FAO Regional Office for Africa

Accra hosts the 11th World Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters

Assembly to increase international cooperation to improve role of community radios in development

Supporting the development of community and participatory radio (Photo: ©FAO)

10 August 2015, Accra – The 11th World Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) opens today in Accra, with the aim of increasing international solidarity and cooperation needed to bridge the regulatory and other gaps that prevent community radios to play their role in development.

The 4-day event, the second global conference of broadcasters to be held in Africa after the one in Abidjan in 2009, will  convene more than 250 community broadcasters and stakeholders from over 110 countries and all regions of the global community radio movement. They will showcase and share international experiences, including that of Ghana, and demonstrate how community radios should remain an important resource for the least voiced to express their right to communicate, to access information and be counted as key players of an inclusive sustainable development.

The Assembly seeks to improve good practices in community media, explore strategies to facilitate the establishment of legal environments for community media development as well as define knowledge sharing and capacity building models for action-research and mentoring.

In an opening address read on his behalf by Ato Forson, Deputy Minister of Communication, President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, noted that the global impact of community radio could not be underestimated. He said it was also considered as the primary source of information which had the capacity to generate community participation in key developmental process.

He emphasized that community radios were strategically positioned to lead a change in radio broadcasting, adding, “I challenge AMARC to promote harmony, diversity and contribute to an inclusive, cohesive and culturally diverse community as well as pursue the principle of democracy, access and equity especially for people and issues that are not adequately represented in the main stream media.”

President Mahama called on community radio operators to partner with governments to educate the people along development lines. He further advised that community radio platforms should not be used to instigate communal violence but rather concentrate their activities on social inclusion to ensure that individuals who migrate to join communities are not marginalized.

Advancing food security and sustainable rural development

A Forum on Communication and Community Media to advance food security and sustainable rural development will take place during the fourth day of AMARC 11th World Assembly.

The forum will provide the opportunity to foster dialogue between farmer organizations, development programs and community media interested in applying rural development, and organizations working with communication and community media.

Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, said FAO and AMARC have a long standing collaboration in the field of Communication for Development and rural/community radio. This collaboration, which started in the early nineties, was further strengthened through a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2008 with the aim of jointly contributing to rural development and natural resources management.

He cited some notable examples of such joint initiatives as “the Food Security Channel”, the numerous rural radio workshops and consultations held both at FAO Headquarters and in the field, the first “World Congress on Communication for Development” in 2006 and the most recent Regional Communication for Development Platforms: Onda Rural in Latin America, ComDev Asia and Yenkasa in Africa.

“One of the three main areas characterizing FAO’s work in Africa focuses on partnership development. During this 11th Global Assembly, AMARC and FAO will devote a full day in co-organizing the Forum on Communication and Community Media to advance food security and sustainable rural development”, he added.

Maria Pia Matta Cerna, President of AMARC International, said this year’s agenda is aimed at formulating frameworks and international legislations in favour of women, the marginalized and most vulnerable in society. “This will also provide direction for the world’s association of community radio to make serious progress towards building bridges between policy makers and the communities to improve livelihood,’’ she added.

The Forum is a follow-up to the international Forum on Communication for Development and Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM) organized by AMARC and FAO in October 2014 in Rome to strengthen the role of Communication for Development (ComDev) as a driver for change and family farmers’ participation in rural development.

Background of AMARC

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization founded in the 80s, which serves the community radio movement, with almost 4 000 members and associates in 150 countries.

Its goal is to support and contribute to the development of community and participatory radio along with the principles of solidarity and international cooperation.

Related links:

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
Communication for Development


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