I s s u e 4 5  -  M a r c h , 2 0 0 3

Planning Community Radios' life ...
Media groups endorses initiatives...
A code of conduct also for the ...
Management Committees met ...
A Higher Communication Inst...


June 2004 will be the last month of the three years Media Project's Phase II. It means,in other terms, that we only have little more than a year left, to Pave the, way for sound, long-term sustainability strategies for our eight community radio partners,'from Metangula to Boane, and from Milange to Dondo.

Technical and financial sustainability will always remain as the most critical challenges for the continuity of the community radio stations beyond ,the Media Project's' lifetime, in a context of a continuously difficult national socio-economic environment; worsened by successive natural disasters, especially droughts in/the South and cyclones in the North of the country, over the last couple of years.

Adding to this, the lack of technically well prepared human resources in the small Rural towns where, the stations have been installed should also be taken into account, when it comes to the need for the establishment of sound radio management strategies and systems.

At the "super technicians" workshop and the preventive maintenance course, both held in Maputo last January, it was noted that a maintenance strategy was crucial for the technical sustainability of the community radio stations

In line with this, a wide ranging sustainable technical infrastructure for the eight UNESCO assisted community radio stations is presentily at the discussions table between our project and Globecom, the South African company that installed our eight partner radio station. The package includes three strategies, namely: a maintenance service plan, an equipment upgrade package and a technical stores depot based in the country. It is the aim of this technical sustainability overall plan, not only to address the ongoing maintenance and repair of equipment, but also to focus on technician training, technological and human resource assessments and upgrade possibilities for the studios.

Parallel to this, and at the policy level, discussions were held in Maputo March 12, between UNESCO and Management Committees of the radio stations, and again focused on strategic planning in general, expenses reduction and fundraising strategies. The key expression is, more and more “planning for sustainability beyond June 2004”.

Media Group Endorses Initiatives for electins

During its last meeting late February, the UNDP coordinated donor’s Media Working Group, endorsed a number of separate project proposals conceived to help the media to better cover the forthcoming municipal elections this year, and parliamentary and presidential scrutiny in 2004.

One of the endorsed projects-with two components-was submitted by the Southern Africa Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), and it foresees the organization of regional Media Democracy Forums and National Elections Coverage Fund for media practitioners at national level, as well as Municipal Elections Coverage and Training Courses for community radio and rural television stations editorial staff.

A code of Conduct also for the National Media

One other initiative also endorsed by the Media Working Group deals with the sensitive question of deontology and journalism ethics, especially during the Elections process. Jointly prepared by the Information Office of University “Eduardo Mondlane” and the Media Project, this sub project aims at calling editors and media managers together to agree on a Code of Conduct, especially – but not only – for the forthcoming elections, thus strengthening the media professionals preparedness to appropriately cover these process, with adequate ethical and professional standard levels. This expected to happen in a two – day workshop scheduled for early July in Maputo

The dono’rs Media Working group warmly welcomed these initiatives and pledged support for all of them.

Management Committees met in Maputo

The presidents of the management committees and the coordinators of all the eight UNESCO community Radio partners gathered in Maputo on 12 and 13 March, in a meeting to discuss plans for the future, focusing especially on strategies to ensure long term financial sustainability of the stations. The managing structures of the radio stations were given a global overview of each one’s financial situation and trends, with the view to help them better understand the challenges ahead, always bearing in mind June 2004 as the last month of the Project’s foreseen lifetime.

Measures to strengthen the stations fundraising capacity and expense reduction were discussed, and this includes the establishment of fixed, unchangeable and unmovable budget limits for the different items making the monthly running costs of each radio. The decision for the Community Radios, not to use the still very low amounts of money locally raised- Through selling “listener to listener” radio messages and other public announcements was again underlined, so as to allow for the establishment of small savings band accounts for each radio station. The management Committees were also urged to rapidly conclude the strategic plans initially presented and commented on during the Community Radio Festival held in Chimoio last November. So far, only Metangula, Milange Dondo, and Homoine have already sent their strategic plans to the Media Project, seeking support for their operationalisation.

A Higher Communication Institute in Maputo

On March 13, the UNESCO Representative in Maputo, Mr. Lupwishi Mbuyamba, headed the official handing over of the study to reform the School of Journalism in Maputo, with its transformation into a Higher polytechnic Communication Institute. The study, sponsored by the Media Project, and funded by the UNDP, was handed over to the Director of the Information Cabinet, Mr. Felisberto Tinga. Present at solemn ceremony at UNESCO’s Office in Maputo were representatives from the Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Technology, as well as the Secretart General, Mr. Januario Mutaquia, the Director of the School, Mr. Américo Xavier the Study’s chief Consultant, Mr. Mouzinho Mario.