In line with the UNESCO-SIDA project workplan, four capacity building workshops each for three days were conducted between the 19th of November to 5th of December 2012. A total of sixty eight staff and volunteers comprising of 30 women and 38 men were trained on editorial, programming and in use of ICTs in radio broadcasting. The sixty eight staff and volunteers most of whom double up as correspondents, were also trained on community involvement in news gathering of information, packaging and reporting of the issues of public concerns. The trainees were drawn from the five radio stations participating in the SIDA funded project in South Africa and one in Lesotho.
Specifically, ten senior managers from Jozi FM were trained in Johannesburg from the 26th to 28st November 2012. This was followed by the training of twenty two staff of Radio Atlantis, Bush FM and Valley FM from the 26th to 28th November 2012 in Capetown, SA. The training for seventeen staff and volunteers from Radio Riverside took place from 29th November to1st December 2012 in Upington, followed immediately by the training of twenty two staff and volunteers from Mafeteng Community Radio in Lesotho from the 3rd to 5th December 2012.
The training was geared towards building the skills of the 6 radios personnel in editorial, integration of ICTs in the programming process, production and airing of gender balanced programmes, community participation in programming process and monitoring and evaluation of the radio programs. The training aimed at addressing the concerns on lack of quality programming in the participating local radio stations.
Capacity building on integration of ICTs in radio programming during this training was a priority since the survey carried out on the use of ICT’s in the six radio stations found out that there was a high level of familiarity with social media platforms and the use of mobile telephony but not making use of the technologies in radio programming. None of the stations in the sample study had documented ICT policies and in most cases the little integration of ICTs witnessed was driven by individual staff members who have an interest in technology.
Areas of focus
1. Community involvement and participation in radio programming
This session equipped the staff and volunteers with skills on community mapping, message and program matrix – which is a process of unpacking identified areas of public concern in order to understand community knowledge, attitudes, practices and beliefs towards a certain issue and to identify how the challenge or problem could be rectified. This process made it easier for radio producers in these participating stations to have a clear focus on the priorities and relevant issues of public concern as well as determine how to involve the communities in identification of information needs of each community. The trainees in these workshops through role play sessions, were therefore capacitated in gathering and packaging information in different radio formats that suits and accessible to their audiences.
2. Different Radio Formats
This was a facilitated discussion and presentation. Participants were encouraged to list the different radio formats they know and use. The facilitator presented other radio formats and elements that were not familiar with the trainees. The difference between radio formats and radio components was explained and the facilitator then discussed each format and component mentioned, detailing how, when and what circumstances individual formats were most applicable. At the end of this session participants were asked to identify which of the formats and elements listed were participatory. The main aim was to ensure that participants understand and are able to recognise which formats to use to maximize community participation.
3. Use of ICTs in Programming
Use of mobile telephony and social media was identified and discussed as some of the main technologies utilized in the whole programming process. Participants first shared what resources are available to them and how they are maximizing on those resources to enhance community participation. Barriers and challenges to integrating ICTs at the respective stations were also discussed in detail. The facilitator then expanded on the use of mobile telephony, internet and social media to integrate ICTs and shared some open source websites where participants could access additional information and share experiences with other broadcasters in Africa.
4. Program Planning including gender balance in programming
This was carried out through small groups practical exercise to plan a 30 minute educational radio program using at least 4 radio components. As part of the exercise, groups were expected to present a line up for their 30 minute program, an introduction, a conclusion and at least three questions for each interviewee. Groups presented their program plans in plenary. This exercise also aimed at ensuring that participants understand the importance of “Catchy” introduction (getting the listener interested), gender sensitivity, formats used, educational and entertainment value and having a clear key message. Participants also discussed a checklist for gender balancing in programming. This session was concluded with a quiz on formats and gender which was followed by explanations relating to responses.
5. Mechanisms of monitoring and feedback on quality of programming
The session explored how radio stations could involve different communities in content development as well as in monitoring feedback through both the traditonal meanss as well as by using the modern Information and Communication Technologies( ICTs). Emphasy was placed on also using listener groups and the urgent need of establishing a pool of stringers or correspondents that should provide regular and accurate reporting from a local perspective.
The methodology used was participatory and took different formats as follows:
1.Role play sessions in smaller groups
The photographs below depict some of the drawings from different groups:
Trainees drawing of a community set up reflecting areas of public concern, resources and interventions required.
The purpose of this exercise was for participants to understand that as individuals coming from the same community, they may not always have the same understanding of what is affecting their communities hence the need to carry out community mapping and involve the communities in bringing out issues of concerns. They were then encouraged to always involve their communities in content development. Using just a small group, specifically the primary target audience, can help the producer to develop a more balanced program.
2. Presentations and group discussions.
The trainers made presentations in line with the workbook( Ref workbook attached) which was prepared for this specific training and allowed group discussions over the various topics.
Follow-up- A three months online mentoring
As a follow up to the training workshops, the trainers followed up for three months with online submissions from the trainees on outlines for three (3) radio programmes and provided feedback to each of the participants individually in an attempt to support them through this learning process and ensure that the skills gained are utilized.
The success of these trainings were highly attributed to the involvement of the radio stations in content development during the training design. Carrying out training of radio stations staff and volunteers where more than one radio station within the vicinity were combined proved extremely useful in terms of exchange of best practices, sharing of challenges across the various radio stations and the positive exchanges around some of the elements pointed out by the assessments and surveys outcome of the various radio station.
Resources and further information
Training guide about community radio skills in South Africa and Lesotho
Training guide developed and used in South Africa and Lesotho trainings about Community Radio Skills Training.