Local correspondents - important link in the editorial work of local radio stations

09 March 2016

This morning, March 9, 2016, nearly forty journalists, editors and correspondents from 8 local radio stations attended, in Bujumbura, a training workshop on the role of correspondents.

The UNESCO House for a Culture of Peace in Burundi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Posts, Information Technology, and Media, is organizing, from 9 to 10 March 2016, a training workshop on the role of correspondents and their collaboration with local radio stations. The 38 participants, including 14 women, are from: CCIB FM +, FM Humuriza, Isanganiro FM, Radio Ijwi ry'Umukenyezi, Radio Colombe, Radio Culture, Rema FM and RTNB.

In Burundi, people who assume the functions of correspondent in local radio stations are volunteers. They lack training opportunities and their work is far from meeting the expected quality requirements. Nearly 90% of correspondents, who took part in this morning workshop, have never received training on their roles neither on various techniques for collecting and processing information.

One objective of the project "Empowering local radios with ICTs", funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by UNESCO, is to encourage local radio stations to have a wide and operational network of correspondents. To that end, different activities are carried out to help local radio stations identify the best incentive mechanisms for correspondents. Further, UNESCO organizes training sessions for correspondents to help in improving the quality and diversity of content they provide to their station. This morning workshop is the first of a series of actions to strengthen the correspondents’ skills.

By the end of the project, it is expected that correspondents will regularly produce contents on various topics of public interest for local populations. Moreover, while doing so, they should give voice to poor and marginalized people, especially women and youth.

The workshop's first day is devoted to discussion sessions on correspondents' role as well as on coordination mechanisms with editors. The second day will focus on the use of mobile phones to collect information and perform digital audio editing. Mr. Jacques Bukuru, Chief Editor at the National Radio of Burundi, is leading the workshop.

As per the official ceremony,  Mr. François-Frédéric Sigejeje, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Posts, Information Technology, and Media, and Mrs. Yvonne Matuturu, Head of UNESCO House for a Culture of Peace, openned the workshop, in presence of Mr. Michel Kenmoe, Communication and Information Specialst at UNESCO Office in Libreville, project Supervisor.


The Permanent Secretary (middle) and the Head (right) of UNESCO house for the culture of peace at the openning ceremony
© UNESCO

In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary highlighted the quality of cooperation between Burundi and UNESCO. He declared that project "Empowering local radios through ICTs" responds to national priorities, as found in the national communication Action Plan, in particular under the "Media’s" component. The Head of the UNESCO House for a Culture of Peace, in turn, magnified the work of correspondents by claiming that they are a vital link in the editorial chain. For her, when a media operates a "network of reliable and competent correspondents, it produces quality information that satisfy the needs and concerns of the different constituents of its audience."