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Community radio – an effective tool for communication, participation and accountability

© UNICEF Mozambique
Community radio is not only a source of information, but also provides a space for civic participation and a mechanism for accountability.

GAZA, Mozambique – 21 March 2011 – There are over 60 community radio stations scattered across Mozambique, all run as non-profits and coordinated by the National Forum of Community Radios (FORCOM) with support from UNICEF. In Gaza, as well as and in the other provinces, community radio is a powerful and effective communication tool, a media outlet for important and potentially life-saving messages and a space for people to voice their concerns and put appropriate pressure on their local authorities to deliver services. In this way, the radio stations also serve as a mechanism for accountability.

Nearly 70 per cent of Mozambique’s population lives in rural areas, with only limited or no access to mass media. In rural areas, access to information is limited for children as well. According to the so-called Bristol indicator on information deprivation, 39 per cent of children in Mozambique are facing severe information deprivation, especially in the rural areas, with no possession of, or access to, radio and television.

It is within this context that community radio as a tool for children, young people, families and communities to access the knowledge they need and often desperately want, is so effective. The radio stations help reinforce healthy behaviors and can guide people to identify and address their own development needs. They help ensure that people can assess their options and take action on the issues that affect them.

In order to make a dent in information deprivation of children, a child-to-child radio programme was implemented by FORCOM with UNICEF support in 2005, with the goal of developing, producing and presenting radio programmes for and by children. Most community radio stations are now broadcasting child-to-child programmes, covering some 70 per cent of the districts in which they are based. In a country where only eight per cent of the population speaks Portuguese as the first language, community radio stations provide programming in local languages and are a key vehicle for messages related to emergencies, community mobilization and the adoption of healthy behaviors.

Community radio is one of the most effective communication channels in Mozambique because of its extensive reach and its ability to provide communities with locally relevant information and mechanisms to debate issues of importance in people’s immediate surroundings. The radios fill an information gap and reduce the information deprivation often experienced outside the main cities.

For more information, please contact:

Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org

 

 
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