Projects in Sudan

Radio Dabanga





Overall objective

Radio Dabanga aims to promote, enhance and restore basic fundamental rights of freedom of expression and thought, stimulate an interactive communication, and enhance access to unbiased, independent news and information of in Sudan, allowing Sudanese people to make informed decisions about their development and that of their own country. The audience is engaged in discussions about the future of their country through different Dabanga platforms. Reporting of Dabanga contributes to the soft-protection of Sudanese through visibility of human rights violations.

Achieved results

2017 was the 9th year of broadcasting for Radio Dabanga. Due to the total lack of press freedom within Sudan, the central desk is based in the Netherlands and receives news via telephone calls and social media from both sources and many, many listeners in Sudan.


  • Every day, 2.3 million people in war zones and rural areas listen to shortwave broadcasts.
  • Every day, 1.5 hours of shortwave broadcast was produced with on a weekly basis 13 different programmes, including news, a discussion programme and a social media programme.
  • Every week, 1.5 million people in urban areas watched Radio Dabanga TV with slides on satellite tv.
  • Every month, the website was visited 120,483 times by around 47,625 unique visitors.
  • Radio Dabanga’s Arabic Facebook page has 196,940 fans (about 70,000 organic increase since end 2016) and at the end of 2017 its reach was 1,206,381.
  • On Whatsapp, Radio Dabanga shared a daily news update to 118 groups, reaching more than 133,000 people.
  • On Whatsapp, Radio Dabanga received around 1,000 messages and 100 telephone calls per day, including on average 100 news tip-offs.

With an eye to a sustainable future, staff are being trained in organizational management-oriented skills that will be necessary for the sustainability of Radio Dabanga and the transition towards an independent organization.

In 2017, further capacity building included English lessons (for Arabic speakers) and Arabic lessons (for English speakers), training on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and an online research journalism training by Bellingcat.
In partnership with University College Maastricht (UCM) a one month Think Tank was organized to research the possibilities for Radio Dabanga to have a better outreach and secure micro-funding. This Think Tank was followed by an Applied Research in which two students further designed ideas around an online crowdfunding campaign and an off-line run-a-thon event, which they carried out.

In order to facilitate effective processing of the extremely high numbers of messages received via WhatsApp, Radio Dabanga started looking for a tech solution that could help automate filtering and responding to messages. A so-called chatbot could be such solution. In February 2017, Radio Dabanga won a technical price in the Hackathon for Humanitarian Aid. Together with the “Center for Innovation” of the University of Leiden, an audience engagement strategy and pilot software solution (chatbot) were developed that in 2018 will be tested extensively by the newsroom. Radio Dabanga plans to continue its collaboration with the Center for Innovation in 2018.