Online Dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani, on Her Recent Book: “Do You Hear the Sound of Hope?: Starting a Children’s Radio Program in Rwanda”

On September 12, Satsuki-kai America and Friends of UTokyo (FUTI) hosted an online dialogue with Ms. Akiko Sakaedani, formerly with UNICEF’s Rwanda Office. She has recently published a book titled “Do you hear the sound of hope?” which discusses how she started Rwanda’s first radio program for children.

The event was attended by about 20 participants. More than a half of them were UTokyo undergraduate or graduate students. Active exchange of Q&A followed the talk. Questions included: “Reasons for becoming interested in a UN career”, “Managing family life in the context of an international career”, and “Necessary mind-set for starting a program like Ms. Sakaedani’s radio program in Rwanda”. The event concluded with a standing ovation with the attendees asking Ms. Sakaedani to come back for another talk.


Rwanda is a beautiful country with thousands of green hills. Many families in the villages do not own a TV, and radio is the main media. Back in 2013, there was no radio program for small children, however. It was all about news, sports, and pop songs. As a believer in Early Childhood Development, Akiko decided to create the first children’s radio program in Rwanda.


Akiko Sakaedani Petrovic is an international development worker with 16 years of experience in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. She mostly works in the areas of health communication, partnership and donor relations. She was the co-director of the Egypt Japan Education Partnership in 2019-2020, and currently works at the UNICEF Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa to coordinate the communication response to COVID-19. Based on her experience in Rwanda from 2013-2018, she published a book in June 2020 from Chobunsha publishing company titled Kibo Kikoeru (Do you hear the sound of hope?).

She was born in Tokyo, and graduated from the University of Tokyo in 2001, majoring in anthropology. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Intercultural Communication, and Master of Science in Public Health. She is married and has a son.

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