Staggering statistics show that Nigeria is a nation of 158 million people, totaling 443 people groups with 56.5 million people listed as being unreached from 119 Unreached People Groups (UPG's)1 . These facts present us with an enormous opportunity and obligation to develop a comprehensive media ministry strategy for Nigeria, alongside well established ministries like Serving in Mission (SIM), Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), Radio ELWA, Wycliffe as well as newer cutting edge groups such as T4 Global.
In June 2013, John Ragsdale and Andrew Haas, Programme Development Director and Unreached People Group Director of TWR-Africa, visited Radio ELWA in Jos, Nigeria. The purpose of this visit was to meet with management and staff to review current projects, specifically the OneStory Kanuri-Yerwa and OneStory Fulfulde-Kano projects.
Upon arrival they met with the new ECWA President and ECWA General Secretary to give greetings from TWR-Africa. Both leaders expressed thankfulness to TWR for the cooperative and collaborative ministry over the years and expressed their eagerness to continue in joint ministry. The remainder of the week was spent with Rev. Peter Salawu and the Radio ELWA staff talking through the projects discussed below.
We never realised or understood the extent of the challenges the OneStory Kanuri Yerwa project faced over time. In years past, the producer's equipment has been stolen, he has been beaten and even his home was burnt down. The village where he used to test stories is no longer accessible to him. Because of security reasons he cannot even venture to the areas where the Kanuri Yerwa people live. The missionaries who used to work in the northeast part of Nigeria (Kanuri Yerwa areas) have been forced to leave due to the increased activity of the Boko Haram terrorist groups, therefore access to these areas for testing the stories is completely closed. The producer, Adam2, was able to travel to the US earlier this year to work with Tim Hunter, who is the Wycliffe language consultant to this project. Tim was able to further assist with the story sets and getting final approval on 15 stories that are now ready to be recorded and packaged into the radio programmes for broadcast in West Africa.
The Fulfulde-Kano OneStory project has been idle since the tragic death of Saleh Abdoulahi due to a road accident in January 2011. On 9 June, John and Andrew met with the president of T4 Global Ed Weaver, J.R. Whitby (T4 Global VP, Program Management), Olumide (T4 Global Director for Nigeria), Peter (Radio ELWA) and Hassan (Wycliffe Fulani Program Manager). This meeting resulted in a consensus that the 60 Fulfulde-Kano stories developed by T4 Global should be packaged for radio, thus making it possible to reach speakers of this dialect with a much larger set of stories than originally envisioned.
While Andrew will start the process of getting the needed administration done, Radio ELWA will send test episode(s) to Andrew in Johannesburg, South Africa, for evaluation. Both of these story sets are being prepared to go on to the West Africa transmitter before the close of 2013.
Another outcome of this visit was to establish a working partnership with Radio ELWA, T4 Global and Wycliffe to help bring about better content development for UPG and Muslim audiences in Nigeria. It was agreed that closer collaboration on other Bible story set development for UPG ministry is needed and welcomed.
Andrew's dream since 2001 for an online community sharing media content can advance. T4 Global has produced content in 40 languages with each language having roughly 10 hours of produced content. For Africa they have the following content: Kenya (one), Nigeria (nine), South Sudan (one), and Sudan (three). T4 is presently launching a new six-language project in South Sudan.
2 Name changed for security reasons