Sony Estéus empowers rural leaders through community radio
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Sony Estéus is the executive director of SAKS (Sosyete animasyon kominikasyon sosyal), an organization dedicated to empowering Haiti’s rural communities through local news and social programming.
SAKS, which Estéus co-founded 19 years ago, has helped more than 25 rural and grassroots organizations create radio stations in communities where no local news outlet previously had existed.
In an exclusive interview with Infosurhoy.com, Estéus talks about the success of his organization and the challenges of journalism and freedom of the press in the ravaged nation.
Infosurhoy.com: What is SAKS’s mission?
Estéus: We’re working with organizations to establish community radio stations in the rural areas and the small cities. The organization sends a request for our help, to put a radio station in their community. Next, we visit the organization and begin a conversation to determine its viability, whether the organization has the capacity to start such a venture.
Infosurhoy.com: Just last week, one of your radio stations opened in the rural town of Cap Rouge. What does a new medium mean for that community?
Estéus: This is the first and only radio station for that community. They wanted information about their own community, the region, and they wanted to educate citizens about human rights, women’s rights, techniques to help farmers with agriculture. They’ve never had those things, or else they’ve had them between small groups or organizations, but not on a wide scale.