Wednesday, 12 August 2009

[creative-radio] MENA The Soul Beat Issue 135: Community Radio for Development


From SOUL BEAT AFRICA - where communication and media are central to
AFRICA's social and economic development

In this issue of The Soul Beat:

* TOOLS to assess and improve the impact of community radio
* POLL on Community Radio and ICTs


This issue of The Soul Beat offers a selection of strategic thinking
documents, evaluations, programme experiences, and resource materials from
the Soul Beat Africa website that highlight the role of radio, and more
specifically community radio, in promoting development in Africa. It looks
at the impact of community radio on development, what is required to
support the community radio sector, and future trends in community radio –
particularly related to the convergence between traditional radio and
information and communication technologies (ICTs).

If you would like your organisation's communication work or research and
resource documents to be featured on the Soul Beat Africa website and in
The Soul Beat newsletters, please contact


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1. Community Radio: Its Impact and Challenges to Its Development
This 2007 working group report from the Center for International Media
Assistance, National Endowment for Democracy, United States (US),
describes results of a meeting on the impact of community radio, as well
as the role and challenges of community radio development within the
larger context of media development. The group discussed creating an
enabling environment for community radio development, issues related to
the sustainability of community radio stations, and appropriate assistance
strategies that donors and implementers should consider, against a
background of first-hand accounts of where and why community radio has
been effective.

2. Documents on Evaluating the Social Impact of Community Radio
Every four years the Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs
Communautaires (AMARC or World Community Radio Association) Africa
organises a Pan-African conference for its members and community radio
stakeholders to discuss the challenges facing community radio in Africa.
As part of the Pan-African conference in 2009, some members participated
in a workshop on measuring the social impact of community radio. A number
of members prepared papers ahead of the conference to share their insights
and experiences in assessing impact. These are made available on the AMARC

3. Community Radio Social Impact Assessment - Removing Barriers,
Increasing Effectiveness
This evaluation report details a long-range participatory action research
process launched in 2006 by AMARC. The research shared in this report was
designed to identify the barriers that limit the potential positive impact
of community radio, and to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of
community radio in achieving poverty reduction, development objectives,
inclusiveness, and democracy building in local communities around the

4. Women's Empowerment and Good Governance through Community Radio: Best
Experiences for an Action Research Process
Published by AMARC in 2008, this book offers a collection of articles
which seek to contribute to the impact of community radio on governance
issues especially related to gender equality and women's rights. The
publication is part of a two-year participatory action research process
seeking to address the challenges to women's participation in democracy
building. It brings together case studies and experiences written by women
practitioners participating in democratic processes through community
radio. Some articles also raise questions regarding the specific
challenges to gender equality within community radio and explore how to
increase women's participation in community radio as a key governance
challenge to the community radio global network.

5. Engaging Development: Environment and Content of Radio Broadcasting in
By Dr. Ayobami Ojebode and Dr. Tunde Adegbola
According to this publication from 2007, Nigeria has developed a
relatively huge radio broadcasting sector. However, critical observers
claim that radio broadcasting has performed below expectations in engaging
issues of development. This paper was commissioned to provide scientific
data which would inform the development of future activities and provide a
picture of the crucial challenges confronting radio broadcasting, as well
as provide recommendations and impetus for further work to advance the
cause of development-oriented radio broadcasting in Nigeria. It argues
that the country needs to re-position the sector, in order for it to
contribute to development.

6. Community Radio in East Africa: An Impact and Sustainability Assessment
of Three Community Radio Within the EACMP
By Birgitte Jallov
This report from 2007 is the result of an impact study commissioned by the
Division for Culture and Media with the Swedish International Development
Agency (Sida). It includes an overview and summary of three separate
impact studies of three radio stations supported by Sida via the East
African Community Media Project (EACMP). The objective of the studies was
to identify the Most Significant Change in the communities served by each
station. The study reports the most significant change to be in
participation involving empowerment and change.

7. Citizen Empowerment for Good Governance through Community Radios in
West Africa
This book, published AMARC Africa in 2008, is a compilation of reports
that seek to increase the social impact of community radio in West Africa.
The book consists of papers by 24 different contributors. The
contributions provide perspectives from a variety of West African
countries related to the state of community radio, national broadcasting
landscapes, legislative frameworks, good governance, and challenges and
constraints in the sector.

8. Communication for Empowerment in Mozambique: An Assessment of
Communication and Media Needs at the Community Level
By Faruco Sadique Ibraimo and Barry Driscoll
This document, published in 2008, is one of 5 national pilot studies to
assess ways to empower vulnerable people who are marginalised by lack of
access to central information flows and who lack the communication
channels necessary to participate in national and local debates and
agenda-setting. Funded by the United Nations Development Fund and
coordinated by the Communication for Social Change Consortium (CFSC), the
study describes the Mozambican context, including the legal and regulatory
environment for communication and media. It suggests that there is a need
for strong, organised support of community radio stations, in particular
the need for a clear and specific legal framework and for support for
wider community radio dissemination.

9. Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media In a Digital Age:
Practitioners' Reflexions from an Interactive Roundtable at the World
Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD)
This publication focuses on democratic and sustainable development in
relation to community media. It discusses participation as the main
interest of those who support or are active in community radio. The
publication contains articles, audio, and video documents by
practitioners, decision makers, and scholars. It argues that current
evidence and experience should prompt a major re-evaluation and increasing
interest in community radio by development policymakers and specialists.
It also suggests that what is needed are strong efforts to create more
enabling policy and regulatory environments for community media.



For more information related to community radio, please visit the
Community Radio Theme site here

On this site you will find programme experiences, strategic thinking
documents, evaluations, and materials that deal with the role of radio,
and community radio in particular, in development.

Every second month, Soul Beat Africa sends out a Soul Beat Extra:
Community Radio e-newsletter which features all the latest community
radio-related summaries posted on the Soul Beat Africa website.

If you would like to receive this free e-publication, please register here and indicate an interest in
radio or media or write to indicating that you would
like to receive the Community Radio Extra.



10. Assessing Community Change: Development of a "Bare Foot" Impact
Assessment Methodology
By Birgitte Jallov
Published in the Radio Journal, this paper outlines a bare-foot impact
assessment methodology that was designed, tested, revised, and implemented
with 8 community-owned stations in Mozambique between 2000 and 2005. The
purpose of this UNESCO/UNDP Mozambique Media Development Project was to
determine whether community radio stations promote democracy and active
involvement of communities, and whether they allow people to set their own
development agendas. According to the paper, barefoot impact assessments
can ensure that community radio stations are on track with their
objectives. They can also provide feedback to the communities in which
they are working and demonstrate their credibility to local and
international funding partners.

11. Community Media Index (CMI) - South Africa
In partnership with the National Community Radio Forum (NRF), the
Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC) developed the Community
Media Index (CMI), a participatory assessment and action planning tool
designed to be used by community media projects to enhance their ability
to reflect and grow. Community radio stations can implement the CMI
themselves as a self-assessment tool, or involve stakeholders and use the
CMI as a participatory learning and information-sharing tool. They can
also invite an external agency to apply the CMI as a form of external
evaluation. The CMI assessment seeks to provide information that can
easily be translated into practical actions by stakeholders.
Contact Mark Weinberg

12. Community Media Sustainability Guide: The Business of Changing Lives
By Jean Fairbairn
Launched by Internews in 2009, this guide addresses the challenge of how
to make community media financially sustainable in countries around the
world. It covers topics such as incorporating new online platforms and
using alternative energy to power radio stations, all with an eye to
sustainability. Case studies of community media outlets and networks
featured here include creative solutions to the problem of finding enough
funding to stay in business. The guide is designed for community media
practitioners and activists, trainers, and the donors and development
agencies that support them. It provides different perspectives on
sustainability, practical approaches to achieving it, and a comprehensive
list of resources for practitioners and activists.

13. Community Radio Start-Up Information Guide
By Karina Barker
This guide, published by Farm Radio International in 2008, is meant to be
used as a tool for those interested in starting a community radio station.
This guide has two main goals: to provide a general overview of some of
the steps that are involved in starting up a community radio station and
to provide resources for further information. It discusses how to get
started, legal issues, funding options, things to think about when
selecting equipment, ideas for managing a community radio station, and
broadcasting tips.



How are new ICTs (such as the internet and mobile phones) being used most
effectively to support community radio in Africa? (you may choose more
than one option)

* to access information to better meet the information needs of the community
* to download radio content from other sources
* to improve local programme production and reporting, eg. through mobile
phones or digital audio technology
* to increase broadcast reach, making the voice of the community heard
beyond the immediate community
* to increase audience participation in programming
* other

To vote and send comments go to and see the Top Right
side of the page.



13. The Radio, Convergence and Development in Africa Research Programme -
This research programme, initiated by the Centre for Media and
Transitional Societies (CMTS) at Carleton University and supported by the
International Development Research Centre, seeks to explore traditional
radio in order to understand how it can be enhanced through the use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs) with the aim to gain a
better understanding of the current impact and potential of radio as a
development tool in Africa. The Radio, Convergence and Development
programme came about after it was realised that there is a need for
baseline data and critical research that examines radio-related outcomes
and impacts on social and economic indicators. The research project will
explore the cross-section, confluence and even convergence of ICTs in
relationship with broadcasting.
Contact Allan Thompson OR International
Research Centre

14. Radio and Development in Africa: A Concept Paper
By Mary Myers
This paper, published in 2008, was prepared for the International
Development Research Centre (IDRC) to guide the "Radio, Convergence, and
Development in Africa" research programme, designed to explore traditional
radio and gain an understanding of how ICTs can enhance the sector, as
well as the current impact and potential of radio as a development tool in
Africa. According to the paper, radio is still the dominant mass medium in
Africa with the widest geographical reach and the highest audiences. The
author states that radio seems to have proven itself as a developmental
tool, particularly with the rise of community and local radios, which have
facilitated a far more participatory and horizontal type of communication.

15. Radios et NTIC en Afrique de l'Ouest: Connectivité et Usages (Radio
and ICTs in West Africa: Connectivity and Uses
This French-language publication by the Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA)
looks at how new information communication technologies (ICTs) and radio
can be used in combination with each other. It presents the findings of
research involving 220 radio stations in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso,
Ghana, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.


For related previous issues of The Soul Beat newsletter see:

The Soul Beat 115 - Rural Radio

The Soul Beat 105 - The Role of Journalism in Development

The Soul Beat 98 - Radio for Social Change in Africa

The Soul Beat 17 - Community Radio

To view archived editions of The Soul Beat Newsletter see


We would love to hear from you: Please send us your comments by going to or email

For more comments on the Soul Beat Africa website see

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