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Community Radio / Media


World Radio Day 2014

13 February is World Radio Day — a day to celebrate radio as a medium; to improve international cooperation between broadcasters; and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

As radio continues to evolve in the digital age, it remains the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide. It is essential to furthering UNESCO’s commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

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Community Radio Continuous Improvement Toolkit (CR-CIT)

UNESCO & CEMCA, June 2013

This toolkit aims to provide a participatory evaluation framework designed to allow community radio stations to set their own benchmarks or goals against which they can review their performance periodically. It has been drafted keeping in view: (a) the national community radio policy guidelines (in India); and (b) certain principles of community media globally, such as community participation and ownership, access and inclusion of marginalised groups, gender equity, community-generated content, emphasis on local cultures and identities, and transparency and accountability in practice.


Audio Guide: Gender-based violence sensitive reporting

Search for Common Ground, 2013

Most of the current literature on gender-based violence and the media illustrates how the media has played a negative role in the coverage and imaging of violence against women. The representation of women as sex objects and the media’s failure to link gender-based violence to human rights, gender equality and issues of national development, often leads to isolated, sensational reporting. New issues, such as human trafficking, the spread of pornography and violence against women through new ICTs are under-reported news in media across the African continent. Reporting on sexual and gender-based violence often leads to further stigmatisation or retaliation, which poses further challenges to journalists. This audio guide intends to serve as a guide for journalists and media professionals in producing more responsible programming on gender-based violence. It has been created to help journalists cover survivor stories in an appropriate and sensitive manner and serve the public without compromising survivors’ rights. The first part reviews and expands on the concept of gender, gender-based violence and the relationship between cultural context and violence against women. The second part proposes ethical, legal and professional considerations in order to assist journalist as they report on survivors and gender-based violence.

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Media & Gender Monitor - Towards 2015: A Communication Rights Agenda

WACC, July 2013

Awareness about different aspects of women’s communication rights has grown remarkably during the past two decades. Civil society initiatives at the same time continue to break new ground, and this issue of Media & Gender Monitor profiles illustrative work by WACC’s project partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

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From counting women to making women count: Focusing on women in media development programs

Internews, March 2013

Women’s voices are essential to the development of societies; correspondingly, gender equality and female empowerment are necessary to finding solutions to the world’s most pressing development challenges. Although gender concerns have been part of development programmes for almost 40 years, a wide range of stakeholders report that it continues to be an afterthought, or just a box to tick during programme implementation. This paper argues that like other sectors, the media development sector needs to bring greater empirical rigor to its operations in order to bring about gender integration. It attempts to orient media development practitioners with both a historical and contemporary view of key policies, research and approaches to gender integration, as produced by media development scholars, practitioners and the donor community.

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Interactive Radio for Agricultural Development Projects: A Toolkit for Practitioners

USAID, FACET, December 2012

This toolkit is designed to help USAID projects and other implementing organizations use interactive radio to augment the traditional agricultural extension services they are providing. In addition, it aims to provide practitioners with a foundational understanding of what is needed to create compelling radio programming. It is important to stress that this toolkit does not assume that radio is the most appropriate solution for disseminating agricultural information. Rather, given the fact that radio continues to be the most readily accessible communication tool in much of sub-Saharan Africa, this toolkit aims to enable practitioners to develop a more systematic approach to using interactive radio as one medium through which they share information with farmers.

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Sustainablity of Community Radios. Training Modules


This series of modules provides guidance on different aspects of management and operations within community radio stations. This includes areas related to administrative management, resource generation, financial tools, marketing strategies, and guidelines for programming. The modules are based on a training programme that Search for Common Ground has been implementing in the Democratic Republic of Congo to support the development and sustainable management of community radio stations as a tool for peace building and strategic communication. 

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Gender sensitive indicators for Media. Framework of indicators to gauge gender sensitivity in media operations and content

UNESCO, 2012

Beyond celebration, the challenge remains to actually implement the vision of having also a portrayal of the world through the eyes of women in the media, of engaging the important 'other half' in the debate on important issues - and making the world whole. Through this document UNESCO seeks to strengthen the capacity of reporters, media managers/executives, media organizations, and citizens’ media groups to reduce stereotypical representation of women in media, and to mainstream gender equality considerations into their policies and practices.   


Learning Resource Kit for Gender-Ethical Journalism and Media House Policy  

WACC/IFJ, November 2012

This publication is the outcome of a project launched in July 2011 to promote fair gender portrayal within media houses and the journalistic profession. The kit draws from the insights of media practitioners, educators and communication researchers from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, North America and Pacific. It brings together practical guidelines to enhance women’s representation in media content and encourage dialogue within media structures and self-regulatory bodies together with civil society groups.

The kit is organised in two books. Book 1 concentrates on conceptual issues about gender in news reporting. Book 2 presents gender-ethical thematic guidelines on reporting climate change, disaster, economic news, sexual and reproductive health, human trafficking, peace and security, politics, and sexual violence.

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Empowerment Radio – Voices building a community

EMPOWERHOUSE, 2012 ($23.81)

This book sets out to demonstrate why community radio during the past decade has repeatedly been recommended as a powerful catalyst for development – ‘the missing link’ between development support being provided and change actually taking place. It has been written with a desire to share powerful insights and experiences that can help get a genuine community radio off the ground – and keep it on air. It offers a step-by-step presentation of the central conceptual and practical aspects that are essential for creating Empowerment Radio: A sustainable, community-run, well managed, simple and effective platform for the community’s voices, with space for debate on issues of importance that range from urgent ad hoc problems, over continued debate on community development, and onward toward a celebration of the local culture. 

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Survey Report: Community Participation at Local and Community Radio Stations. An explorative study in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific

CAMECO Practice Series, 2012

Participation of the community is an important feature of almost all stations responding to a survey conducted by CAMECO to examine and gain a deeper understanding of concrete practices and challenges of community and local radios. The explorative survey showed that in all world regions, community involvement in programming is strongest. Participation in management, ownership and funding are less common. Whereas the ranking of the various areas of participation is similar throughout the regions, differences exist in their importance: Latin American radios top participation in programming, but they are far below average in management and ownership. In Africa, the level of participation in financing and ownership is comparatively high. In Asia, participation in management plays a crucial role.

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CTA Rural Radio Packs  

CTA produces, every year, 5 Rural Radio Resource Packs on a variety of topics related to agriculture and rural development to be re-packaged and broadcast by local radio stations in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP).


Raising Women’s Voices through Radio Drama: Reflections from South Africa

CMFD Production, POWA, Oxfam, 2012

This case study shares the experiences and lessons learned of Zaphamban’ izindlela!, a serial radio drama designed to get people thinking, and talking, about women’s rights and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa. According to the case study, the drama proved to be an entertaining means to stimulate dialogue and analysis of women’s rights in communities, raise awareness of the Protocol and legal protections for women, and encourage local action, as well as provide an opportunity for people to discuss sensitive issues such as gender violence and harmful cultural practices.


People’s Radio: Communicating Change across Africa

Southbound, June 2012 (376 pages - USD$25)

This book offers insights into using radio as a tool for community engagement in development. The author demonstrates "how elusive participation can become if implemented without adequate consideration of power relationships within indigenous and local knowledge systems." He proposes that more effective radio for development initiatives should be built on participatory action research, local communication needs, and indigenous knowledge systems. He discusses the challenges of using radio as a tool for community engagement and examines specific case studies from the African continent. The book also considers the different ways governments, organisations, broadcasters and communities can use radio networks as instruments of participatory knowledge production, exchange, and utilisation so as to bring about change and development.

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Community Radio, Gender & ICTs in West Africa: How Women Are Engaging with Community Radio through Mobile Phone Technologies

Search for Common Ground, July 2011

This report shares findings from a comparative study across three West African countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea) to explore the current intersection between radio, gender, and information communication technologies (ICT). The research examines whether recent improvements in radio broadcast coverage and SMS technology are increasing women's access to information and providing them with a platform that adequately meets their needs, and tests whether implementing a SMS mobilisation programme, like FrontlineSMS, can increase women’s engagement with local community radio programming. The findings show that, while technology can play a role in enabling participation, the lack of participation is influenced more by the fact that radio is still male-dominated and too often consigns women's programming to a narrow interpretation of gender issues including marriage, childcare or domestic responsibilities.


Getting it Right. A Journalists’ Guide to Conducting Community Radio Debate

Panos Eastern Africa & Deepening Democracy Programme in Uganda, 2011

This guide highlights the role of radio producers and moderators in reaching rural communities, recognising that they too can set agenda for news and debate on radio, thereby positively contributing to the country’s development. It offers a brief insight into the broadcast environment in Uganda, with a focus on radio and community radio in particular. It also guides community broadcasters through the process of choosing formats, producing a radio debate, preparing debaters, and eliciting audience involvement. In addition, the guide provides a brief look into Ugandan media’s legal context to enable readers to understand the confines within which the Ugandan media and specifically the broadcast media operate.


Climate Airwaves: Community Radio, Action Research and Advocacy for Climate Justice in Ghana

International Journal of Communication, Vol 5 (2011)

Community radio is well recognized as a powerful vehicle for advocacy and social change in Africa, but its use in the field of climate change has remained very limited, and then largely for top-down transmission of information to communities. This article discusses lessons learned to date from the Climate Airwaves, an initiative aimed at developing new approaches for supporting community radio broadcasters to investigate, communicate, and engage in broader debates on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities in Ghana. It also discusses in depth the central role that action research aimed at effecting social change plays in this particular initiative, and in climate justice initiatives more broadly.

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Participatory radio campaigns and food security: How radio can help farmers make informed decisions

African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI), 2011

Report highlights:

  • Radio continues to have a broad reach in Africa. An estimated 40 million farmers in five different countries were served by the AFRRI partnership with 25 radio stations.
  • Farmers engaged in the design and development of farm radio programming were almost 50 per cent more likely to take up agricultural practices deemed to improve their food security than passive listeners. Those in what AFRRI deemed “active listening communities” (ALCs) were 10 times more likely to adopt the practice than those farmers who had no access to the farm radio programs.
  • Farmers demonstrated increased knowledge of agriculture innovations as a result of listening to AFRRI radio programs, with up to 96% of some radio listeners scoring at least 60% on a follow-up knowledge quiz about the promoted farm practices.

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This is an online social network designed especially for African radio broadcasters, which seeks to increase the extent to which rural radio helps African small-scale farmers meet their food security, farming, and livelihood goals. Users can connect and share farming and broadcasting-related content, resources, and expertise, as well as work together to co-develop programmes. The project is an initiative of Farm Radio International, with support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in collaboration with Digital4Good. The interactive Barza website includes news, blogs, comments, discussion forums, and content sharing features. Users can upload their own radio and farming related content, specifically radio scripts, events, photos, video, and audio. Resources are organised by topic, such as climate change, food processing and storage, water and sanitation, market information, broadcasting techniques, gender, malaria, HIV/AIDs, etc.

Got to Barza

Community media: a good practice handbook

UNESCO, 2011

This is a collection of case studies of good practice in community media. Its intention is to provide inspiration and support for those engaged in community media advocacy and to raise awareness and understanding of community media among policy makers and other stakeholders. The collection is focused on electronic media including radio, television, Internet and mobile. It is global in spread, with examples from 30 countries, but primarily drawn from developing countries. This has the additional consequence that radio is predominant in view of its extensive presence today in developing country media environments and its reach into rural as well as urban communities.


Mobile Media Toolkit

MobileActive.org, 2011

The Mobile Media Toolkit provides guidance on tools, resources, and case studies of how mobiles can be used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media participation on a variety of platforms and in a variety of circumstances.

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Energy for Radio. A Guide for Practitioners

CAMECO Practice Series 02, 2010

This is a guide to energy management for community radio stations. It supports radio managers and operators as they tackle the energy issue at their station, helping to understand the various sources and technologies of energy, especially gensets, wind and hydro turbines, solar and hybrid systems. The guide also views many other aspects requiring attention before “informed decisions” can be taken, including assessment of the energy needs, storage, protection and regulation. The worksheets for assessing the energy needs of the stations as well as the cost-effectiveness of different energy sources are available for download.


Role of the Media in Agricultural and Rural Development in ACP countries

CTA, 2010

Although agriculture has made a comeback on the development agenda, it still gets scant coverage in much of the media. Yet newspapers, magazines, radio and television can do much to create more awareness of these issues, encouraging political decision-makers to become more actively involved in agricultural and rural innovation processes. CTA’s annual seminar, held in Brussels, Belgium from 12 to 16 October 2009, focused on the role of media in the agricultural and rural development of ACP countries. It attracted wide interest from the world of journalism and that of agriculture and rural development, drawing more than 170 experts from the press, rural radio and television, research scientists, communications specialists and decision-makers from the six ACP regions, as well as from national institutions in EU countries and regional and international organisations. Reports of the event are now available on-line and in printed form. Several videos that were presented at the seminar can also be downloaded or obtained as DVDs.

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Getting the Balance Right: Gender Equality in Journalism

International Federation of Journalists, 2009

This handbook is an illustrated and easy-to-read guide and resource material for journalists. It evolved primarily out of a desire to equip all journalists with more information and understanding of gender issues in their work. It is addressed to media organisations, professional associations and journalists’ unions seeking to contribute to the goal of gender equality.


Sowing the Seeds – A Study of Media Coverage of Agriculture and Women in the Agricultural Sector in Three African Countries: Mali, Uganda and Zambia

IWMF, February 2009

This report documents the scant attention that both agriculture and women agriculturalists have received from news media in Mali, Uganda and Zambia. The release of the report coincides with the launch of “Reporting on Women and Agriculture: Africa”, a three-year IWMF initiative to enhance reporting on agriculture and women in Africa and make agriculture a key subject for African media.


Working with the Media on Gender and Education. A Guide for Training and Planning

Oxfam, A Beyond Access Resource, 2008

This guide is designed to help education and gender campaigners, and organisations and coalitions, work more effectively with the media to promote gender-equitable education. It explores issues relating to gender equality in education and contains practical advice on working with the media. Throughout the guide suggestions of activities to help groups generate discussion and explore the issues addressed in more depth are given the guide is accompanied by a set of worksheets that correspond to these activities.


Gender Policy for Community Radio

AMARC, March 2008

The Gender Policy document explains what gender equality means in community radio and how it can be achieved. It serves as a tool to implement gender equality in community radio stations. It demonstrates the necessary measures which can enable and encourage women's equal participation in all fields and levels of the radio station. It has been translated into 18 languages.

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Women’s Empowerment and Good Governance Through Community Radio - Best Experiences for an Action Research Process

AMARC International, March 2008

AMARC has facilitated a significant amount of action research concerning the impact that women's empowerment can have on good governance through community radio in the last two years. This document includes articles on women and good governance, as well as practitioners' experiences gathered through several knowledge sharing and action research seminars held through the CR network worldwide, in continuity with the action research project on - the Social Impact of Community Radio: Removing Barriers, Increasing Effectiveness - held all through 2006.

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Farm Radio International

Farm Radio International is a Canada-based organisation working in direct partnership with approximately 300 radio broadcasters in 39 African countries to fight poverty and food insecurity. Its materials are available electronically to broadcasters and to rural development organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It supports broadcasters in meeting the needs of local small-scale farmers and their families in rural communities, and helps broadcasters build the skills to develop content that responds to local needs.

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Community Radio Social Impact Assessement - Removing Barriers, Increasing Effectiveness Challenges, Findings, Reflections, Experiences, Lines of Actions for Community Radio Stakeholders - AMARC Global Evaluation 2007

AMARC, 2007

AMARC conducted in a 2006 a long-range participatory action research seeking to identify the barriers that limit the potential positive impact of community radio and explore ways to increase the effectiveness of community radio in achieving poverty reduction, development objectives, inclusiveness and democracy building in local communities.

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Guidebook on Sustainability

Developing Radio Partners, 2006

Developing Radio Partners researched and produced this guide on local radio management and sustainability. Through presenting studies of six local independent radio stations, the authors propose a different understanding of sustainability. The studies highlight different factors, including context, leadership, management, partnerships, programming, human and technical capacity, will, community support, audience research and many others, and show how they work together to contribute to the overall sustainability of stations.

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InteRadio is the periodic magazine published by AMARC. InteRadio is primarily a feature magazine. It examines key issues affecting the community radio movement around the world linking it to the democratization of communications at large.

InteRadio contributors range form grassroots community radio workers, established cultural players in the democratization of communications movement including engaged academics. InteRadio is a platform for investigating the critical questions that community radio activists don’t always have the time to ask.

More information on the AMARC website

The One to Watch - Radio, New ICTs and Interactivity

FAO, 2003

Sometimes looked down upon as the "poor relation" of television, and certainly considered old-fashioned compared to the Internet, radio today has become the one to watch... Still the most portable communication medium, the most widespread and the most economical, radio is now proving itself versatile enough to go hand-in-hand with the Web.


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