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Mwanedu FM in Kenya acquired new skills on sustainability, income generation and reporting on health issues

First phase (2012-2014)

Seven local radio journalists, four male and three female, were trained from 31 March to 5 April 2014 in Mwanedu FM, Kenya. The three workshops covered: entrepreneurship, income-generation and reporting on health issues of local concern, specifically on HIV/Aids.

Local Radio

Mwanedu Radio

96.1 FM

Workshop at Mwanedu FM, Kenya
Workshop at Mwanedu FM, Kenya
Workshop at Mwanedu FM, Kenya

Participants learned what income generating activities are and how to initiate and manage them. The trainer, Mr. John Mlamba, outlined diverse opportunities of income-generation that could impact lives in the local community. After the activity, trainees agreed to research and prepare feature stories to empower communities for progressing towards self-sustainability.

This training also helped the radio station to develop mechanisms to effectively manage its finances. The trainer emphasized the importance of having quality on radio programming, content and format in order to determine the station’s advertisement market share and sustainability. The organization must know what its immediate needs are and what is required in the future to avoid unnecessary expenses. The trainer stressed four key points in planning finances: 1) be realistic and do not assume; 2) the set goals must inform the plan, never depend on winning lotteries; 3) when planning for today, plan for the future too; 4) stick to the financial plan. The inclusion of radio journalists in such workshop created fruitful discussions on the management of the radio station as whole, as usually such issues involve only accountants and radio managers.

As a cross-cutting issue, HIV/Aids was covered in matters of economic development, politics, religion and health. The trainer started by defining what HIV/Aids is and how one develops the condition. The need to create a clear understanding of the basic concepts remains crucial so that radio station staff can lead inclusive debates through radio. The radio station is a good conduit where gathered factual information, through news and features, can be passed to the community and teach the population how to deal with the condition. The participants were encouraged to liaise with health institutions so they can get updated data, latest information and broadcast it throughout its schedule.

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Community media, including local radio, should be supported from several angles: strenghtened skills and capacity-building, reinforced network and knowledge sharing, promotion of favorable legislative environment for sustainable growth. UNESCO is supporting community media practically by training professionals, but is also working with duty-bearers to ensure progress at policy-level.