Ireland’s first ethnic minority interest and multilingual community radio station based in Galway is now broadcasting in 11 languages.
The Galway Online Community radio, GOCOM, aimed to promote diversity and inclusiveness was founded last year in Galway as an extension of the Amdalah Africa Foundation (AMDAF), a foundation created in 2019 to support and empower women of African descent and their families.
The radio station, which started in the English language, was launched with the support of Galway City Council, Galway City Partnership, and the vision of the people of AMDAF. It’s now broadcasting in English, Irish, Rwanda, Igbo, German, Yoruba, Mongolian, Urdu, Idoma, Zulu, and Arabic.
Islammiyah Saudique-Kadejo, one of the directors of AMDAF and the CEO of GOCOM radio, uses her knowledge acquired from her first-class degree in Mass Communication to ensure the smooth running of the radio station and preserve the main vision of the community radio.
“The push [for creating GOCOM] was because we identified a problem. And the problem was the under-representation of ethnic minorities in Irish media and the non-existence of other languages in Irish mainstream media apart from the English language. This is a social problem, everyone has to be represented, everyone is affected, or impacted with policies. Representation is key, inclusion is key,” said Ms Saudique-Kadejo.
Ms Saudique-Kadejo, who is a Nigerian-born social justice advocate and cultural conservationist, said said the radio station is reflecting an increasingly multicultural and multilingual society.
“When we want to communicate with someone, not just talking, you need to communicate in the language they understand. That is why we are bringing in different languages,” she said.
When the radio station first started last year during the Covid pandemic, it was used to pass on information from the HSE to minority groups in different languages.
Now, the online community radio facilitates different organisations in Galway that offer specific services for ethnic minorities by giving them “a place to come and get their message across.
“We can be a voice for them [minorities], regarding their needs, their projects, their interests, showcasing their skills. There are lots of brilliant people among ethnic minorities and marginalised groups that will not be celebrated in the mainstream media,” Ms Saudique-Kadejo stated.
“In five years’ time, I see a full-fledged FM station. I see solutions to representation. I see people like me people being seen, being taken seriously, and being celebrated. Not just on community radio, but everywhere because we all deserve it,” said Ms Saudique-Kadejo.
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