Workshop to improve capacity and abilities of community radio journalists for better quality radio productions

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Since the pro-democracy uprisings of the '90s ushered in the liberalization of the media landscape in Africa, community radio has quickly moved to establish itself as a tool of choice for poor and marginalized communities to fight poverty in Africa. In Senegal, URAC, an association of 73 community radios is bringing climate advisories to some 2 million farmers in their local dialect in all 14 regions of the country. This has allowed farmers to adjust their planting to accurate weather forecast, saving them from the heavy losses of the past when shifting weather patterns caused millet farmers to lose their entire crop every couple of years due to early cessation of rain. In Cape Verde, Radio Vos di Santa Kruz and Radio Comunitária de Promoção das Mulheres were involved in drawing up a participatory budget for the municipalities of Santa Cruz and Paúl, redirecting critical resources to historically marginalized communities, and providing other communities a lesson in real world application of participatory democracy. In Niger, Bankilare Radio is one of the 97 community radios involved in the initiative “Community radio at the service of Development” which is the main vehicle for development communication with most of the country’s population—which happens to be the rural poor. Thanks to the initiative “Radio Platform for Community Development Project (RPCD)”, radio listeners club in Mozambique spearheaded radio programs that compelled mining companies to compensate locals whose land they had appropriated for the mining, and the corrupt officials involved fired. These are only a few examples of development using radio. 

Although community radio is recognized by communications for development (ComDev) practitioners as the champion for poor communities in their fight against poverty, huge swaths of poor and rural communities across Africa are still to get access to this low cost, easy to operate and well adapted ComDev resource.

In a 2014 regional virtual consultation organized by YenKasa, within the framework of a consultative process on communication for development, community media and ICTs for family farming organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), more than 250 participants from 20 African countries, most of them community radio organizers, highlighted the need for more regional coordination and networking to improve knowledge exchange and efficient resource sharing amongst ComDev practitioners. The participants also recommended the need to move the dialogue started by the online consultation to people on the ground in Africa, with particular attention to participatory research and a bottom up approach to policy design, implementation, monitoring and management.

It is in this backdrop that AMARC is organizing a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on Communication for Development (ComDev) and Interactive online tools. With the goal of capacity building on ameliorating radio production quality in Community Radios through the social and physical technologies being deployed already to great effect by some poor and marginal communities in their fight against poverty. This process has already begun at some local and country level initiatives. For example, in Mali, the purposeful expansion of listeners clubs to their entire community by Radio Bèlèkan for regular feedback and community generated content. In Ghana, the offering of technical training to local community radio stations by Ghana Community Radio Network (GCRN) answers a need expressed by many community radio stations in Africa. Moreover, GCRN’s training policy mandates that at least half of the delegation of each participating station to their trainings be women, advancing a cultural transformation with significant long-term enrichment of the concerned communities. On social technologies, community radio organizers in Mali enshrined community participation in community radio by lobbying for the law on community radio to include a provision requesting community radio station to have general assembly meetings.

  1. CONCEPT

To maximize its effects and foster cross fertilization processes this workshop is being organized in Tunis from March 24 to 25, 2015, to coincide with the Fourth World Forum of Free Media (WFFM) and the World Social Forum (WSF) that is will be bringing close to a hundred thousand organizer from around the world to Tunis for the week of March 22 to 28.

In this two day intensive hands-on Training-of-Trainers workshop with Representatives of African national networks on community radio and Internet Communication Technologies (ICTs) and AMARC’s facilitator and coordinator of the YenKasa platform, we look to enhance community media capacity building and to network with organizers, activists and community radio makers from around the globe who will be in Tunis for the forum.

 

    1. Frame of reference:

Project objectives

  • To improve capacities and abilities of CR journalists for better quality radio production

  • increase pertinence of local programming for local audience by:

 

a) Increased participation in radio programs of citizens, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations

b) Embedding Knowledge sharing mechanisms in participating community radios to increase their social sustainability.

    1. Specific objective:

  • Increase capacities of CR on specific challenging topics like ComDev, food security, climate change adaptation and others.

  • Skills development in interactive radio formats such a hosting open-line discussions, technical convergence (mobile telephony and traditional radio),virtual consultations in order to increase citizen, NGOs and civil society in radio programming

The trainees from the workshop will in turn run similar Training-of-Trainers workshop at the sub-regional and national levels and their trainees will do same, with the above frame of reference and specific objective. Every iteration building on local experiences and the exchange of information from other communities, ComDev practitioners, and research institutions; information of which YenKasa is syndicating in one place for easy access.

 

  1. STRUCTURE

The workshop is modeled to embed the principles of participatory organizing, whose role as the foundation for sustainable community radio development is often overshadowed by the more touchable equipment.

OUTLINE

  • Prior to the workshop a draft of the workshop plan will be shared with the Representatives of the African national networks on community radio and Internet Communication Technologies (ICTs), and other potential participants for feedback and revisions.

  • The resources of the workshop, will be group managed i.e. participatory management.

 

DRAFT AGENDA

Tuesday March 24

Morning Session: Introduction to ComDev principles and empowerment of CR in the field of food security (Vanessa Vertiz, OEKR, FAO (to be confirmed))

  • Introduction to ComDev and FAO’s ComDev work: principles and main methodologies/tools

  • Current projects and initiatives (particularly in Africa, SO5/SO3/SO2) -  Main OPCA topics: Resilience, family farming, Voluntary guidelines in land tenure

  • Good practices in radio: Rural radio / FAO – AMARC initiative (regional platforms/ IYFF campaign / FCCM, etc.)

  • Introduction of YenKasa: stakeholders platform. How to get involved and participate?

 

Lunch break

Afternoon Session: New ICT tools to improve capacities and abilities of CR journalists for better quality radio production and to increase participation in radio programs of citizens, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (Valentine Eben, AMARC, YenKasa Platform)

  • Introduction to the concept of social Technologies and Infrastructure Development

  • Social infrastructure Development i.e. Networking, solidarity and resource mobilization for community radio.

  • Connecting listeners and experts: On line virtual consultations, combining multiple technologies: on line, cell phones, traditional radio

  • Mass SMS tools for reminders of upcoming shows, text updates and input solicitation

  • Combining info sources to improve community radio (YenKasa, farmradio, freemusicarchive.org, archive.org).

 

Wednesday March 25

Morning Session: Follow up new ICT tools to improve capacities and abilities of CR journalists for better quality radio production and to increase participation in radio programs of citizens, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (Valentine Eben, AMARC, YenKasa Platform)

  • Collecting information and distributing information about food security: the role of YenKasa platform and interaction with traditional radio.

  • Live Call-in and feedback message box

  • Call out to connect radio to experts and the community.

  • Interactive voice response (IVR) to redirect important radio content to mobile phones.

  • Call-back servers for connecting listens to stations at no cost, and for use by radios for free interviewer phone calls.

  • Mesh network (internet in a box) and for extending internet services wirelessly.

  • Freedom Fone

 

Lunch break

Afternoon Session: Other experiences and tools in use to improve capacities of CR journalists and increase participation. The case of Radio Farm International (To be confirmed)

Q&A session Evaluation and closing plenary