ACPC launches community radio programmes in 3 pilot countries

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 16 October 2015 (ClimDev-Africa) - The African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) has launched the first phase of its community radio programme in three countries – Cameroon, Cape Verde and Rwanda – with practical skill acquisition workshops, followed by actual radio programmes for broadcasting in local languages.

The Coordinator of ACPC and Director of the Special Initiatives Division at UNECA, Dr. Fatima Denton, commended the launch of the programme and expressed the desire to urgently listen to radio programmes that target local communities with practical information to increase their coping capacities to the impacts of climate change.

Communities in the rural areas are often most affected by the impacts of climate change; and this is compounded by the absence of accurate and timely information in languages of the area. “That is why this programme will fill a major communication gap in our overall strategy to cope with the impacts of climate change”, she explained.

The programme began with an assessment exercise of each of the seven stations, in terms of programming, management and staff, technical capability, internet connectivity and power. This allowed for a perfect understanding of the needs of partner radio stations so as to build station staff capacity to ensure the production of radio programmes that inform and empower.

The first workshop was held 05-07 September on Sal Island in Cape Verde. It was a three-day workshop that included three partner stations (Community Radio Espargos, Community Radio Boa Vista and Sodade FM) as well as three additional stations (Santa Cruz Community Radio, State-funded Education Radio and State-funded National Radio) that regularly produce environmental programming.

In Rwanda, the workshop was divided into two phases - the first two days included representatives from seven Rwanda-based stations, as well as regional reporters: two radio journalists from Kenya and another from the Democratic Republic of Congo also joined in the training.

Climate experts and NGOs that have a stake in the environment were also invited.

As in Rwanda, a five-day workshop in Yaoundé, Cameroon was divided into two complementary programmes. During the first two days, representatives from seven Cameroonian-based radio stations attended – including the two partner stations, Bonakanda Rural Radio and Lebialem Community Radio. In addition, climate scientists and seven radio veterans who have covered the environment for many years participated.

Dr. Johnson Nkem, a senior climate adaptation scientist at ACPC provided an overview of climate change issues in Cameroon and West Africa; while Ms Jacqueline Chenje, Communications Officer at ACPC spoke to the expectations of the programme.

The programme is being run by Developing Radio Partners (DRP), a Washington-based implementing partner. In the three countries, participants enhanced their knowledge of climate change issues and how these issues relate directly to their own communities, while sharpening their reporting skills on climate change. They also learned how to produce compelling radio programmes that not only inform, but also entertain their listeners – providing them with information that allows community members to make informed decisions.

Reporters also learned how to take a complex issue, such as climate change, and personalize it – by doing stories on people, such as farmers, who are directly impacted by changes in climate.

In Rwanda and Cameroon, participating stations agreed a year-long action plan, with defined programme topics, based on different farming seasons. They also developed jingles for their radio programs. In Cape Verde and Cameroon, participants made field trips – further enhancing the workshop experience and encouraging them to go into the field and gather story-making material.

Participating stations currently have access to the website, where they can get DRP’s Weekly Bulletins. The weekly bulletins are also emailed to each participant.

Issued by ClimDev-Africa.