It looks like today (October 7) saw the last day of a big workshop conference for East African community radio stations hosted by the city of Arusha in Tanzania. No less than 16 community radio stations participated; eight from Kenya; four from Rwanda; another four from Uganda. UNESCO sponsored the event, via its “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs” program. ICT stands for Information and Communication Technologies.
The project, according to UNESCO, aims to “bridge the gap between poor people – especially women and girls – and the public debate on issues of local public concern”; this to be achieved through:
“a series of capacity-building activities in local radio stations, improving the programming quality, providing training on the use of ICTs and helping them to increase their geographical range of news coverage with a network of correspondents. The project, furthermore, focus on gender equality actions and financial sustainability of the radio stations.”
Making one’s way through the blizzard of acronym filled press releases and web pages about the conference and the program, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on. But it appears that the basic objective is to help these stations (and others around East and Southern Africa) avail themselves of a variety of digital technologies and applications useful to grassroots media organizations. This Soundcloud interview with somebody (the link doesn’t say who) explains the gist of the initiative, which is receiving considerable support from Sweden.
The ICTs the program offers include Radcom, a live streaming application, Turbocash, an open source accounting program, a crowd sourcing program called Crowdmap, Zarastudio for broadcast automation, and various open source office and survey applications.
Here’s a map of all the community radio stations involved with the program: