‘why?’ and ‘is this true?’ to reveal hidden needs below the surface that require more research and consideration rather than just a simple answer. The team also try to prioritise the issues so that programme time can be spent not only on issues that listeners are really exercised about but on ones that can be addressed well, bringing support and help.

The team are planning to cover some health issues in the programmes including advice about: sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, hygiene and sanitation, waterborne diseases, nutrition from the available food, and dealing with the stress and fear of the unstable environment, which may particularly affect believers.

READ MORE on Feba focus areas: Church in Community and Persecuted Church

The population in general face economic struggles and so the production team hope that their programmes will help by providing knowledge and awareness of how to use limited resources wisely through planning, saving, creativity and using the available opportunities. They also plan to give advice about growing vegetables.

The programme producers speak the language, understand the culture and are close to the intended audience.

In each programme, the producers bring words of encouragement and hope for all listeners but especially for believers. As well as bringing comfort, they want to encourage faith and boldness, along with discussing freedom and fear, and tolerance and diversity within the society – issues which will challenge the authorities and will need to be handled with wisdom and sensitivity.

Feba UK is excited about the potential and opportunity this project has and hopes that the programmes might be a step on the listeners’ own journey to faith, as we seek to inspire people to follow Jesus.

For more on our other projects in this region, see: Radio in North East Africa: Bold, creative and diverse