I s s u e  53  -   N o v e m b e r ,  2 0 0 3

Strategic Media Management for Sustainability
Planning Phase III of Media Project
Getting Vila Manica on Air effectively

Strategic Media Management for Sustainability

Pluralism and diversity of the Mozambican media landscape was one of the main overall objectives initially to embark on the major UNDP funded and UNESCO implemented Media Development Project for democracy and good governance.

When the project started, studies showed that the major impediment against arriving at this objective was not the number of media in the country – it was already considerable – but the main problem and challenge was the very limited impact of these ‘information carriers’ – and at best also ‘debate creators’.

In the area of private and independent print media, the project worked to strengthen the human resources through some 25 training courses of a two week duration, worked to strengthen the technical resources through establishment of communication centres with media equipment in three provincial capitals. And the project created with the media a paper fund, which developed into a Joint Paper Purchase Scheme, which resulted in the creation of an “Association of Media Houses” (AEJ) working to better the conditions of the sector through among others lobbying and advocacy.

What, however, still was lacking was the consolidation of the individual newspaper in terms of management. A long term process was therefore embarked upon with an aim to develop strategic management capacity within a handful of selected print media with potential and need for strengthening.

Through a participatory process headed by Afrisurvey’s coaches (subcontracted by the Media Project) three core products have been developed over the past four months in each of the five newspapers: (i) a strategic plan, (ii) a style book and (iii) a set of financial and administrative procedures. These core management products were presented and discussed in an evaluation seminar on October 29 at the Media Project, with the editors of the newspapers and Afrisurvey present.

It was here confirmed that the media themselves had been centrally involved in the important process, and that the three products would now be implemented through a three months intensive on-the-job coaching process. Each of Afrisurvey’s three coaches in the areas of Management, Admin/finance and Editorial development will visit each of the media three times over the upcoming period. An evaluation seminar in February will identify the next most pertinent steps to be taken, turning the strategic plans into reality – using these as everyday strategic management tools.

With the process we hope to improve impact and quality of these five media, thus practically moving one step closer to ensure that every Mozambican has access to relevant and quality information on issues of importance an relevance from more than one source, in order to make informed decisions for their lives.

Planning Phase III of Media Project

From our own world, and that of media development in Mozambique, we can report that the second round of preparatory consultations has been concluded successfully.

The conclusion of the meetings with the project's tripartite structure is that all are interested in ensuring consolidation of especially the project's community radio activities, but also to round up the two strategic management processes presently ongoing in both Radio Mozambique's provincial delegations and with a number of independent print media.

The third phase will be planned and carried out with the strict and clear intention to phase effectively out of all activities, leaving structures behind that are able to support the long term sustainability for the project's partners.

At the present point in time, where nothing is yet signed, the indication is to go for a last project phase of a two-year duration.

Getting Vila Manica on Air effectively

A group of community radio activists - calling themselves "dreamers" - has for the past three years worked to mobilise the many different communities within the community of Vila Manica at the border of Zimbabwe. The dynamic groups counts more than 70 active volunteers, who have managed to organise themselves in an association, to get a very good hous from the local authorities, and prepare the basis for the infrastructure through partnerships with Ibis and Oxfam America.

"Radio Macequece", which is the name of the emerging radio station, has also established a close relation with our project, have taken part in training courses, festivals and will soon receive their equipment for studios, transmitter and antenna from us.

As the eighth community supported by our project to go on air, the project's consultant specialising in audience research visited Radio Macequece during the month of October to train the volunteers in audience research, and to - together with them - prepare the first baseline study. The community profile emerging from this study will be used to put together a programme format with programmes matching the need of the many different communities within the community, and ensuring that they are put on air when the central target groups actually listen to the radio.

It is expected that Radio Macequece will go on air early 2004 - initially in an experimental regime.