Ears To Our World (ETOW) is a 501(c)(3) grass-roots, nonprofit organization that specializes in the distribution of self-powered world band radios to schools and communities in our developing world. We’ve now expanded our mission to include radios for disaster relief and for children who are visually impaired.
Our radio receivers enable children and their support networks in the most remote, impoverished areas of the world to receive: educational programming, local and international news, emergency information, health information, weather, as well as music and arts programming.
UNESCO features ETOW on World Radio Day
UNESCO asked ETOW founder and director, Thomas Witherspoon, to speak to the relevance of radio in honor of World Radio Day. Here’s his contribution:
In its continuing effort to improve the lives of children and their support networks in the developing world, Ears To Our World recently donated thirty world band radios to a human rights program jointly run by the African Community Internship Placement Programme (ACIPP) West Africa and the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law-Sierra Leone (CARL-SL). The radios are part of a proposed project that will use short messaging service (SMS) to generate data for human rights monitoring in Sierra Leone.
In a donation ceremony at the National Museum in Freetown, Ibrahim Tommy, CARL’s executive director, explained that CARL and ACIPP West Africa are working together on a new technology-focused approach to human rights efforts. He said that the self-powered ETOW radios would contribute to the success of their Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established to promote transparency and accountability in local councils, as well as to other current and future undertakings.
CARL-SL will distribute the radios in 15 communities across the country, where the organization’s locally based monitors work to promote human rights through combatting sexual and gender-based violence, and enhancing accountability and transparency in local government. The trained recipients will use the radios to tune various community radio stations and share the information learned with their communities, telling inhabitants about daily happenings in the country, and covering issues relating to human rights, domestic violence, good governance, transparency, and accountability, thereby empowering people through information dissemination.
As an added benefit, Tommy pointed out that the radios offer a reduced burden for remote communities because they do not require a battery, and also offer mobile phone charging and flashlight capability. “In a country where electricity still remains a major challenge, particularly in rural communities, it is exciting to think of the ways these radios would enhance access to information in the communities we work,” Tommy said.
Referring to the ETOW radios, ACIPP’s Executive Director Simon Tsike-Sossah added, “There is so much power in information, and I am extremely delighted for the potential beneficiaries of this donation.”
ACIPP is a Netherlands-based organization whose mission is to foster exchange and community engagement between youth worldwide in order to enhance West Africa’s building capacities and capabilities.
CARL-SL is an independent, not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote a just society for all persons in Sierra Leone through monitoring institutions of accountability, outreach, and advocacy for institutional transparency, capacity building, and empowerment of citizens, all goals that ETOW likewise supports.