Tune in to rural radio
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CTA. 1995. Tune in to rural radio. Spore 60. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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workshop was held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) from 26-29 September 1995 to evaluate CTA's programme of activities for rural radio in ACP countries
Rural radio had begun to appear in many African countries even before Independence. Its role was clear; to educate, train and inform rural people about agricultural techniques, health, hygiene and literacy. Thus following Independence, the new African countries encouraged this means of communication by taking control of rural radio, which became closely linked either to the state broadcasting network or to the ministry of agriculture. In many countries, rural radio was given substantial support with the help of donor funding. Things are different today. Most donors have stopped supporting nationally controlled rural radio on the grounds that it should be able to fend for itself. But very few ACP governments have accepted the financial responsibility. As a result, rural radio stations which are capable of playing their role to the full are now rare. At the same time, there are new players coming on to the scene, ready to invest in rural radio. Local or community radio has taken advantage of liberalization and is beginning to flourish in some countries and to make a name as 'the voice of the countryside'. Commercial stations, established in the larger towns and cities, are also beginning to reach listeners in rural areas with their powerful transmitters and through their regional stations. It was against this background that a workshop was held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) from 26-29 September 1995 to evaluate CTA's programme of activities for rural radio in ACP countries. The workshop was organized by CTA in collaboration with the Centre Inter-africain d'Etudes en Radio Rurale de Ouagadougou (CIERRO) and the Groupe de Recherche et d'Echanges Technologiques (GRET). The meeting assessed CTA activities undertaken in support of rural radio in the ACP countries since 1989 and the focus for future activities was discussed. CTA's support in the field of rural radio focuses on three main activities: training workshops for the professional upgrading of journalists (eight workshops have been held since 1989); production of information resource packs for use by radio journalists on different aspects of agricultural development, which comprise broadcast quality radio interviews on tape and supporting literature; and the distribution of Spore to journalists working in ACP radio. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants recommended that CTA should adopt a more integrated approach to providing information on rural development through rural radio. Information should not be restricted to agriculture alone but should include socio-economic themes which have an influence on agricultural and rural development. New radio stations should be serviced with resource packs following a listener survey to confirm that their output is relevant to, and reflects, development issues. At the same time, governments should be sensitized to the need for such information. Greater participation by journalists from ACP countries in CTA's rural radio activities will be encouraged by the setting up of a network of rural radio broadcasters and CTA will continue to collaborate with other organizations which support rural radio in ACP countries.
- CTA Spore (English)