Angola is a country at war - no longer the civil war that lasted almost three decades but a war against the spread of HIV/AIDS. TWR plans to produce programmes that aim to educate the Ovimbundu people about the spread of the virus and to create a forum for discussion among listeners.
The Ovimbundu number about 4 million, almost 40% of Angola's total population of 13 million. Angola's HIV/AIDS statistics are alarming: 6% of the population is infected, 2.8% of pregnant women and 33% of prostitutes in Luanda have the disease. Esperança Hospital, the country's main HIV treatment centre, reports that 30 out of 100 people test positive each day. By 2010, there will be an estimated 331,000 AIDS orphans.
More than 90% of Angolans live below the poverty line. Many live in remote areas because of the war and the threat from remaining landmines so it is difficult for government authorities and health ministries to reach all the villages to inform people about HIV/AIDS. It is also hard for pastors and missionaries to reach them with the gospel.
TWR can reach these people with educational and evangelical messages through the radio. The programmes will address issues related to HIV/AIDS while at the same time mobilizing the community and its leaders in methods of prevention. This will contribute to the UN's sixth Millennium Development Goal: to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and specifically to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
The programme, to be produced in the Umbundu language, also aims to overcome stigmatization and change the way that HIV positive people are viewed. It will also teach Christians how they are supposed to deal with the disease. Listeners will be given information that counters misconceptions and wrong beliefs that result in the spread of the disease and will be encouraged not only to get tested for the virus, but most importantly, change their sexual behaviour.
The programme will follow a magazine format and includes music, a testimony from someone in the community, a discussion with a professional on the subject and a listener's corner in which questions are answered. TWR's current programmes cover 85% of the languages spoken in Angola. Producing programmes in local languages gives TWR credibility among listeners who won't see us as an outside interference in the culture.
Please pray that the production of the HIV/AIDS programme will be possible and that those who listen to it will be touched by the message it brings. Pray that not only will attitudes and behaviour change, but that hearts will also respond.
(Sources: BBC News, CIA World Factbook, UNICEF)