I s s u e  18 - O C T O B E R ,  2 0 0 0


As a culmination of a one-year process of identifying how to best ensure an added impact of the many, but generally very weak, media sprouting in Mozambique, the UNESCO Media Development Project has signed the 57,000 USD Activity Financing Contract with the Association of Independent Media Operators in Tete (AMET) on Friday, September 23, 2000.
In the National Consultative Meeting in Maputo September 26, 1999, one such possible way of turning ambitions, dynamism and dreams into reality, was the establishment of Communication Centres - ensuring access to adequate equipment and other resources. These initial discussions and visions have now been turned into reality: Three groups of independent print media in Tete, Beira and Chimoio have since then been actively working towards this end.
To assist these media in moving from dreams to reality, UNESCO has required that these operations join forces in associations, which besides from being the basis of a lot of cooperation, will also constitute the needed legal ‘personae’ to enter into a – potentially – sustainable contractual relation with for UNESCO.
Besides from getting organized and recognized by the local provincial authorities, these groups are required to develop a strong strategic development & business plan, building also an economic sustainability into the organization.
The Tete group of independent media has all along demonstrated the sprouting of a wide range of independent print media, ready to bloom once access to equipment is ensured. As per the contract, UNESCO will fund full installation of the Communication Centre (CC) in Tete, which will be equipped with four powerful computers, laser printers, photocopiers, photo-printer, telephone and internet connections.
While this is a powerful sign of potential media development, UNESCO has ensured that the very first training course of the media centre will focus on the creation – within the local market reality – of an ‘economy’ in the individual media, which without this will have no perspectives of surviving, and will be unable to pay for the use of the Communication Centre, requiring remuneration of the use of its services.
Besides from functioning as an equipment hub, the CC will strengthen the independent media in terms of sustainability of the local publications and also being distribution points for other publications from elsewhere in the country, among an unlimited number of derived activities. An A3 version of the Maputo based DEMOS, SAVANA and O POPULAR ??? Why not?! A consultant is presently assessing this added potentiality with much perspective in terms of ensuring a reinforced impact of the emerging media – nationwide!

UNESCO has finalised the Project Document (ProDoc) for the possible Phase II of the Media Project, expected to start in July 2001 and to last three years.
The UNESCO Paris-based Communication Specialist for Africa, Mr. Kwame Boafo, came to Maputo to give the final ‘touch’ to the ProDoc, which has been through no less than some 30 consultative meetings held during the months between March and July 2000 with the many different Media Development stakeholders in Mozambique.
The revised document has now been sent to UNDP, functioning within this project as the donor-coordinator. UNDP is now in the middle of negotiations with the donors, who have initially expressed their interest and the Mozambican government for final approval and signature before January 2001.
In general, the Phase II of the Media Project has been designed to effectively consolidate the activities presently being carried out in the areas of especially Community Radio and Communication Centers.
Furthermore the phase II of the project is foreseen to actively support the further strengthening of the management and production management capacity of the provincial delegations of Radio Mozambique in their decentralization efforts.
Support to strengthened Gender sensitive reporting, better access of women into the journalistic trade and effective HIV/AIDS reporting are among the many other objectives of the important further support to the development of a strong, pluralist and independent media in Mozambique.

While equipment is an unwanted distracting factor in the early community organizing phase for community radio, it is very important for turning the many community dreams into reality once the community is organized. To get the procurement process going, UNESCO has recruited a Technical Consultant to finalize equipment lists according to UNESCO guidelines and to provide the National Institute of Communication (NIC) with the final details on the concrete infrastructure in each of the three pilot locations supported by the Project in their development plans to initiate CR, namely Homoíne, Chimoio and Cuamba. The ingeneer will visit the three communities early October.

Being in the midst of implementation of the support to community radio establishment, UNESCO has identified the need for a full time reinforcement of its staff resources with an Organizational Development Process Coach (ODPC).
The ODPC will form an important and integral of the Media Project team, but initially be located most of the time in the communities starting stations for periods of one to four weeks at a time.
His/her responsibilities will include, among others, the support to the organizational set-up of the radio stations, including establishment of good every-day routines and operationalisation of the core workers -paid staff and volunteers alike.

While the three UNESCO funded Communication Centers will support the emerging independent print media outside of Maputo in terms of access to equipment, the exorbitant paper costs, increased with some 20 % after the floods, is still a major headache, limiting the potential impact of these media. UNESCO is therefore presently awaiting a consultant report, assessing the opportunities for creating a Paper Purchase Center and other mechanisms in favor of minimizing the print media production costs.

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