On Wednesdays in Rwanda, just before sundown, the radios come to life. Farmers lay down their tools to gather under shade trees, fan clubs take their usual seats in the bars, and a hush settles over prison courtyards.

Each week, an estimated 85 percent of radio listeners in Rwanda tune their radio dials to the soap opera Musekeweya (New Dawn). Using a Romeo and Juliet plot to symbolize Hutus and Tutsis, the program teaches listeners how to prevent ethnic violence, embrace reconciliation, and...

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