Inception workshop held for community radio stations under UNESCO/SIDA project in Uganda

UNESCO organized a two-day inception workshop to lay foundation for support of four local community radio stations - Radio Apac FM, Speak FM, Nakaseke FM, and Mama FM - under its SIDA funded project themed: “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs” from 4 to 5 November 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. The workshop aimed at enabling community practitioners from the beneficiary stations to learn more about the project, select their priority activities, mobilize local involvement of various stakeholders from the media sector to ensure the smooth running of the UNESCO/SIDA project during the period of its implementation (2015-2017) in Uganda.

The workshop attracted 24 participants comprising of 17 men and 7 women drawn from the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT), Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), UNESCO Antennae Office in Uganda, Media Council of Uganda (MCU), Uganda Association of Journalist (UAJ), Audience Dialogue, TRAC FM, and the four beneficiary radio stations namely, Radio Apac FM, Speak FM, Nakaseke FM, and Mama FM.

During the workshop, Mr Kyetume Kasanga, Principal Information Officer from Directorate of Information and National Guidance who represented the Minister of Information and Communications Technology for Uganda, stated that “The Government is committed to the development of the media sector and thus gives full support to UNESCOs media development initiative for community radios in Uganda. This project lies within our ongoing media reforms and I wish to encourage community radios represented here to take full advantage of it to effectively contribute to improvement of governance by raising awareness of social issues that affect our local communities. As media practitioners, I encourage you to play your part responsibly without fear or favour, even in this elective season.”

At the workshop participants were taken through presentations on UNESCOs administrative procedures that will guide implementation of the project activities; the process of self-monitoring for Community Radios in the project, how to write project proposals for selected priority activities in the project, code of ethics for journalism practice and on accreditation of journalists in Uganda. They were also taken through a presentation on TRAC FM, a free, cloud based software platform that uses radio and SMS to track citizen reports and collect citizen feedback. The beneficiary community radios were taken through how the TRAC FM platform can be adopted by their respective stations and be used to report on service delivery and also rate leadership performance through interactive radio talk-shows and SMS at their local communities.

Mr Peter Balaba, Programme Manager at Nakaseke FM stated that “I am very happy that we are finally part of UNESCOs SIDA project. It is clear from the presentations that the project not only focuses on building capacity of radio staffs but it will also assist our radio stations to put into place sustainability measures that will help us grow our radios beyond this project. This will enable us bring a great difference to our society through the programmes that we produce and air at our stations.”

Participants also took part in a round table discussion on how to leverage the potential of ICTs to empower community radios in Uganda. This was aimed at providing them with an opportunity to discuss and interact with various stakeholders working in the media sector on issues affecting their operations in the media sector. Ms Jane Ongom a producer from Speak FM said, “I am happy that I have gained a lot of knowledge about the UNESCO project from this inception workshop. I and my team are therefore now prepared us for the actual implementation of the project at Speak FM to bring about the development change in our local community through our radio programmes.”

The inception workshop was organized as part of UNESCOs continuing media development initiatives in the region under its ongoing SIDA funded project themed: “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs” in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.