I s s u e  10   -   J A N U A R Y/F E B R U A R Y,  2 0 0 0

First Ever Community Initiated Radios
Taking the Temperature of Civil Society in Mozambique
Access – equipment for independent press

Access – to Community Communication
Access – to Community Radio Training
Access – to Newsprint & Paper Support

Phase II of the Project Under Preparation

  First Ever Community Initiated Radios
  The UNESCO/UUNDP Media Development Project is these days expecting proposals for support to community radio stations in Mozambique. With an initial project plan to support the establishment and strengthening of no less than ten Community Radio Stations, UNESCO decided to tackle this component as two distinct phases
A first phase including three communities selected by the project based on selection criteria, including: a distinct need for communication; a certain level of infrastructure and of ’civil society’ activity and hereby a basis for sustainability; a variety among the communities to ensure different experiences to be extracted; one in the north, one in the centre and one in the south of the country. These phase one stations are presently under establishment in Cuamba, Chimoio and Homoine.

A second phase including up to seven communities. These communities are to be selected basedonapplications received in the Media Project by 12 o’clock noon February 15, 2000. The project expects to receive applications from communities lacking communication channels; demonstrating independent community anchorage of initiative and aims to strengthen local informationand democracy.

Taking the Temperature of Civil Society in Mozambique

It will be highly interesting to see, from where the successful applications come: will they represent groups with keen development communication interests? Women’s interests? Cooperative and rural development interests? When on Tuesday February 15 the Media Project takes stock of all the Community Radio applications received, we will know more. At the same time e will have in our hands an expression of the state of the civil society in Mozambique. It will be very exciting to see where in the country which civil forces are striving to ensure a communication channel.

By definition, the emergence of a community radio has in most parts of the world been closely linked to strong people’s or grass-root movements using the radio as a tool to reach their community. All ‘community stations’ in Mozambique, however, have been started by external forces: by the ICS, by religious groups, by UN agencies or by development NGOs to reinforce their general development aims. For all of these groups – and the communities - this has been a very sense-making and often appropriate way of effectively reaching many people at once.

While it has been reinforcing to see the strength and commitment with which the three UNESCO selected communities of Phase I are working to establish the strong community basis for their future community radio station, the Phase II-applications will reflect Civil Society movements requesting on their own a community voice.

Turning the successful Phase II applications into reality will for the first time in Mozambique mean that communities are getting together and on their own force start a community radio!!!

When the selection board will get together after February 15 to review the proposals received, it will be important to look for exactly the above mentioned locally generated power. This is the very first opportunity in the country to grant a voice to such groups. We – and the democratic development - will not want to miss out here!
  Access is a key to Independence in the media, is a key to ensuring Participation and Local Ownership and is hereby a key to strengthening Democracy and Governance.
Access – equipment for independent press
The initial steps to start up Communication Centres for the Independent Press in Beira, Chimoio and Tete were taken during a mission carried out by the Chief Adviser to the three towns in November, signing contracts with the initial coordination groups and placing initial equipment in each location.
  Communication Centre Circulars are ensuring a regular flow of information initially to the centres, but hopefully soon between the centres.
  A monitoring mission in December demonstrated commitment and activity to get the groups registered as associations and preparation of initial business plans.
  This initial phase of establishment of the communication centres will be turned permanent during the month of March based on business plans developed by each of the centres.
Access – to Community Communication
During the period mentioned the three ’phase I’ community radio stations have developed their activities in terms of community mobilisation, becoming recognized as legal associations and preparing the initial action plans.
  At the same time the project has widely advertised a call of application for phase II, which is described in more details in the front page editorial.
Access – to Community Radio Training
When we talk of Community Radio we in principle talk about Radio produced by persons who are not radio professionals. As such training becomes of core importance. To bridge the distance between the UNESCO Media Project and the disper-sed Phase I communities of Cuamba, Chimoio and Homoine, the project has contracted a consultant to play the role of

’Process Coach’ for each community. The coaches will prepare formal and informal training, be sparring partners for management and in general facilitate the work of the radio groups.
  To prepare these coaches, a one week ’Training-of-Coaches’ workshop was organised, visiting two very different community stations to see the Mozambican reality at the same time as working with the Project
Management Team on the UNESCO project’s concepts for Community Radio development. The workshop ended up with a detailed draft training plan for the three communities to be implemented by the coaches.

Access – to Management Training
After return from the ’Training-of-Coaches’ workshop, the coaches joined 16 Community Radio workers from a vast variety of stations from all over the country.
 The two-week training course in Maputo focused on ’How to Start a Community Radio’ and included qualified introductions to all the many areas that need to be dealt with by management. The areas included hands-on experience with the difference between the choice of analogue and digital recording equipment.
Access – to Newsprint & Paper Support
The written independent press received access to a UNESCO ’Paper Support Fund’ during the month of January. Based in initial in-depth consultations and discussions in a national consultative meeting in September 1999, plans were initially developed and a point system elaborated and presented by the accounting firm Ernst & Young.
The 24 independent print media (half in Maputo, half outside) falling within the given criteria as such every 25. of a month will have access to ask the UNESCO Media project pay their bills as long as they have still funds left in their part of the total of USD 200.000.

Phase II of The Project Under Preparation 
Based in a positive Norwegian Mid-Term Review of the Project, recommended initial preparations of proposals for a possible Phase II of the project have begun. Phase I expires June 30, 2001. A Phase II would secure consolidation of activities started during phase I and include new activities. A decision on this will not be taken for another 9-12 months.
  After an initial series of consultations with the core stakeholders of the project: Government, UNDP, the donors, the independent media and others, a draft project document will be elaborated for further thorough scrutiny

Media Development Project c/o UNESCO, P.O.Box 1397 Maputo, Mozambique
Tel. + 258.1. 498752/ 490840 Fax +258.1.498717
E-mail: unesco@mediamoz.com