June 27th, 2011

Abuja Town Hall/Announcement on VOA Africa Health Network

Posted by Joan Mower:

Dana Perino gave the keynote speech at a Town Hall meeting on “The Role of International Broadcasters in Supporting Health Development in Nigeria” in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton. The Town Hall was a joint project between VOA and Radio France Internationale (RFI), and the two organizations pledged to work together on training and improving access to health care across the country. Perino announced that VOA is in the process of creating an Africa Health Network, which will leverage all the health information from VOA Africa Services and ensure that health coverage is deeper across the continent. Maternal health is a key issue, she said.

The group then went to the French Ambassador’s residence where they discussed cooperation between the entities.

Later, the group met with Nigeria’s Vice President Namadi Sambo, who said he was a big fan of VOA’s and listened every day to the Hausa Service. He also said that his wife and he were very interested in seeing education improved in Nigeria. Sambo said he took many of his first lessons from a Peace Corps volunteer and has had a fondness for the United States ever since. He also pledged to look into ways of getting more broadcasting for the VOA on FM.

U.S. Ambassador Terence McCulley hosted a reception for the governors. He gave his strong support to VOA – and particularly to health reporting.

VOA and RFI also hosted a workshop for reporters on how to use social media to cover health subjects more comprehensively.

June 27th, 2011

"If you have a healthy Mom, the chances are you are going to have healthier children and and more development."

- Dana Perino, in Abuja, Nigeria, announcing VOA’s new Africa Health Broadcasting Network

June 27th, 2011


Kids at Abuja wanted bikes. @michaelpmeehan and I in car saw bikes for sale. Now negotiating. #usib http://yfrog.com/kiaqytvj


4 bikes, a dangerous u-turn, and a crowded vehicle, @michaelpmeehan and I on way to deliver! #usib http://yfrog.com/kjrcqzj

June 27th, 2011

Abuja Children’s Home

Posted by Joan Mower

On Sunday, the governors flew to the capital of Nigera, Abuja. The city has broad streets and there is a lot of construction underway. It is a planned city and became the capital about 20 years ago, in December 1991. First thing, Governors Perino and McCue visited an orphanage — the Abuja Children’s Home.

Their visit is in keeping with the theme of today’s Town Hall on how the media can help health and development in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. The orphanage, which is supported by NGOs and Churches, has 40 children between the ages of 2 month and 20 years. The U.S. Embassy gave the playground equipment to the orphanage and the Rotary Club dedicated one of the hostel.

BBG Governor Dana Perino at the Abuja Children’s Home.

BBG Governor Susan McCue with residents of the Abuja Children’s Home.

Sunday night, the BBG met with VOA affiliates and others who came to Abuja to discuss ways to provide more news, information, features to the Nigeria people.

June 25th, 2011

Busy Day in Juba

Governors had a jam-packed day on Friday in Juba. After breakfast with the VOA stringers, the BBG Governors met with medical students at the University of Juba. Most of the students are suffering because the university is not open, they often don’t have any housing and they don’t have enough food. Even so, Dr. Thomas Burke of Massachusetts General Hospital said the students were as dedicated and motivated as any he had seen the world. Dr. Burke is working with American med students to train the Sudanese. Doctors are desperately needed in Sudan where there are only 20 doctors for nearly 9 million people.
Board Members mingled with the students at the Juba Episcopal Diocesan Model Secondary School. Some students wanted to be doctors and pilots but few of them wanted to become teachers. That’s because teachers are frequently not paid in Sudan.

The Board Members met with the Minister of Information Baraha Marcial Benjamin to discuss the cooperation between South Sudan and the VOA/BBG in the future when the country gains independence.

 The Town Hall meeting was a huge success. Benjamin talked about the “wonderful relationship with VOA,”

More to come…

Joan Mower

June 24th, 2011

Town Hall Press Conference - & Raffle!

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green:

After several hours of lively, informative discussion, the meeting concluded with a press conference by Susan McCue, Dana Perino & Michael Meehan, and a VOA raffle. Here I am with Marvis Birungi, VOA Juba bureau reporter (wearing the VOA t-shirt) and one of the lucky winners! Prizes were self-powered Dynamo radios. It was a long, but very rewarding day.

June 24th, 2011

"South Sudan Independence: The Way Forward"

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green:

Today was our Town Hall meeting on South Sudan’s coming independence, held at the Juba Grand Hotel. A high-level panel included a government official, business representative, civil society activist, and ambassador from the African Union.  Three members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors made opening remarks touching on issues of democracy and media rights. Great insight & perspectives from the panel and audience!

Left to right:
Ngor Ayuel (South Sudan Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin (Minister of Information), Lorna Merekaje (Sudan Domestic Election Monitoring & Observation Programme), Nakaha Stanislas (African Union Liaison Officer in Southern Sudan)

Board governors Susan McCue, Dana Perino & Michael Meehan made opening remarks - notice the slogan of our VOA program Sudan in Focus: “We ask the questions, You get the answers.” Here Sudan in Focus co-host John Tanza asks his question, followed by a young audience member.

June 24th, 2011

Ambassadorial Support

Posted by Joan Mower:

Dana Perino with Ambassador Barrie Walkley, U.S. Consul General in Juba. After briefing our team, Walkley expressed his gratitude that our group had come to Juba.

June 24th, 2011

Visiting a School in Juba

Posted by Dana Perino:

We stopped by Juba Diocesan school - it was behind our hotel. We popped our heads into a few classes and met some students. Anna was quite outgoing and precocious - she’s a natural born leader with a terrific smile. She grew up in Uganda and is in her final year of secondary school. She hopes to go to university in London.

June 24th, 2011

At the University of Juba

Posted by Joan Mower:

Susan McCue and Dana Perino at the University of Juba, where students are not in session because teachers have not yet returned to South Sudan.

Michael Meehan in front of the university’s Clock Tower, at the center of the campus. The university has a recycling center ready & waiting for the school population to return.

For more on the University of Juba, check this VOA story from earlier this year - Juba University Struggles to Build Capacity for Southern Sudan’s Reconstruction.


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