THE proliferation of community radios in Africa is improving information access to remote and marginalised areas. In Zimbabwe, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is pushing the mushrooming of community radios with the same objective. The results are phenomenal. Let’s hear a brief story from Chipinge district.
UNESCO is partnering with the Government of Zimbabwe and key media stakeholders to establish community radios as a way of improving information access to remote areas
Operating from Garahwa Primary School, Ndau FM is on the right path to sustainability as a community radio. The station reflects on community ownership through the aired programmes as well as the construction of their broadcasting studio.
The Garahwa community has joined hands to build the studio with donations from the community members that include cement, bricks, roofing materials and labour.
Regardless of its location in rural and remote Chipinge of Zimbabwe, Ndau FM has brought the community into the limelight, a positive development for every marginalised community.
With combined efforts and togetherness, the community members are now working to finalise the construction of the radio studio, which is now at roofing level.
Transmedia Corporation, a state-owned company established to provide radio and television signal distribution services for broadcasters in terms of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Commercialisation Act of 2001, has constructed a telecommunications tower in the area that is set to improve FM radio signal coverage reaching a wider radius when an antenna will be installed at the tower’s highest point.
Transmedia is committed to ensure the tower is powered so that it can be operational, working with UNESCO as a partner
UNESCO will work with Ndau FM and Transmedia Corporation to ensure the completion and operationalisation of the tower to ensure that the community starts benefiting from it with improved local mobile telephone network coverage as all.
Currently, network coverage is poor to non-existent forcing Garahwa residents to turn to telecommunication lines from Mozambique.
A mobile telephone charging kiosk, operated by the local community, will be set up at the tower, benefitting them from the solar system that will be installed to power the tower.
Garahwa is part of the Save Basin in the lower Sabi area that is prone to flooding. UNESCO intends to install water level sensors in the area to monitor weather patterns as part of community resilience building through the establishment of a community based early warning system.
The system includes community radios, which entail bolstering already established indigenous community communication channels and cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) weather monitoring technology installed in various locations.