Stories Stories Seeds of Hope: News from our media partners in Nepal Feba’s broadcasting partner in Nepal is strategically placed and equipped to help protect health and share the good news of Jesus in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. After the second case of Covid-19 was confirmed in late March in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown the following day. With borders closed, hundreds of Nepalese labourers found themselves stranded on the border with India. As panic over the virus spread, many city dwellers started to head back on foot to their villages once the country’s transport system shut down completely. As of 23 April, there were 31 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Nepal and no deaths reported. The government has recently extended the current lockdown period until 27 April in response to the small but steady rise in cases. Despite these low official numbers, Nepal’s widespread poverty, fragile economy and lack of trained medical staff could still prove disastrous for this nation bordered by India to the east, south and west and the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China to the north. Commentators are saying one of the reasons why the infection rate appears low at the moment is because of the country’s demographics: Nepal has a young population; the most at-risk group comprises only around 10 percent of a total population of 29 million, with just four percent aged over 60. While the population might therefore not see a widespread outbreak of Covid-19 in the coming months, it’s very unlikely the government will be able to shield its citizens from the long-term damage caused by the detrimental impact of the virus on the global economy. Radio is a lifeline in the remote and mountainous regions of Nepal Feba UK’s partner in Nepal – Human Development Community Services (HDCS) – is playing an essential role in combatting the pandemic by broadcasting regular Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and life-saving health information in different languages on their two community radio stations, known locally as Afno FM. The radio stations are strategically located in two local community hospitals in Okaldhunga and Dadeldhura. In this remote and mountainous region, radio is still the most widely used - and often the only - media available to communicate vital news and health information to the majority of the population in this very poor country. “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” Psalm 107:19-20 Afno FM is currently broadcasting several live talk shows which enable listeners to engage and ask questions about Covid-19 while also sharing their heartfelt concerns. Throughout the daily schedule, the team is playing different PSAs before and after songs. These key messages are also being reinforced at the start and end of every programme and news bulletin. Listeners are left in no doubt about how best to protect their health and follow all the wide-ranging restrictions imposed by the government lockdown. Our partner has just shared the encouraging news that the local government, the district office, the Red Cross, other organisations and Afno FM listeners have all commented that “Afno FM is doing a very good job at keeping everyone informed during this disaster”. The team has also mentioned how the Covid-19 pandemic has brought back memories of the devastating aftermath of the earthquake that happened almost exactly five years ago on 25 April 2015. Despite losing the radio stations in the earthquake, the team never stopped broadcasting and were able to continue sharing information under extremely challenging circumstances. They say they are facing this crisis in the same spirit and trusting in God to sustain and protect them and their listeners, and to bring them closer to Him through this crisis. Please pray: For Feba’s partners producing and presenting programmes on Afno FM. Pray for wisdom, sensitivity and God’s perfect love that drives out fear as they engage in live talk shows with listeners. For all the other organisations partnering with Afno FM at this time, especially the local government, district office and Red Cross. Pray that through serving together, the love and power of Jesus may become evident to all. For the Nepal government as they face huge challenges in controlling the spread of Covid-19 while protecting the health of their citizens and supporting a very fragile economy. Can you pray for Feba's media partners throughout this time? You can sign up to receive our monthly Prayer Focus letters by clicking here. * For the sake of security, some of the real names of people, projects or programmes have been changed or omitted.