All over the world, community radios continue to play a crucial role in uniting, informing and entertaining people. However, growing limitations of financing in the not-for-profit sector demand of Community radios to adopt effective and efficient strategies and principles for marketing, increasing their reach and revenues in order to survive, grow and prosper without outside funding.
That is why, through the support from the Swedish government, UNESCO facilitated the organisation of a three-day capacity building training on Marketing Strategies for Community Radio Station at the Africa Centre for People Institutions and Society (ACEPIS) the carry out of in Kenya. The workshop, which took place in Busia County between Monday 23rd November and Wednesday 25th November in 2015, included participants from community radio stations such as Bulala FM, Baliti FM, Koch FM and Kwale Ranet FM.
Related to the challenges faced by the trainers, the main one was the sometimes general negative vision of the marketing field for the non-profit sector. It needs to be highlighted that marketing was initially regarded as inappropriate for the non-profit sector due to its use by commercial entities strongly identified with selling, and manipulating to get the maximum of benefits by all means.
However, trainers had to turn that negative vision into something new that encourage participants to change their minds. To do so, the workshop was mainly focused on showing how marketing essentially relies heavily on designing programs or policies which satisfy the needs and desires of an entity’s target market. Participants were then taught how this business tool particularly involves research and promotion, discovering clients and identifying their characteristics.
Finally, the workshop’s outcome was great as participants fully understood the importance of a good marketing strategy and their need of having a deep knowledge of the entities they work at– for a radio – what type of radio station it is, what it seeks to achieve, the strategy to achieve its objectives and how to measure progress. This required substantial knowledge and capacity building for the staff of community radio stations which before the workshop activities was non-existent or inadequate.
This workshop was organized within the framework of the “Empowering Local Radio with ICTs” project led by UNESCO and funded by the Swedish government UNESCO's project "Empowering Local Radios with ICTs" aims to bridge the gap between poor people - especially women and girls - and the public debate on issues of local public concern. This is achieved through a series of capacity-building activities in local radio stations, improving the programming quality, providing training on the use of ICTs and helping them to increase their geographical range of news coverage with a network of correspondents. The project, furthermore, focus on gender equality actions and financial sustainability of the radio stations.