Many of our projects and partners are working in parts of the world currently experiencing conflict.  From civil wars and sectarian violence, to coup attempts, volatile political situations and threats to communities by militia groups, people are trying to live their lives in amongst extreme conflict.  As followers of Jesus, we have love and concern for our brothers and sisters of all faiths and none, who are living in regions embedded in conflict.

Media can reach out to audiences in areas experiencing crisis, helping to bridge divides across faith groups and fractured communities.

CASE STUDY: Radio (re)building communities in Iraq

Decades of war, repression and conflict have eroded community spirit and trust among neighbours in Iraq. Among hospitable people has arisen a sense of individualism: why clean streets which will be bombed anyway? Plant flowers among ruins?  However, a building begins with a foundation stone – you keep building on it until you have a solid structure. Rebuilding a community takes time and energy but our experience has seen radio make positive change in communities across Iraq.  

I want the radio to bring hope to the people, to give them faith in their abilities and gifts. It needs to inspire the community to stand on its feet again….The Iraqi people long for peace and prosperity.

*Noor Fadel, Iraq project leader (name changed for security purposes).

Community radio, community ownership, community reconciliation.

Delving deeper into the community, planting peace, love and trust amongst people is a major focus for Iraq FM.  Our partners use music and interactions with the local community, to entertain and inform listeners about relevant issues so that members of the fragmented communities across areas of Iraq communicate with each other, to help reduce discrimination and build peace.

Community radio is very important in Iraq, I see broken communities here. Radio can be used as a tool to encourage unity – to get people working and thinking and fixing their community together.

With community engagement comes a sense of community ownership, with listeners beginning to consider the station as “their voice” a shared outlet for vulnerable community members, empowering individuals and communities with change underpinned by the lasting impact of God’s Kingdom values.

We consider this station our family, our second home. It keeps us entertained and away from the trouble of life.

Listener, Iraq FM

Media for the whole person

In a country that has endured years of war and conflict, tending to a person and community as a whole - addressing their spiritual, physical and emotional needs - is important.

'We need to reach people's whole needs'

Radio is a special tool. It can change hearts and minds. It can reach people on an intellectual, social and spiritual level. We need to reach people’s ‘whole’ needs. Spirituality is, of course, important, but we’re living in the world; we must care for our neighbour’s physical wellbeing too. Being community-focussed means getting out into our community – visiting people, inviting them in. We’re doing that more and more.

Iraq FM provides an alternative voice to the voices of conflict between factions, allowing various community members to have a say regardless of sectarian affiliation. Editorially, the project is based on Christian faith, and promotes kingdom values, working hard for reconciliation in fragmented communities in conflict affected areas.  The station staff are proud to be making a difference to diverse communities and bringing people together.

Delivering life-giving media in difficult circumstances

With the threat of Da'ash (also known as Islamic State, or IS) both Christians and Muslims listening to our partners’ FM station in Iraq are often living in fear.  The dedicated station staff are at risk from attack and in recent months the station manager has received death threats – however the team continue their broadcasts as they believe they are called to give a voice for peace in their community.

I feel that God put me in this community for this purpose...When I prepare my programmes, I think about the agony and conflicts my listeners are facing - I’m like any other person living in Iraq, I’m living through this too.  After so much conflict, people here lost hope. Through radio, we are trying to rebuild joy, optimism, friendship and hope in the lives of our listeners.

Samir, Iraq FM presenter

Muslim listeners have visited the station and openly declared on air their admiration for the work our partners are doing, people reach out via social media and call into to live shows. The station’s popularity and following is growing, testimony that messages of peace and reconciliation are emotional lifelines to communities caught up in conflict.

Please continue to support the work of teams like our partners at Iraq FM, working to rebuild their country and bringing hope and change to fractured communities. Please show your support by making a donation to help promote peace.