Communication for development Knowledge

10-14 June 1996
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

An international workshop on development of rural radio in Africa

The Communication for Development Branch of the Research Extension and Training Division, FAO, has organized an international workshop, on the theme of Development of rural radio in Africa. The venue will be Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 10-14 June 1996 and we anticipate representations from 21 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and from principal bilateral and multilateral organizations involved in this sector.

In Africa, radio is still considered to be the most appropriate communication tool to support and promote rural development. It remains the most suitable of the media because it is the least expensive and most easily available to rural populations. It is for this reason that FAO has been involved, for more than 20 years, in a programme which assists rural radio in Africa, in association with several bilateral and multi-lateral donors and as partners with the Union of the African National Radio and Television (URTNA) and the Centre of Inter-African Rural Radio Studies (CIERRO), Ouagadougou.

This ongoing programme has facilitated the launching of new radio stations in several countries and has contributed to the evolution of rural radio on various ways. Most significantly, the FAO programme has helped transform rural radio:

In this way, rural radio stations in Africa have been a means of communicating closely with rural people and have provided a channel for a democratic dialogue on the main economic, social and cultural themes of development in rural, peri-urban an urban areas.

Today, radio in Africa is undergoing a major transformation: new protagonists are emerging, particularly in the commercial sector, and among NGOs and also rural community organizations. However, many stations are established without a proper and necessary legal and institutional framework and also without adequate equipment and material for producing programmes or, indeed, for training the broadcasters, technical staff and managers.

Several African countries have become aware of these rapid changes and the inadequacies of present infrastructure, training and equipment. They have requested assistance under FAO's Technical Cooperation Programme. The Rural Radio Workshop is a step to find appropriate, global and internationally agreed solutions to the major challenges of development of rural radio in Africa by bringing together representatives of the various interested organizations.

The main objectives of the workshop will be to:

A preparatory study has been undertaken in each of the 21 countries to establish the current status of rural radio, covering legal and institutional aspects and suggesting a framework for development. A resume of the study is being prepared by CIERRO and WREN (World Radio for Environment and Natural Resources) and a copy will be sent to all participants, together with an appraisal on general aspects of the development of rural radio in Africa. These two documents will provide the basis for discussion for the workshop, in English and French.

This workshop promises to be a landmark event for African rural radio.

Countries to be represented

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Bissau Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa , Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Organizations to be represented

AMARC, ACCT, CIERRO, CIRTEF, CTA, ENDA, European Union, FAO, GRET, ITU, PANOS, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIDO, URTNA, WREN, Cooperation Agencies of Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France, USA and Switzerland

For further information, please contact:
L. Van Crowder
Senior Officer, Communication for Development
Extension, Education and Communication Service (SDRE)
FAO Research, Extension and Training Division
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy
fax: (39-6) 5705.5731

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