What’s the future of radio in Mozambique?

Very interesting article that questions the future liberalization of radio waves market in Mozambique, and their commercial potential. The question is right: with the end of US-funded media program, is publicity a capitalizing instrument in local rural communities?
Read the Reuters article

MAPUTO, 21 December (IRIN) – Community radio stations have made a difference in the lives of rural Mozambicans by expanding access to information and communicating health and life skills messages. But, given their relience on donor funding, some analysts question whether they are a sustainable development tool.

Almost 50 community radio stations have been set up since 1990 under a US $11 million media project by the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) aimed at strengthening democracy and governance.”Community radio has been one of the most successful components of the project,” said national project coordinator Tomas Viera Mario. However, he conceded that sustainability would be “the biggest challenge” when the project ended in 10 months’ time.UNESCO’s main focus this year was consolidating the training of community radio volunteers, particularly in writing proposals for donor funding, and forming partnerships with other development agencies such as Action Aid, which has a programme focussing on girls’ education, and the UN Children’s Fund’s ‘Child-to-Child’ radio programme initiative.The growing popularity of community radio, which carries national as well as community news in local languages, has made it particularly effective in communicating health and rights messages to grassroots audiences. An independent evaluation for UNESCO found that in Chimoio, provincial capital of the central province of Manica, the day after a community radio station broadcast an interview with a person living with HIV, 32 people went to the local voluntary testing and counselling centre – almost double the daily average prior to the transmission – and the same pattern occurred in other provinces.However, although Radio ‘Voz Coop’, based 15 km outside the capital, Maputo, is one of the most popular local stations, coordinator Domingos Mazoio said they were not optimistic about their future.”We have written proposals but donors say we don’t have proof of our capacity – results so far have been negative,” he said. “Sustainability is our major challenge.”Effort have been made to entice business to advertise on community radio, but with little success. Ariel Macuacau, secretary for the National Forum of Community Radios, pointed out that in rural districts and small towns where community radio is especially popular, local businesses are well known. “Small businesses people have little money to spend and won’t choose to spend it on advertising,” he added.Major companies, “prefer the more established commercial stations. They say we’re not ‘professional’ enough”, Macuacau noted, while there was also a misconception that community radio is too “political” rather than entertaining.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: