It is estimated that two million people listen to Namirembe FM in the central region of Uganda. For the past four years BUILD has been capitalising on that with a programme that spreads biblical teaching and encouragement to leaders and people alike. We caught up with Stephen Kewaza who presents that programme in order to find out more…
BUILD Partners: How long has the show been running?
Stephen Kewaza: We began the 93.9 Namirembe FM programme in 2012. It runs from 8.30 to 9.00 p.m. every Sunday, and is advertised by the producer throughout the day.
BP: Can you tell us about a typical programme?
SK: A typical programme presents a unit of teaching and then hosts discussion around it – so there is a three minute introduction, a seventeen minute presentation and ten minutes of callers’ questions and our answers.
BP: Why do you feel it is important to give time to this?
SK: It gives us an opportunity to reach out to many listeners in the central, Buganda, region. But we have also had callers from as far as Kasese [in the west] calling in to say, “you are reaching us!” And we have also heard from people in Hoima and Masindi [in the north-west], as well as some in Busoga, Mbale and even as far as Busia [in the east by the border with Kenya]. Because our show is in the setting of a Christian, Church of Uganda programme, they are expecting biblical encouragement, so it attracts listeners who already have an appetite for BUILD learning and who want to grow.
BP: How do you adapt the training for the radio?
SK: We simplify it for the beneficiaries – when handling a text of Scripture we make sure that we go into application. We regularly use BUILD’s seven-steps for understanding, applying and teaching the Bible, and many of our listeners now understand those well. We want to move all the way from text to teaching. We discuss Bible words on air, summarise the meaning of passages, and we ask and answer questions such as: ‘How should we preach this passage?’ or ‘How does this speak to you who are listening?’
BP: What is the impact of this?
SK: Respondents call to say things like this: “I have been refreshed in a new way” (Wilberforce from Mityana called to encourage us), and they share how they now see biblical passages in a new light. Someone shared that they never realised they could preach from the Song of Songs and how it has helped them. And it is not just church leaders: teachers call in, including a headmaster who is in touch with us. Some call in repeatedly.
BP: Why does radio remain so important?
SK: It is so easy to reach people through the radio – it is low cost and finds people where they are, it takes training to them for free, they do not need to move anywhere or meet anyone as we are spreading the gospel on air.
BP: Thank you for sharing with us.