It's been 5 years since I last visited the Dadaab refugee camps, in the remote desert region of north-eastern Kenya, to report on the influx of new arrivals fleeing from yet another cycle of violence and conflict in southern Somalia. Already then the camps were home to 180,000+ refugees and were struggling to accommodate the growing numbers still crossing the porous border on foot in search of asylum and better livelihoods.
Despite huge advances in new communication technologies and the widening reach of the internet, few mediums have survived the tectonic shifts in current media landscapes the way radio has. Not only has radio remained culturally significant in the developed world, it continues to transform the way information is shared with remote and marginalised communities on the other side of the digital divide.
This is why, on the 13th of February, we celebrate for the first time World Radio Day.
There is a slight inaccuracy in the name "Somalia Speaks" given to the Al-Jazeera initiative that is collecting and publishing unheard "voices" from inside Somalia. Mainly, that there is nothing "spoken" about it. In other words, the project is unilaterally dependant on respondents sending SMS text messages.