Issue #: 
February 13, 2013

In this issue of The Soul Beat:

February 13 is World Radio Day - a day proclaimed by UNESCO in 2011 to celebrate radio as a medium, to improve international cooperation between broadcasters, and to encourage major networks and community radio alike to promote access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves. This issue of The Soul Beat includes programme experiences, research, and resource materials that look at how radio is being used to promote good governance, peace, health, and a sustainable environment.

If you would like your organisation's communication work or research and resource documents to be featured on the Soul Beat Africa website and in The Soul Beat newsletters, please send information to

To subscribe to The Soul Beat, click here or send an email to with a subject of "subscribe".



1. A National Conversation: Governance and Media in Angola
By Augusto Newell and Trish Doherty
This 2-page research summary, published in July 2012, shares insights from an assessment of BBC Media Action's A National Conversation governance project in Angola. It forms part of a wider project working in Angola, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania to increase government transparency, accountability, and public participation through broadcast media. In Angola, BBC Media Action works with the Catholic radio station Radio Ecclesia to build capacity and produce governance programming, including the production of the 100 Duvidas (100 Doubts) radio magazine programme and working with the Forum of Women Journalists to produce the drama Estrada Da Vida (Streets Of Life).

2. Village Voices for Development - Madagascar
Launched in February 2012, the Village Voices for Development (VVD) project uses radio and mobile phones to enable dialogue between non-literate villagers and decision makers about local development issues and strategies. In doing so, the project seeks to address communication gaps, give voice to local people, and improve local governance. Launched by the Andrew Lees Trust in partnership with Andry Lalana Tohana (ALT), VVD worked with existing radio listening groups, local associations, non-governmental organisations, regional authorities, and service providers in the Androy region of Southern Madagascar to develop participatory radio programmes in question and answer formats.

3. Citizens, Media, and Good Governance: Guidelines for Journalists
By Nazeem Dramat and Alex Ball
Published by Inter Press Service Africa in 2011, this booklet is a resource guide for journalists working for newspapers and radio, and will be of interest to civil society actors with an interest in development journalism. It was produced as part of the Mwananchi Programme, which seeks to strengthen ordinary citizens voices, and improve state accountability and responsiveness to citizens' interests in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.

4. Panel Discussion on the Role of Media in Improving Transparency and Accountability in Africa - Video
On 26th September 2012 BBC Media Action hosted a panel discussion in London on the role of media in improving transparency and accountability in Africa. The discussion focused on the successes and challenges encountered by the BBC Media Action programme, 'A National Conversation', which has projects in Angola, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. A National Conversation supports media, in particular local and national radio, to enable citizens to engage with their elected representatives and hold them to account. The event aimed to get to the essentials of the relationship between citizens and their government and the role of media in facilitating that relationship.

5. Radio Capacity Building in Zanzibar: A Case Study
This case study, published in 2012, shares the experience of Search for Common Ground's work in Zanzibar, working with Zanzibar media to promote good governance and social cohesion on a large scale, encourage frank discussion of differences, and foster a spirit of tolerance. Strengthening the capacity of journalists to report and contribute to the public debate, SFCG used a training methodology called Common Ground Journalism. SFCG identified five radio stations to engage with, based upon the size and scope of their potential impact, and the subsequent training targeted 18 journalists from these radio stations.




For further information on Community Radio in Africa, visit Soul Beat Africa's
Community Radio theme site.



6. When Does Information Change Lives? An Evaluation of Community Radio Development in South Sudan and the Three Areas
By Sonya De Masi
This research paper examines the question "Does information change lives?" by looking at the role of five small FM radio stations launched and managed by Internews. The major conclusion of this study is that there is enormous potential for media development in South Sudan because of the enthusiasm for and interest in news and information, even in the most remote villages.

7. Radio Ergo - Somalia
Since 2011 Radio Ergo has been producing original humanitarian news and information for daily broadcasts across Somalia and the Somali-speaking region. A project of IMS Productions Aps, the programmes are broadcast on shortwave and on FM through partner radio stations. The programmes focus on broadly humanitarian themes: health, food security and nutrition, farming and livestock, recovery from crisis, children and youth, gender issues, education, refugees and internally displaced people, and peace-building. Radio Ergo supports a network of local correspondents across Somalia, in refugee camps, and in other places with significant Somali populations.

8. Humanitarian Crisis Map for the Central African Republic - Africa
Launched in June 2012, the Humanitarian Crisis Map for the Central African Republic (CAR) is an online platform designed to enable more immediate, effective, and two-way information sharing between humanitarian organisations and local communities in CAR. Initiated by Internews and the Association of Journalists for Human Rights in CAR, the map runs on the Ushahidi platform, using crowd-sourced information collected or verified by a network of local radio stations to alert humanitarian aid agencies to urgent needs and community priorities. Likewise, aid workers can add information to the map about their responses and actions.

9. Informing Refugees and Returnees on Gender Based Violence
This evaluation report from 2011 shares experiences and lessons learned by Search for Common Ground in using mobile cinema and radio programming to provide a space for discussion, as well as raise awareness and strengthen prevention, around gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). According to the report, years of conflict in the DRC have given rise to misogynistic attitudes that have made the country one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, with high levels of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Focus group discussions and listener feedback showed that mobile cinema screening and radio programming implemented by SFCG has helped to initiate a free and open forum for dialogue around SGBV.



For more knowledge and resources on D & G and communication, visit Soul Beat Africa's Democracy and Governance Theme site.

The themesite offers communication-related knowledge in the following D & G focus areas: Civic Engagement; Rights and Justice; Media and D & G; Gender Empowerment; Conflict and Peace; Anti-Corruption; Freedom of Information; Elections; and Parliaments. 




10. Exploring Maternal and Child Health in South Sudan
This 2-page summary, published in August 2012, shares findings of research to inform a series of radio programmes designed to improve Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (RMNCH) in South Sudan. The project is working to encourage changes in knowledge, attitudes, norms, self-efficacy, and societal support around key health issues prioritised by government and civil society as critical for saving the lives of women, newborn babies, and children. Led by BBC Media Action, the project will produce radio programming, coupled with community outreach work and training for local language partner stations and non-governmental/government partners.

11. Mahlabathe Speaks - South Africa
Launched in November 2012, Mahlabathe Speaks is a 13-part serial drama that uses edutainment to highlight the intersections between HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa. Distributed to community radio stations in four provinces, the drama production was accompanied by a presenter's guide, a theme song encouraging people to speak out against violence, and listening groups. The drama was produced by CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions for People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), with the support of the Joint Gender Fund.

12. Shuga: Love, Sex, Money Radio Drama - Africa
Launched in June 2012, Shuga is a 12-episode serial radio drama that tells the stories of a group of four young fictional characters aged 15-24, their choices, dreams, friendships, challenges, and triumphs in a world where HIV and AIDS is ever-present.  The radio series is the initiative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), MTV, and the HIV Free Generation (HFG) partnership, and builds on the previously aired Shuga television series. Produced in French, English, and Swahili, the Shuga Radio storyline examines a similar range of themes to those in the TV drama including: HIV counselling and testing, condom use in stable relationships, positive prevention, gender inequality and sexual violence, transactional sex, alcohol abuse, and the role of multiple concurrent partnerships in driving the HIV epidemic.

13. Creating Diabetes Prevention Campaign - Malawi
Running from February 2011 to May 2014, the Creating Diabetes Prevention project, initiated by Journalists Association Against AIDS with the support of the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF), is working to create awareness and increase access to information on prevention and care of diabetes and its complications. By using a media campaign, training for journalists, and outreach activities, this project is seeking to create knowledge about diabetes, its control, and prevention among the general public, non-governmental organisations, health workers, and policy makers. 20 radio programmes will be broadcast once a week over five months.

14. Tupange: Kenya Urban Reproductive Health Initiative - Kenya
The Kenya Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, known locally as Tupange (Let's Plan), is a 5-year project, running from 2010 to 2014, to empower people living in Kenya’s urban slums to take control of their lives and build a brighter future with family planning. Tupange is assisting the government and private health providers to provide a full range of high quality family planning services with a goal of increasing the contraceptive prevalence rate in selected project areas by 20%. The accompanying communication strategy includes multi-media and a radio drama designed to generate demand creation. The 24-episode radio drama, Jongo Love, explores the lives of the residents of Nairobi’s low income areas, the choices they make each day and how these choices affect their reproductive health.



We would love to get your feedback on some of the knowledge shared in this newsletter. Please use the star rating system and comments form at the bottom of each content page. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated and will help us to better support your work. 

You can also send any general comments to

Please also share our content by voting "Like" on any of the pages visited or by sharing the page on Twitter.



15. Combining Local Radio and Mobile Phones to Promote Climate Stewardship
By Ryan Jones and Bill Siemering
From the Centre for Development Informatics (CDI), University of Manchester, United Kingdom (UK), with the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), this case study focuses on a pilot project in rural communities on the Eastern edge of Zambia that aimed to bring effective radio programming and mobile phone-based interaction to these communities in an effort to increase their knowledge of the local deforestation issue and deepen their stake in reversing the trend. The primary aim of Zachilengedwe Tsogolo Lathu, as the participants named it ("Our Environment, Our Future"), was to empower rural Zambians and Malawians to address key climate change issues, especially local deforestation, by improving their access to information on the subject via radio and mobile phone.

16. Interactive Radio for Agricultural Development Projects: A Toolkit for Practitioners
By Josh Woodard
Developed by the Fostering Agriculture Competitiveness Employing Information Communication Technologies (FACET) project (a U.S Agency for International Development's (USAID) project), the toolkit is designed to help USAID projects and other implementing organisations use interactive radio to augment the traditional agricultural extension services they are providing. It is designed to provide practitioners with a foundational understanding of what is needed to create compelling radio programming, as well as how to develop a more systematic approach to using interactive radio as one medium through which they share information with farmers.

17. Community Sustainable Development Initiative (CSDI) - Democratic Republic of Congo
From 2010 to 2012, the CSDI worked to design and implement a communication component to support agricultural and forestry research and extension activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the CSDI project also worked with rural radios such as Radio Ntemo and Vu Vu Kieto, and with community farmer organisations.

18. Radio and SMS To Increase Awareness on Deforestation - Uganda
In February 2012, Text to Change, World Wide Fund for Nature's Earth Hour, and Trac FM collaborated to use mobile technology and radio to address the impact of the charcoal trade on deforestation in Uganda. Two radio stations in Uganda asked their listeners to participate in polls which focused on the country's charcoal trade in order to find out their opinion. Participants were able to respond on a toll free short code. The results were instantly available to in-studio guests, and were subsequently published in other media.

19. Always Alert: Reducing Disaster Risk Guide for Communicators and Radio Broadcasters
By Deborah Walter
This English-language manual, adapted from a Portuguese-language training toolkit, Sempre Alerta: Redução do Risco de Calamidades, focuses on broadcasting around disaster risk reduction, but can also be applied to any kind of reporting, especially reporting related to humanitarian and development issues.  The guide was produced for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Mozambique as part of the United Nation's Delivering as One Joint Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction.



To promote the medium of radio, the World Radio Day International Committee invited people to record and produce 1-minute messages about radio, to share via their online platform. To listen to the messages, click here.



20. The Growing Pains of Community Radio in Africa: Emerging Lessons Towards Sustainability
By Peter da Costa
This article, published in the Glocal Times in September 2012, discusses community radio as a strategy for deepening participation and community ownership. According to the author, the evidence suggests that beyond empowering communities, community radio can catalyse behaviour change and impact positively on wider development outcomes. In practice, the record has been mixed, with sustainability a critical challenge. Some evaluations have found that radio stations created through top-down initiatives tend not to survive when external funding dries up. Where such stations do survive, their purpose often becomes different from what was originally intended. Only in a handful of cases have previously aid-dependent radio stations become sustainable.

21. Sustainablity of Community Radios Training Guides
Published by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), this series of ten modules provides guidance on different aspects of management and operations within community radio stations. This includes areas related to administrative management, resource generation, financial tools, marketing strategies, and guidelines for programming. The modules are based on a training programme that SFCG has been implementing in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the development and sustainable management of community radio stations as a tool for peacebuilding and strategic communication.



See these previous e-newsletters related to Radio and Media in Africa:

The Soul Beat 199 - The Role of the Media in Promoting Democracy and Governance

The Soul Beat 191 - Radio in Africa

The Soul Beat 179 - Radio and Television Dramas

The Soul Beat 174 - Media Freedom and Development in Africa

To view ALL past editions of The Soul Beat e-newsletter, click here.


Please send material for The Soul Beat to

To subscribe to The Soul Beat, click here or send an email to with a subject of "subscribe".

To find out more about Soul Beat Africa, click here.