Broadcasting Condoms, Courtesy of Canadian Catholic Money

In late September, Socon or Bust exposed a partner of Development and Peace (D&P) in Sierra Leone called Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD). NMJD was heavily involved in distributing and promoting the use of condoms. Today we bring you a related partner working in the same line of business in Sierra Leone. This is partner #52 in our list of anti-life, anti-Catholic organizations being funded by Development and Peace (D&P).

#52: Eastern Radio FM 101.9

Today’s partner is called Eastern Radio FM 101.9. That’s right folks, D&P is funding a radio station in Sierra Leone.

So let’s start with a basic existential question: why the heck is D&P funding a radio station? After all, when you think of “social justice” you’re more likely to conjure memories of Mother Teresa than of a radio DJ. I wonder how many Canadian bishops are aware that D&P funds a radio station?

Of all the things you could do in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world (life expectancy is barely over 40 years old or about half of Canada’s), it strikes me that a radio station is pretty far removed from the most pressing needs of the locals. Granted, this is not your typical FM station that gives you hip-hop, the Top 40 Countdown and Casey Kasem’s Long Distance Dedication. Eastern Radio is focused on “education” and “awareness.” But still, I can think of better ways to use those precious donation dollars. 

As we investigated Eastern Radio, we discovered that it was founded by NMJD. What’s more, the Chairman of the Board of Eastern Radio is Mr. Abu Brima, the Executive Director of NMJD. They also appear to share some office space. Clearly, these two organizations are joined at the hip. This alone would be sufficient to raise suspicion, which is why we took a closer look.

As you can imagine, it’s not easy to find evidence about an African radio station because their signal doesn’t reach Canada, they don’t have a website and they don’t stream their signal online. But we nevertheless found evidence that Eastern Radio promotes condom use on it airwaves, likely as part of their “education” mandate.

If you click on this link (backup here) you can read a newsletter published by CARE International in Sierra Leone dating to March 2009. On page 2, the newsletter relates the story of Ramata Sheku, a 21 year old woman in Sierra Leone who learned about CARE International’s condom programs by listening to Eastern Radio.  A brief excerpt is provided below to give you the gist:

Ramata Sheku, 21, lives in Koidu town, the headquarters of Kono District in the eastern part of Sierra Leone. She heard about CARE’s HIV and AIDS work in that district from one of her friends and also on the Eastern Radio. One of the many project activities supported by CARE’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme (HAPP) in Kono District is Peer Education programme. This Peer Education aims at contributing to the achievement of the overall national goal to improve sexual reproductive health and HIV outcomes in Sierra Leone.
(…)
“At first I never believed HIV and AIDS had been existing until the training, which made me realize that HIV or AIDS was real. I had the courage to do my HIV test because of the knowledge I gained during that training and my status was negative. Now I use condoms to protect myself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Thanks to CARE International in Sierra Leone for its HIV/AIDS prevention programme,” she concludes. (Source, on page 2. Backup link here)

So Eastern Radio broadcasts programming that encourages people to use condoms. This confirms our suspicions that the close relationship between Eastern Radio and NMJD has tangible impacts on the radio station’s programming in a manner that is not consistent with Catholic teaching. D&P should not be funding this group. By the way, Eastern Radio boasts of a listening audience 1.5 million people, which gives you an idea of how much damage they can do.

But it gets worse.

Founding partner

D&P is not merely a source of funding for Eastern Radio. They were a founding partner along with NMJD:

The Eastern Radio project was conceived and supported by NMJD with funds from the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P), Bread for the World in Germany and MIVA in The Netherlands. (Source, backup link here).

D&P seems to admit as much on their own website (backup here) where they list the fact that “Eastern Radio began broadcasting” as one of their “Development Results” in Sierra Leone.

As far as I know, this is the first time that we’ve been able to establish that D&P actually helped to create an organization that violates Church teaching. They didn’t just “partner” with an existing group that was already corrupting local morals. No, they added to the corruption by helping create a new problem child.

The burning question then becomes: Did they create this radio station in full knowledge that it would broadcast programming about condoms? We’ll never know for sure. We do know that Eastern Radio started broadcasting in 2005 when it was abundantly clear that the main founder, NMJD, was already pushing condoms big time. If D&P did any background check at all, it would have been next to impossible for them to not know about NMJD’s condom exploits.

Once again, Socon or Bust calls on faithful Catholics to continue boycotting D&P.

We also call upon the bishops of Canada to implement a complete overhaul of D&P at their Plenary Assembly tomorrow.

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