Launch of Chimanimani FM to boost community resilience building

Chimanimani FM will be officially launched on the 8th of July 2022. Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services and the UNESCO Regional Director and Representative Prof Lidia Arthur Brito are expected to launch the community radio station.

UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (UNESCO ROSA) in partnership and collaboration with the Ministry of Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services has established community radio stations in Chimanimani, Nyanga, and Chipinge in Manicaland Province as reliable sources of early warning communication against floods and drought. The community radios are part of the early warning system that includes strengthening existing community communication channels linked to state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT), weather monitoring equipment installed in various parts of Manicaland. The radio stations were established under the Comprehensive Resilience Building in the Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts project, which is funded by the World Bank and coordinated by UNOPS.

Hon. Monica Mutsvangwa and the UNESCO Regional Director, Prof Lidia Brito will hand over 100 donated radio handsets to schools within Chimanimani as UNESCO is training the community radio practitioners on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (SRHS). The training on sexual and reproductive health is key especially during emergencies to address challenges of gender-based violence. The radio sets will also be instrumental in the delivery of distant learning lessons through the community radio to curb the effects of COVID-19 on the education system due to prolonged school closures during national lockdowns. UNESCO has also trained 22 teachers from Manicaland Province and Chiredzi District on how to prepare distance learning lessons through community radios.

The recent designation of Chimanimani as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve will also be announced during the launch event.

Chimanimani FM covers largely the Chimanimani District, which is divided into 23 wards. Chimanimani West has 11 wards, and its eastern counterpart has 12 wards. Most of the inhabitants of Chimanimani are of Ndau origin. The people at Chimanimani village, Rusitu valley, mostly speak Ndau language. People dwelling on Biriri, Mhakwe, Shinja, Chayamiti, Nyanyadzi use a mixed language but closely related to Manyika dialects. The people dwelling under Chief Mutambara land commonly call themselves Vagarwe. They use indirect words to communicate commonly known as Chibende by the locals. Chimanimani district and Chipinge is commonly known as the Gazaland. The Ndau people living in these two districts describe themselves as VaGaza. The current accurate population figures are awaiting the results of the 2022 national census, though the population is estimated to be above 60, 000.