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Community broadcasting happens to be a very effective tool to enhance democratic procedures in communications; correcting distortions and omissions, as well as phasing out the element of marginalization of particular social groups by catering for the cultural sentiments, wishes and aspirations of all participants. As we concentrate on the twenty first century, community broadcasting, (or community media in general) needs to be given the chance to help in the promotion of public debate, so as to collaborate with main stream media in promoting that debate. That being the case, we as an interested party, strived to establish in Mtwara the Southern part of Tanzania, a 98.6 Mtwara Fm Radio of the community, for the community by the community and about the community, which forms a critical component philosophy for people centered development, which is need oriented, self reliant, indigenous, ecologically sustainable and based on structural transformation. Therefore, Mtwara Community Radio will enhance people’s participation in democracy, together for their own social and economic well being. BACK GROUND HISTORY. Founded by a female media practitioner with twenty four years working experience with Radio Tanzania, (1970-1994) this radio station is a result of initiatives triggered by groups namely the Uganda Rural Development and Training program, the Mang'elete women's group of Kenya and the Pastoralist Survival Program from Tanzania, who requested Eco News Africa to assist them to establish their own information and communication system and structures; in particular, Community Radio stations. Although by then the task was challenging because Eco News Africa met with skepticisms among several donors who believed that community owned radio stations in East Africa would never see the light of the day, inspite of three forms of ownership such as public, commercial, (private) and community, being embraced internationally as sufficient to cater for all broadcasting communication needs and purposes of any country, irrespective of its developmental stage.
Actually, it is almost true that in our part of East Africa, the case has been significant , since beside having huge numbers of licensed broadcasting services now adding to over thirty radio stations and over sixty television outlets, (Terrestrial and cable operators ) there are hardly ten community radio stations to date! The community radio stations now available include Radio Sengerema in Mwanza, Radio Orkonerei in Simanjiro district Arusha, Radio FADECO in Karagwe, IDYDC-Nuru Fm Iringa, KITULO Fm Radio, Kyela Community Radio, Micheweni Community Radio in Pemba, Radio Kwezira in Kagera, Radio Mwokozi, in Masasi and Mtwara Fm Radio. The majority of radio stations are private outlets for commercial and proselytization (religious) purposes and few are government ones such as TBC, (former Radio Tanzania Dar Es Salaam, the RTD ) and almost two scores others owned by Municipal and Local district councils subtly deployed for administration objectives. Nevertheless, back in the 90s, through Eco News Africa efforts, against all odds, a series of National, Regional and International workshops followed under sponsorship of Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, (FES) the Ford Foundation and the United Nation's Development Program, (UNDP) whose complementary input provided the foundation of the achievement in community radio establishment in the Region. To crown it all, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in collaboration with GRETT from France, URTNA in West Africa and Panos in London, held a sensitization workshop in Ouagadougou Burkinafaso between 1994 and 1996, on Development and support of Rural Radio in Africa. Various media actors from Africa as well as International partners attended. Then followed an East African Advocacy workshop for Community Media in 1999 where sixty participants drawn from broadcasting media, communication trainers, media practitioners, community media groups in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, attended. Others were members of Community Media Network for East and Southern Africa (COMNESA) the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) the National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET) and Panos East Africa. The Mtwara Community Radio female founder was among the people who attended this workshop, which was organized inline with the vision of addressing, strategizing and planning on how community media can take it’s place as the third most important media sector in our nations and a partner in the developing countries. This outstanding workshop was simultaneously held in Burkinafaso West Africa, Dar Es
Salaam Tanzania and Nairobi Kenya between years 1994/96, 2000 and 2002, organized simultaneously by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Media Institute of Southern Africa, Tanzania chapter (MISA - TAN) and Kenya Community Media Network (KCOMNET). One of these workshops were individually conducted in the aim of Supporting Rural Radio in Africa, (by FAO) as a campaign on establishment of community Radio stations in Tanzania, (by MISA-TAN) and a third as the Sub-Regional workshop on Legal and Strategic Considerations for Community Broadcasting / media.( by KCOMNET) 2.2 OUR STRATEGY. Due to failure of the state and private broadcast system to mobilize the peasants and help them to understand the problems they face and what can be done about them, we set forth to establish community communication groups in the area that our Radio Station reaches. Incidentally, we have since yea 2003 mobilized the grass roots community in the Coastal Region through Rural Radio Resource Packages International Radio Programs play back on farmers innovations on agriculture and food processing; recorded from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. This was in line with international reporting fore World Radio for Environment and Natural Resources, (WREN-media-UK) which we have been reporting for. As a strategy, the Community Communication Groups were a source of sensitive village information gathering, fed to the UK-based WRENmedia, for international broadcasting along with other recordings from different parts of the developing world for comparison and for learning from each other. Having established this constructive community response through the groups, (initially in the Coastal Mkuranga District) so that community may rally and have a common action on community media Advocacy, we then applied for the community Radio Registration for Mkuranga District and neighboring areas. 2.3 OBTAINING A 98.6 Operating frequency for Mtwara community Radio! Year 2004, Tanzania communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) advised us to shift our initiatives to Mtwara or Lindi where service is best needed, and where frequency interference will be minimal. This called for a special research on our part, concerning the community in the southern part of the country, their problems and needs, failures and achievement etc, so as to again establish another constructive community response for
common action. It was evident that Community in that area needed to be sensitized on the importance of a community Radio structure. In the process of conducting this special research, TCRA provided us with the construction permit, which had a twelve month lifespan, beginning September 2008! Somehow, the original permit to be produced in 2007 did not reach us in time, and so we had to appeal for permit renewal. This move slowed down our pace. Even as we appealed to TCRA to renew the original permit, the new permit reached us eight months to expiring time. Thanks to WREN –media in UK and Concern World Wide Tanzania office, since between them we have been able to acquire premises in Mtwara. The premises has been converted into a studio and an office. We especially owe a lot more to The Foundation For Civil Society who went out of their way to part with a large sum of cash to fund us, contrary to their usual system of funding by installment, and as a result making it possible for us to procure studio equipment, in March 2010. By June the same year, the 98.6 Fm Radio was broadcasting it’s first test transmission! Currently our Antenna is erected on top of an Artmus gas company tower, through their kind courtesy, and when later the funds are in place, we are planning on using the present Antenna as a link, as we move our transmitter location to Lilungu mountain as instructed by TCRA. This will ensure an even better coverage. 2.4 KEY OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGY With the ratio of telephony in rural to urban areas being one to twenty in Africa and the majority of rural population being located outside the information circuit, the activities proposed are structured such that they align with our goal in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor through addressing that situation. There is also a sense that we will build our own centers of knowledge, which other people can borrow from, (in the rural), while the content of the information economy is such that the builder of the content (rural community) is the one who benefits from "This economy". OUR OBJECTIVES INCLUDE. -To stimulate creativity and local initiatives as a way to promote self reliance and development. -To provide a forum for debate of local issues and problem solving. -To promote the African/Tanzanian culture. -To generate income for the station’s sustainability.
-To train community for community participation. -To assist initiatives on issues of education, health and agricultural activities within the community. -To support initiatives for poverty alleviation and community’s well being and livelihood. -To collaborate with World Radio for Environment and Natural Resources, (WREN media) for programmes’ exchange, training and fund raising. -To sensitize community on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and related issues. -To draw together organizations, institutions and business companies to share the Community Radio vision. -To address gender issues and various forms of violence including Female Genital Mutilation. (FGM) PARTICIPATORY RADIO PROGRAMMES. Besides appealing to the interests and desires of the audience, community Radio programmes in addition to pleasing, entertaining and providing some general enlightment for it’s audience, they will also seek to facilitate change, social progress and better living conditions in the community that the radio serves. To achieve this, our staff will deal with a great number of listeners, looking for audience loyalty. The unique advantage that the community radio has, over other type of broadcasting in winning audience is it’s ability to be specifically relevant to the particular needs, interests and desires of it’s audience. To reach this level of relevance, Mtwara Community Radio will constantly involve participation of that audience in the planning operations and evaluation of it’s programming. PARTICIPATION IN ASCERTAINING NEEDS AND PREFERANCES There will be a consultation process to establish certain things about each of the main audience sectors. (women, men, youth, farmers, cooperative members, etc.) Main things to be ascertained by the project are: *Listener’s needs. *Listeners preferences. *Listening habits. (eg times of the day when people mainly tune in. This information is the bases for deciding our programme content and scheduling of programmes at times that best suit the various segments of audience.
PARTICIPATION IN PRODUCING PROGRAMMES. Everything possible should and will be done to encourage individuals and groups to participate in programmes production. In this context groups might also be Ngo’s working in the community. Apart from the encouragement of individuals and groups to participate, the principal role of our station staff is to provide technical support and facilities to the programmes producers. For instance, a programmes produced in a different village each week which is covered by the Community Radio’s broadcast pattern in essence, will be a variety show in which villagers take the lead, say as singers, musicians, poets or interviewers and interviewees, panel discussion members, etc. Such programmes are expected to give community an opportunity to discuss relevant issues and village concerns in public, with local leaders called on to respond and make their opinions and positions clear. This often gives rise to debate on the subject. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATIONS IN EVALUATING PROGRAMMES. Letters and phone calls from listeners provide feedback from audience about the station’s programmes. Also conducting station’s period evaluation of members from it’s various audience sectors through Focus Group Discussions, as well as listeners groups. BALANCING VIEWS. The main thrust of Mtwara Community Radio is to try and promote fair discussion and debate that can lead to resolution of conflicting view point and democratic consensus. The personnel of the station and the way they work, are fundamental in achieving all that. ( the term personnel includes volunteer workers.) The staff of the station will no let their opinions influence the participants.Special consideration will be given to the role of religious authority in numerous communities. LOCATION OF THE STATION AND STUDIO PREMISES 98.6 Fm Mtwara Community Radio is located at Shangani East, in the same premises where Concern World Wide International Organization has it’s offices. The studio premises include: • •
A mini conference room and office. Technicians’ cubicle and receiving and working areas. A mini store.
A transmitter room.
98.6 Fm MTWARA COMMUNITY RADIO STRUCTURE. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The The The The The Chairperson and founder. Advisory Board. Executive Committee. Volunteer Group. Staff. (at a later date)
THE CHAIRPERSON: She is the key and founder member of this project. Through her supervision, leadership will take decisions between Annual General Meeting, (AGM) the supreme decision making forums. This leadership represents community interests in the day to day running of the station activities, and ensures the policies guiding the daily management are developed, and they reflect the interests of the community the station serves. A. THE EXECUTIVE COMMETEE This is comprised of Radio broadcasting professionals under the Chairperson, with active members of Journalists Environment and HIV/AIDS Network, ( JEAN media,) and from Community Communication Groups, (CCG) established within the community as a news and information gathering source. B. VOLUNTEER WORKERS. These are drawn from the community. They are involved in the planning, programmes’ production, news gathering etc. providing management backup, contributing towards policy making and development planning. These activities are coordinated by a volunteer coordinator who sits on management,(executive) committee. Trough this method, the station will also have listeners groups and clubs where listeners can critique programming and suggest programming idea. (coordinator works under the manager answerable to the Chairperson.) C. MANAGEMENT POLICY. Central to the definitions of Community Radio, is that it should either be registered as a non- profit making organization or owned by an organization registered as a non- profit. Mtwara Community Radio is
directly registered by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, (TCRA) following a request by it’s lady founder. D. PROGRAMMING POLICY. This Community Radio will be characterized by an active community participation in all the structures of the Organization. The community that the station serves will be involved in developing the radio station project, and in designing future programmes. The community participating structure is being set up by inviting people to join in the process. Great efforts are being put into empowering the local people to run this station through obtaining participation and enthusiasm. At this early stage of the project preparation, it is difficult to have a proper community participation. But programmes with valuable context made locally by our professionals, as well as programmes from abroad produced internationally by WREN media of UK, (with material from African and ACP Countries) which will certainly appeal to the listeners, are underway. Nevertheless, the need for producing quality programmes will not be an excuse to exclude the participation of the community in the production process. Qualified journalists and broadcasters at home and professional radio producers with great skills from abroad, ( such as WREN media UK, Developing Radio Partners, USA etc) will be working with community, involving them in producing programmes . SUSTAINABILITY OF THE PROJECT. Our Community Radio Sustainability largely depends on continued community support and participation in training, programmes sponsorship and commercial sports, human resources etc. FINANCES. Besides personnel, finances are an element that is crucial. Hence we will design strategies; both short and long term financial plans for sustaining the institution. Strategies will include radio request for community greetings, sell of special cards etc. BROADCAST COVERAGE. 98.6 Fm Mtwara Community Radio broadcasts in Mtwara, covers the following ares:
MTWARA URBAN: Mikindani Area- Ziwani, Naliendele, Sanga mkuu, Chuno, Chikongola, Mageni tandika, and Mbezi. MTWARA RURAL. Mtamba, Swala, Mbemba leo, Tangazo, Kilambo, Mtimbwilimbwi, Mpapula, Nalingwa, Maulunga, and Litumbo. TANDAHIMBA: Chikwaya, Masasi, (urban) and Lindi. Coverage is expected to expand as soon as we change transmitter location to Lilungu mountain as instructed by TCRA, using the present location as a link. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF MTWARA Mtwara was to have been the export facility for the disastrous Tanganyika groundnut scheme abandoned in 1951. In 1948 the British Government formulated this “Tanganyika groundnut scheme” through the Overseas Food Corporation (OFC). The purpose was to alleviate the world wide shortage of vegetable oils. However, inadequate research and adverse environmental conditions caused by poor planning resulted in the complete and disastrous failure of the scheme. The port of Mtwara was to have been the focus of the exported crop. Mtwara features a deep water port that can accommodate oceangoing going vessels and a range of large municipal buildings including post office. LOCATION. Mtwara a Southern Region of Tanzania which has been under developed, is constrained by the lack of highway and energy infrastructures. The Dar Es salaam- Kibiti-Lindi- Mtwara road has been improved by completion of ‘the Mkapa bridge’ over the Rufiji river. However, Mnazi Bay gas promises to provide reliable adequate electricity for powering industrial and commercial activities in the Region. Currently, the Artmus Gas Company is undertaking such a project in Mtwara.
The boundary with Mozambique to the south is formed by the River Ruvuma. To the west Mtwara is bordered by Rvuma Region, to the north by Lindi Region and to the east is the Indian Ocean. The capital is Mtwara. POPULATION. According to the 2002 Tanzania National Consensus, the population of the Region was 1, 128, 523. The three major tribes include wamakonde, wahyao and wamakua. Most of them are farmers depending on cashew nut production, the cash crop. DISTRICTS. Mtwara Region is administratively divided into six districts of Masasi, Nanyumbu, Newala, Tandahimba, Mtwara Urban and Mtwara Rueal.
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