Community Radio & Rural Development


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Presentation by Mr. Gasper Mpehongwa, PhD Candidate, Development Studies Institute, Sokoine University, Morogoro-Tanzania (2009)

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Community Radio & Rural Development

  1. 1. Gasper Mpehongwa PhD Candidate, Development Studies Institute, Sokoine University, Morogoro-Tanzania
  2. 2. Organization of the presentation <ul><li>Community radio defined </li></ul><ul><li>The nature of development </li></ul><ul><li>Linkage between community radio and development </li></ul><ul><li>The case study: ORS community radio and rural development in Simanjiro district, northern Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Concluding remarks </li></ul>
  3. 3. Community radio defined---1 <ul><li>Not for profit making, owned and controlled by a particular community under an association, trust or foundation (Alumuku, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Small independent radio stations run on modest budget, which give priority to local communities and accountable to the community they represent (Peterson, 2004) </li></ul><ul><li>Associative broadcasting service (Fraser and Estrada, 2001) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Community radio defined---2 <ul><li>What constitutes a community? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geographical territory or a group of people belonging to a particular cultural or political entity (Alumuku, 2006) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared interest, tastes and values (Fraser and Estrada, 2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is possible to have community radios in both forms of communities described above </li></ul><ul><li>Primary function of community radio is to: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Address informational, educational and entertainment needs of the community it serves </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance community’s capacity to dialogue, debate and exchange ideas on various dimensions of development </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The concept of development---1 <ul><li>Development is complex and multidimensional phenomena which means different things to different people (Todaro, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Historically, term was defined based on two popular paradigms: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Development as modernization and economic growth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Development as human development and transformation </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. The concept of development---2 <ul><li>Development as economic growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve GDP Growth of 5-7% or more per year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It was argued that benefits of growth would trickle down to the masses to improve non-economic social indicators such as literacy, schooling, health etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, growth does not always improve non-economic indicators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GDP do not always reflect wealth distribution in the society </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Growth may be accelerated by one or two sectors </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The concept of development ---3 <ul><li>Development as human transformation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It elevates human above economic growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is also referred to as ‘social development’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dudley Seers (1969) suggest that we ask the following questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What has happened to poverty? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What has been happening to unemployment? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What has happened to inequality? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nyerere (1968) and Sen (1981) sum up that the purpose of development should be human empowerment, human dignity , freedom and commitment to quality life </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. The concept of development---4 <ul><li>Rural development, therefore is : </li></ul><ul><li>Holistic (multidimensional) approach concerned with improvement of the living standard of low-income population living in rural areas </li></ul><ul><li>It takes holistic approach because rural dwellers engage in multiple sectors to earn their livelihood </li></ul><ul><li>In sum, it is an interdisciplinary, multidimensional process intended to: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Satisfy the people’s basic needs/wants </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Achieve self-reliance and sustainable development </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An effort to empower the rural poor </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. CR & rural development ---1 <ul><li>Community radio is a sub sector of mass media </li></ul><ul><li>Mass media is an important factor in development because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitates information flow-information is power! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plays ‘fourth estate’/ watchdog role </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give voice to the voiceless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Venue for development dialogues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enable public adaptation to change and the local appropriation of knowledge and information </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. CR & rural development---2 <ul><li>Specifically, community radio is important in rural development equation because: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Owned by the people, they can control it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physically close to its constituent – know local needs, aspirations , challenges and opportunities better </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is participatory in production and dissemination of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Enhance community dialogue which is highly missing in many rural areas </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Case Study: ORS CR & Dev.---1 <ul><li>Orkonerei Radio Service , popularly known as ORS Community radio is found in Simanjiro district in Manyara region of northern Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Simanjiro is semi arid and one of the most challenging districts in Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Illiteracy levels stands at 58% against national average of 32% </li></ul><ul><li>The higher illiteracy is caused by poor access to primary education </li></ul><ul><li>Further, only 54% of the people understands Kiswahili, the lingua franca in Tanzania (Mpehongwa, 2008) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Case study: ORS CR & Dev---2 <ul><li>Against the above background, community radio was established for the purpose of: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Having an envisioned, well informed, and knowledgeable pastoral community in development in order to improve lifestyle through information, communication, and education on development issues and to empower the community to make informed decisions” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---3 <ul><li>Impacts of ORS community radio on development </li></ul><ul><li>Voice of the voiceless--A woman in Terrat village was quoted as saying: </li></ul><ul><li>“ In the past….simply being a Maasai caused some people to switch off; because none imagined that, a Maasai had anything to say. Now that we have our own radio, we shall continue talking..... day in day out, until someone listens” (Jallov and Lwanga-Ntale (2007:18) </li></ul><ul><li>Another elder in Sukuro village asserted: </li></ul><ul><li>“…… ..we can hear ourselves”….. It means that first we are able to talk to one another… Secondly, after we have talked and heard our voices on radio, we also know that other people have heard what we are saying. This enhances our image as a people ” (Jallov and Lwanga-Ntale, 2007:16) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---4 <ul><li>Ability to communicate and air concerns is an indicator of development as this lead to questioning underperforming leaders, hence improve accountability (Sen, 1981) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of accountability on local leaders is one of the critical challenge facing rural districts in Tanzania </li></ul><ul><li>Local leaders in collaboration with few rich persons have created what Chinsinga (2007) calls ‘local capture.’ </li></ul><ul><li>Existence of CR has disturbed status quo and subsequently created parallel power structure where a normal citizens can point finger at any local leaders without fear of retribution </li></ul>
  15. 15. Analysis of ORS CR programs Sn Category of program Hours per week Percentage of the total weekly air time (%) 1 Music and general entertainments 32:25 39 2 Greetings and community messages 14:35 17 3 Debate and discussion on local issues (culture, gender, youth, children, environment, local governance etc) 13:30 16 4 Educational programs (Health, entrepreneurship, pastoralism etc) 9:30 12 5 Hard news and current affairs 9:15 11 6 Traditional music (local based) 2:20 3 7 Religious affairs 2:00 2 8 Sports 0:25 0.5 Total broadcasting hours per week 84 hours 100%
  16. 16. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---6 <ul><li>Close examination of ORS community radio programs indicate that good percentage of airtime is used for programs aimed at information flow, education and conscience raising </li></ul><ul><li>It may came as a surprise that music and general entertainments accounts for 39% of the entire weekly airtime, but it must be understood that a lot of community messages are easily channeled through music </li></ul>
  17. 17. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---7 <ul><li>ORS Community radio and social accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Social accountability is a term used to describe answerability of leaders to the people </li></ul><ul><li>In social accountability, non-state actors such as the media monitor and influence on the leadership in order for the system to perform better </li></ul><ul><li>Social accountability is a function of strong civil society, existence of democratic culture and independent media (Mukandala and Gasarasi, 2005) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---6 <ul><li>The following are specific ways in which ordinary citizens said CR have helped them in pushing for social accountability in Simanjiro district (see Box 1) </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, ORS community radio has managed to instill fear on incompetent local leaders and encouraged competent ones as correctly pointed out by AMARC (2007); Alumuku (2006) and Mwakyembe (2000) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Case study: ORS CR & Dev.---7 <ul><li>Other impacts brought by ORS community radio </li></ul><ul><li>The preservation and promotion of positive Maasai culture and traditions, through storytelling, song, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Increased awareness of people’s human rights, especially the rights of women </li></ul><ul><li>Improved efficiency in managing livestock </li></ul><ul><li>Increased awareness about environment and conservation </li></ul><ul><li>Improved health status especially among women </li></ul><ul><li>(Jallov and Lwanga-Ntale ,2007) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Concluding remarks <ul><li>In early years of Tanzanian independence Julius Nyerere, the then President, was quoted as saying, ‘people have gone to the moon and we are still trying to reach the village’ </li></ul><ul><li>The President was concerned about the poor information flow and generally lack of infrastructure in rural areas </li></ul><ul><li>Ironically, 80% of the Tanzanians live and works in the villages </li></ul><ul><li>Probably with community radio, it is now possible to reach the village with relevant information and transformative messages </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>