Community Media/COMNETA/Workshop Summary

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On 25th -29th May, 2009 Sengerema telecentre was host to the Community Radios Workshop in Tanzania. The aim was to build capacities by developing skills, tools and plans that will help managers to strengthen the organization of their community radio stations to ensure community “ownership” and content that meets local needs, and develop relationships and policies in order to consolidate the network of community media in Tanzania.

The Workshop was attended by 24 people including radio managers and technicians form; FADECO, Kyela - Mbeya, Mwokozi - Masasi, Kipozi- Mtwara, Pemba, Nuru –Iringa, Sengerema Radio 98.8.FM

Since the focus was on organizational Development, particularly, how do organizations affect success of radio stations, what are the key principles of community radios and networks, and what are the capacity needs of community radios?.

Day one, dealt with; principles of community radios, experiences and good practices of community radios, and knowledge and skills on networking, Day two, was about; leadership and management, management practices, managers training needs, Day three, dealt with; priorities for the development of community radio staff and volunteers, organizational capacity issues and Learnshare HIV/AIDS Africa treatment literacy , Day four, was about, role of community radios in elections, organizational learning and sharing and developing the way forward – action planning and sharing tasks and Day five was for consolidation and closing ceremony.

Participants shared experiences like, licensing complications, low government participation, role of programmes with relevance to communities localities for sustainability and ways of motivating, content development and management and maintaining staff. Challenges like, electricity outages, insufficient resources for equipment, materials and motivation of staff and community participation, lack of training, about successes, increasing community’s freedom of speech, facilitating farming,, fishing, health and entrepreneurship, and facilitates e-Governance.

On management , Leadership and sharing they realized the importance of facilitating knowledge among members, Capacity building skills and resource mobilization, Reducing costs in programming, training and equipment, Sharing news and information, Disseminating best practices, Support on sustainability and conflict resolution, Networking, lobbying and advocacy, Sharing problems and solutions, Mobilizing funds and people, Advice on community economic growth strategies, Support the growth of community radio movement nationally, regionally and globally.

On election reporting important notes were, avoiding party zealots, encourage women leadership at all levels, avoid embedding journalists with political candidates/parties, to be careful with training opportunities offered by businesses or political parties – involve organizations with media mandate, to work very close with District Authorities, COMNETA can form a rewarding system for CR on agreed principles, and keep statistical data possibly aggregated in: Political parties, candidates, gender, constituents, time covered. Also, informed about existing election guidelines such as the Community radio Code of Practice of Tanzania,, Broadcasters guidelines for International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), MCT Gender Code of Ethics and General rule of conduct for CRs during elections (developed in Mozambique in 2003).On Financial Management Skills

Capacity building sited issues such as diversity of radio programmes e.g. commercial recording and CDs production, developing training programmes on identified areas such as: Financial Management Skills, Presentation Skills (Script writing), Organization Development Skills, Human Resources Management, Marketing Management, Content Development and Management, Gender Mainstreaming – Balancing and sensitivity, Election Reporting, Community Involvement and mobilization, HIV/AIDs & Poverty Reporting, Online Journalism, and Technical Aspect of a Radio and attracting local and International partnerships. On sustainability: Underscored the need for understanding the purpose for Community Radios and ICTs in general, work the “Extra-Mile”, diligence, righteousness and integrating the powers that enabled existence of creatures with the human endowment (intellectualism and intuition).

The Workshop was interesting and interactive throughout and was coloured by the involvement of the representatives of the Sengerema community- women, elderly, youth, entrepreneurs and leadership who provided their experiences in the way they participate in radio Sengerema activities, the benefits and opinion about the future. Most important, the potential of community radios in their lives and development. The closing ceremony was officiated by the District Commissioner of Sengerema District whose representative underscored the need to recognize community radios as community saviors, the way they facilitate government activities, and advised participants after the workshop to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the workshop. Also, He challenged COMNETA to have feedback mechanism of the workshop impact. He underscored that it will be wastage of time and resources, he underscored that it will be wastage of time if the impact will be not realized at respective centres.