Preparation is key to improving lives at community radios
Quelimane, February 2014. With some of the worst indicators for child mortality, access to safe water, health services, and education, children in the populous province of Zambezia lag far behind their peers in other parts of Mozambique, and much work still needs to be done to help improve their lives.
Community radio, thanks to its reach and community involvement, has played a vital role in promoting healthy habits and sharing often life-saving information with children and parents about proper nutrition, health, hygiene, education and child protection.
In Zambezia, this has proven a success, and a network of community radios, run by the Institute of Social Communication, has seen many new member stations join its ranks recently. But with new stations, come new employees who are not always properly trained in radio production techniques.
The Institute of Social Communication, with support from UNICEF, organised a training session especially geared towards new radio stations and their staff last month in Quelimane, the provincial capital of Zambezia.
Improving the quality of programming was the main aim of the training, with a focus on upgrading the professional skills of new staff in particular, which have joined the ICS network thanks to a rapid increase in the number of community radio stations in Zambezia.
"We were in need of this type of training, as most new staff members do not necessarily have much knowledge about production technique,” says Ruth Manuel Retrato, coordinator at Radio Namacurra. “Trainings such as these help stations in programming and production."
Rosmelita Mendes, who has worked at the Maganja da Costa community radio since 2008, agrees that the training helped her develop her professional skills as well as keep her motivated.
"This is the first time I participate in such training since I joined the radio,” she says. “I am learning new subjects, such as producing news items in a proper journalistic style, how to design a program, develop a script, how to manage child radio producers, how to report, etc."
Rosmelita emphasized that participants now have the responsibility of sharing all the new things they learned with their colleagues back home.
The trainer was seasoned radio producer and reporter Bonaventure Massango, who has 15 years’ experience in the field, and is one of the experts linked to the national training network created by ICS and the National Forum of Community Radios (FORCOM).
"We analyse programming content at the radios and identify gaps,” he explains. “These gaps then determine the content of the training. For example, many of the technical staff did not know the difference between a print news item, and a radio news item. Sometimes technicians pick up a random subject and produce a live program without a script, and skim through the content manual only once. As a result, interviews are not properly researched or prepared, there is a poor use of radio language, and sometimes audio levels are uneven, among other issues."
Massango stressed the importance of preparation, regardless of the presenter's experience.
“Proper preparation is key to making sure programs have the desired quality,” he said. “Only then can we hope to raise the quality of life of our audiences, which is the fundamental objective of our community radios."
UNICEF supports 9 community radio stations linked to the Provincial Directorate of Social Communication Institute in Zambezia, producing weekly radio programs in Portuguese and local languages, promoting positive behaviors for maternal and child health, protection and the education of children.
For more information, please contact:
Patricia Nakell, UNICEF Mozambique
Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique,