UNESCO Windhoek Office sponsored the Financial Management training, as part of the SIDA funded project “Empowering local radio with ICT’s”, for 10 community radio stations from South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho. The training took place from the 14 – 18 October 2013 at Fountains Inn Cape Town, South Africa. The trainers were Greg Kakora, and auditor and financial advisor and Brenda Leonard, the Station Manager of Bush Radio. The 23 participants included the Station Managers, Programme Managers and an additional staff member (12 males and 11 females).
The workshop objectives included:
o To increase the understanding of financial management in each station
o To increase the entrepreneurial skills and income generating opportunities in each station
o To introduce options including Free and Open Source Software on how to manage their contacts
o To introduce mechanism to monitor radio programmes and increase audience feedback
o Use of ICTs in financial planning and management
o Acquire financial principles and values
The methodology used included presentations and discussions, using the experience and skills of the participants to assist with idea generation and to share their experiences. This worked well as the participants felt that they did not only learn various valuable skills, but also that other participants could learn from their experiences.
The first two days of the training included the financial skills, including the available Free and Open Source Software available for stations to download. Turbocash was introduced, and stations practiced various exercises on this software, including processing the cash book, petty cash, invoices, credit note and orders, followed by drawing various reports from the data captured.
This was followed by various sessions on the financial management systems and reports needed for the stations to ensure accountability and transparency, and how to do some these reports.
The session on Strategic Planning assisted participants to understand the strategic planning process, as well as its importance in relation to the budgeting process. The last financial management session dealt with monitoring mechanism for the finances of the station, including the various reports to be submitted and checks and balances that each station should have in place.
The sessions on managing your contacts deal with Customer Relations Management (CRM), a free software that assists with managing the contacts. Each station set-up their own database, and entered various contacts. After this each station draw various reports from this information.
First National Bank (FNB) showcased their products for small business and individuals that uses mobile technology.
The session on Entrepreneurial skills assisted stations to understand the skills needed to be an entrepreneur, which was followed by Radio Riverside as a case study that demonstrated how the stations has included entrepreneurial skills to make the radio station sustainable.
A feedback mechanism was discussed with the speaker from Mxit, who demonstrated the free software that they have and how stations can build their own application. This was followed by a demonstration by Jozi FM on the mechanism they use for feedback, which is a short code SMS.
The income generation discussion dealt with various income generation ideas, how to do it, and how to manage a campaign for income generation. This session also dealt with marketing, and setting up a marketing campaign step-by-step.
The last session dealt with receiving feedback from the audience, which mechanism are used and how effective these are.
The training introduced Free and Open Source accounting software to the participants, including Turbocash, which the participants found user-friendly. “We will definitely use this software” said Rachel Watson, the Station Manager from Radio Atlantis. Another session, dealing with managing the radio stations contacts introduced another Free and Open Source Software called Customer Relations Management (CRM). Due to the simple process of using this software all the participants were very excited about introducing this software in the stations. “This software is simple and can be used across the network and iCloud, so we will definitely introduce it at Jozi FM”, said the Station Manager Mpho Mhlongo. Other sessions include Strategic Planning, Financial monitoring, mobile banking, Entrepreneurial skills, Income generation for the Community Radio sector and audience feedback and how to use it.
Anthea Eksteen, from Live FM in Namibia commented: “The workshop was really good. I’ve learnt new skills that I can use at our radio station”. Mokete Ntsonyane from Mafeteng FM in Lesotho said: “The course was of great importance to participants since we thought that we were the only ones having problems but having time to discuss with other we realized and learnt means to deal with the different problems…we empower each other”. Elliot Godla from Valley FM in Worcester said that “I find the training to be relevant and practical in terms of building a healthy and sustainable community radio”.