I s s u e  5 6  -   F e b r u a r y ,  2 0 0 4

Paving the way for a Community Radio...
Communication Centre closed in Beira
Partnership seminar for Community r...
Keeping associativism alive and active

Paving the way for a Community Radio Forum

A National Community Radio Forum will be a reality in Mozambique, when a major national conference-cum-festival is held April 26-30 this year.

The Forum will thereafter work to coordinate needs of and experience by the stations, with a view to find ways of meeting their needs for technical and financial sustainability, coordinate activities in the area of training, women's network and the work for a firm, supportive legal framework for community radio in Mozambique.

The Coordination Group for Community Radio, a joint structure defined and mandated by a National CR Seminar in June 2001, is now planning the Forum. The Coordination Group has since 2001 worked to establish an overview of all the radios active in Mozambique, set up a technical sustainability network, prepared a Code of Conduct for election periods, established a women's network and organized a vast number of training courses.

The Conference/Festival in April intends to join as many community broadcasters as possible - some 300 people. The first 2-day part of the meeting will be "business-oriented" : finalizing tqe draft statutes of the Forum, including agreements for the day-to-day mechanisms of the executive coordination and support functions.

The second 3-day part of the event will be a more celebratory, cultural and educational activity, where we plan to have:
technical exhibits, demonstrations and discussions;
small stalls presenting 40 radio stations province-by-province;
prize competitions for programmes in areas like: HIV/AIDS, Women, Culture;
radio programme exchange sites (stations bring copies of best programmes);
presentation of video productions about community radio in Mozambique;
book launch:Community Radio and the 2003 Municipal Elections;
debate forums on topics such as elections, content development, sustainability, CMC;

These and many other activities will be planned to demonstrate and celebrate that the 40-45 strong community radio movement is a wideranging, pluralist movement in Mozambique, counting radios owned by the satate, the Catholic Church and by the communities through civic associations.

Communication Centre closed in Beira

The Media Project has decided to close down the Communication Centre installed in Beira since 2001, after three years of inactivity arid losses.

The CC had been established as a technical resources center to support the then emerging independent print media in Sofala Province, where in 1999 about five such initiatives were trying hard to survIve.

A declining business community, combined with a rather divided media operators group, which failed to join forces for more sustainable initiatives, resulted in the collapse of all local independent newspapers, since 2002.

Media Project's continued efforts to revitalize the CC in Beira , including through transfusion of emergency funds could not improve the scenario until December 2003.

While the informatics equipment, composed of computers and printers were transferred to Dondo and Cuamba, Were the Media Project is boosting its local community radio partners with more digital capacity, the robust printing press was sent to Lichinga, for common use by Faisca and Amanhecer, two local independent newspapers striving to become sustainable.

Partnership Seminar for Community Radios

Managers of the eight Unesco Community Radio partners will gather in Beira for a one week workshop on the development of partnership relations with different public, private and independent entities.

With a view to sharpen their ideas on how to attract, keep and developed partnership ties with a variety of organizations with similar social missions and commitments, the community radio managers will be prepared to be able to :

     Identify potential partners, at local, national and intemationallevels;
     Identity different types of collaboration, including:
sponsorship for programme production, institutional development schemes, strengthening technical capacity, among others.

Keeping associativism alive and active

All UNESCO supported community radios are based upon legally established civic organizations, generally defined as non-profit institutions catering for the development of a sense of citizenship among its members, whereby the community freely discusses issues of common interest with the ultimate objective of improving their lives.

While the radio functions as a catalyzing element within the general debate on social change, the civic associations owning them represent the organized forum for the debate, with their leaders being elected periodically in general assemblies.

The need to ensure that the social organs of the association do not become a propriety of a single, minor, dominating sector of the community implies that the statutory principles and the elections periods and methodologies are respected. This was one of the topics discussed during UNESCO Community Radio seminar in December in Chimoio.