First phase (2012-2014)

A five day workshop on the use of ICTs to report issues of local concern was held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 10 to 14 of March 2014. The trainings were conducted by Mrs. Brenda Leonard and benefited 32 participants, including 15 women, from all 5 radio stations under the project in South Africa, plus Mafeteng Community Radio from Lesotho and !aH FM from Namibia. The trainees included board members, correspondents, managers and journalists from the 7 local radio stations.

Local Radio

Bush Radio

89.5 FM - Africa's pioneering community radio station

Radio Atlantis

107.9 FM - The heartbeat of the community

Jozi FM

FM 105.8 - More than just radio

Radio Riverside

98.2 FM - The independent voice of the Rivercity

Valley FM

88.8 FM

Mafeteng Radio

107.7 FM

The training dealt with the ICT’s that are used in the stations, and how these ICT’s can improve programme, increase local content and ensure feedback from the audience. A mix of presentations and discussions provided the participants an opportunity to exchange their personal experiences and knowledge. Besides introducing the ICTs tools and new free software programs, the workshop highlighted the importance of and introduced the participants to journalism skills, monitoring, Internet as a source of information, data gathering and administration, ethical issues and financial sustainability. 

The workshop was organized in 5 sessions and each day the sessions introduced to new angles of broadcasting, journalism and ICTs. First session had an introduction and overall focused on investigative skills, data gathering and ethical issues. The second session had Internet as a source of information as main objective, and various search engine machines were introduced to the participants. The third session mostly focused on monitoring and feedback by using ICT tools and social media, which led to the fourth session that had a practical training in managing the contacts of the station. The final session dealt with building a Mxit application for each of the stations, which are used as a feedback mechanism from the audience.

One session was facilitated by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) focusing on the upcoming National and Provincial Elections in South Africa taking place on the 7th May 2014, and their input focused on the role of the media in covering the elections. This presentation raised the participants' curiosity, who were interested in knowing more from the facilitators with several questions.

Overall, the radio staff had the opportunity to interact and share network contacts with one another, which would provide a sustainable networking between them after the end of the workshop. It was a great success since it left the participants confident and willing to implement the newly acquired ICT skills and knowledge.

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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.