AMARC is a network of local radio stations, many of which are located in rural areas, including some that are very isolated, and these are the stations that share least in the exchange between local radios, or at the international level.
Our strategy has been, first of all, to try to help them to meet at the national level. We have decentralized some of our resources, so as to insure that we have sufficient funds to enable us to organize training and seminars.
We have now decided that our most important training need is the training of trainers, and investing in this training at the regional level. We hope this will help disseminate their competence at the local level, and particularly, by using the local languages.
This constitutes a serious challenge, and we therefore have had to identify some sub-regional languages, in order to be able to set up networks, to ensure exchange. This was discussed at our Pan African Conference, where we decided that the seven sub-regional languages, which help to ensure exchanges in Africa, are quite independent from the languages that have been inherited from the colonial powers.
These sub-regional languages are important as vehicles for exchange, to overcome the barrier of not being able to set up a network linking urban radio stations with rural stations. We have found that through training, and new technologies for training, there is hope that this program can finally get under way.
From a practical point of view, AMARC, with the support of DFID and CTA, has been setting up leaders of the networks, who will ensure that these exchanges can take place. The programmes that we originally set up in Latin America (and which will also be set up in Africa this year) include these principal components:
Here we come across the problem of access to these technologies, and access to a telephone connection. We have decided that the heads of the network who will have this mandate will also be responsible for a degree of invention, and the assurance that they can circulate information with regard to the production of radio broadcasts in every possible way, namely, tapes, written scripts, and so forth, even if they have to find people to distribute this information by bicycle.
The challenge for AMARC was to make certain that we could accomplish all this, in the very isolated rural areas. The focus has always been at two levels:
This, in essence, is what AMARC has been doing, in collaboration with the national associations.