Auteur / Author : AMARC Africa, Panos Southern Africa and Pronatura–Chiapas Mexico ONLINE
Titre / Title : Media for Sustainable Development Content Survey, A Baseline Study Report on Sustainable Development Content
Collection / Series :
Editeur / Publisher : Submitted to Open Society Foundation, South Africa EN
Année / Year : 2004   Nbr. Pages :      117 pages / 1.5 Mb     Taille / Size


Evaluation / Book review.
This 117-page study was commissioned as no comprehensive study had been conducted previously, either in Africa or in Central America, to assess the level at which community radio has succeeded in reaching its communities through the production of programmes related to sustainable development. The draws on the premise that community radio is based on the principle of development and community participation and aims to gain a comprehensive understanding of media coverage of sustainable development themes, training and stakeholder participation.
The study was conducted by AMARC Africa, PANOS Southern Africa and Pronatura Chiapas who provided a base-line evaluation of the state of sustainable development topics on community radio in Africa and Central America, respectively. The researchers have created an approach which includes a comprehensive, quantitative reading of the level of commitment to sustainable development programming in community radio in these two regions and an evaluation of the dynamics which prohibit the airing of such topics. This study was conducted in Africa (Mali, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia) and in Central America (Guatemala, Southern Mexico and Panama). The African input included three community radio stations in Zambia, four in South Africa, and three in West Africa (Mali and Senegal).
The objectives of the report are to evaluate the level at which stations are involved in developing and producing programmes on sustainable development topics; ascertain sources used by stations in producing such programmes; assess stations’ needs in producing programmes and evaluate the impact that programmes on sustainable development have on the community.
Research was conducted via questionnaires and focus group discussions. The report also drew data from the face-to-face interviews with community media directors and managers, exploring how they produce programmes, the problems they are faced with, their needs and asking if they were giving enough coverage to sustainable development topics. Focus group discussions were conducted with various stakeholders involved in sustainable development, including members of the given radio stations, listeners, staff, volunteers and producers.
Recommendations derived from the study are as follows:
* Community radio stations should put more effort to establish relationships with stakeholders in their communities and approach them for support in their programming.
* There is a need for the stations to be more careful especially during their recruitment processes to ensure that those who are employed by the station have an understanding, passion and commitment required in the development sector.
* Radio stations should respect their language quota and ensure that they respect their licensing conditions and also explain to their listeners why one language gets more coverage than the other.
* There needs to be follow up to this project, there is a need to support stations to produce sustainable content. One of the recommendations would be a plot project to support stations that participated in the project with resources for their programming.
* Coupled with that engage stations in an income generating initiative project that will assist them to finance their programme.
* What is important is that stations be assisted to produce quality programming, which will in turn encourage local potential investors to support the station.
* Marketing of local community radio stations is also very important, stations need to be actively involved in community project for them.
* Community radio station owners should ensure that the people they employ (including volunteers) to work as producers and presenters are well trained in order for them to produce good programmes.
* More time should be allocated to sustainable development themes if they are to have a greater impact on the communities.
* Radio stations should reduce on their music and dedicate the time to sustainable development programmes such as environmental issues which at the time are receiving only about two hours per month per station on average.
* Radio stations need more funding if they are to do their jobs properly and adequately cover sustainable development issues effectively. More equipment and transport is needed for the volunteers who are not paid to do their jobs properly.
* This research also recommends that community radio stations owners should conduct audience survey research for them to know their audiences better. This will help them target specific audiences with specific programmes.
* Community radio stations should fully exploit the goodwill of sustainable development stakeholders (including churches) who are also looking for avenues through which to reach the communities with sustainable development messages.
* Community radio stations should produce more programmes targeted at children.
* Community radio stations should employ qualified media personnel in order to improve on the quality of their programmes and thus provide a good service to the communities.
* There is a need for capacity building of journalists and editors at all levels to familiarise themselves with issues regarding sustainable development.

The report concludes: “Finally, there is need to improve, build support and resources for the radio stations for them to survive and be meaningful to society. The findings and recommendations of this research need not be taken as a complete panacea for community radio stations-but as a contribution towards finding means and ways of ensuring that community radio stations have access to content that will assist them produce programmes on sustainable development. On conclusion, it is the hope that the findings will be helpful to media owners as well as information and communication organisations they go about their noble duties of providing information to our communities in line with sustainable development themes.”
Contact: Shingai Nyoka, AMARC Regional Communications Programme Officer, Braamfontein Centre, 2nd Floor, 23 Jorissen St, Braamfontein
2017 South Africa ; E-Mail:

Retour / Back