The Power of Radio: Who is behind these Voices?

Dianova uses radio to help in the reconstruction of identity and to promote positive behaviours among the patients treated in its centres

Who is behind these voices?

Despite the rise in social media and the emergence of the digital age, radio still remains a powerful communication tool and the world’s most widely used medium – design by Ana Benet, all rights reserved

By Ana Benet – To commemorate World Radio Day, on February 13, Dianova would like to showcase some of its members’ practices in which the objective is to promote the active participation of their beneficiaries.

Dianova’s Radio Experiences

Implementing innovative methods of social reintegration and empowerment is one of the goals of the Dianova network member organizations. For example, RIO, a Norwegian users’ association in the field of alcohol and drugs – associate member of Dianova International – implemented in 2020 a podcast called the RIO-Pod. To date, six episodes have been produced with guests from the world of politics, the police, representatives of minority communities and experts in the field of addiction science.

In Togo, the Reflection Group of Friends for Human Development (or GRADH by its French acronym), also an associate member, uses radio to work toward its goal to better educate people on the need to have good hygiene practices and avoid the spread of communicable diseases.

Kenneth Arctander

Kenneth Arctander, Director General of RIO, a Norwegian users’ association in the field of alcohol and drugs – photo: RIO, licence: CC

A tool for interaction in Dianova Uruguay

The team of Dianova Uruguay’s San José “Chanaes” centre carries out a workshop in which radio is used as a basic interaction tool.

The radio workshop facilitates the relationships between people and, according to the therapeutic team, this improved relationship enables residents to make better progress while in treatment.

The Dianova Uruguay Foundation works to prevent substance use disorders and to help people with drug-related problems achieve successful recovery. The Foundation develops various services including, among others, a support program for residents’ families, a specialized programme for the youth, as well as outpatient treatment and relapse prevention services and activities.

Addressing social stigma in Chanaes

The Chanaes centre is a residential public centre managed by the Dianova Uruguay Foundation, in coordination with the National Drug Network (RENADRO). The centre specializes in the reception of men between 15 and 29 years of age with dual pathology, i.e. the coexistence of psychiatric and substance use disorders.

Dianova Uruguay’s radio workshop helps to address the social stigma experienced by people living with substance use disorders, especially when they have other mental disorders. Residents can express their ideas, opinions and emotions through a medium that stimulates freedom of expression, while offering – in the words of the United Nations – “the experience of society in diversity, and the perfect medium for all voices to express themselves freely, to feel represented and to be heard”.

The world’s most widely consumed medium

Despite the rise in social media and the emergence of the digital age, radio still remains a powerful communication tools and the world’s most widely used medium. In addition, it has always proven to easily adapt to crisis situations. Throughout history, radio has played a leading role because it is the most universal and accessible medium. In the current COVID-19 crisis, radio has once again emerged as an essential tool for organising solidarity actions around the world to disseminate information and raise awareness about the pandemic.

Radio workshop in Chanaes Centre

By remaining anonymous, participants can share their experience and give their opinions more easily without fear of being judged- photo: Dianova Uruguay, licence CC

Connecting with oneself

The radio workshop at the Chanaes centre offers residents the opportunity to connect with themselves. It is a space where participants can anonymously make their voices heard and connect with society and each other.


lastly, the radio also serves as a tool for self-determination, as it indirectly helps users to reconnect with themselves and thus to believe in themselves again.

As Fabrizio Glisenti, General Director of the Dianova Uruguay Foundation, tells us: “The objective of the workshop is not to disseminate the content of Dianova’s programmes, but to find a space where our patients can have a voice and express their ideas”.

Getting to know each other without knowing each other

Radio creates a unique situation where transmitter and receiver can get to know each other without knowing one another, only because this medium works on the basis of a reality shaped by the participants. A reality in which stories, joys, adventures, etc. can be created from scratch and transmitted and loved. Can such a medium survive in the digital age? We don’t know. In any case, it makes it possible to build a new paradigm that contributes to bridging the gap between people with substance use disorders and society in general.