Launched by the USA-based First Voice International in December 1999, Africa Learning Channel (ALC) is a collective information service dedicated to non-commercial, open access, educational, and social development programming. It broadcasts "first voice" programmes developed from content produced locally by African community broadcasters, non-governmental organisations, media agencies, and other community-based organisations. Radio is the central medium in which ALC works.
Communication Strategies: 

First Voice collaborates with over 300 partners including 184 community broadcasters in Africa as part of an effort to ensure that the ALC programmes reach the widest possible audience, paying particular attention to rural and geographically isolated communities. Digital satellite receivers that are required to hear ALC programmes are strategically placed in central community locations where the majority of community members can access them. "We promote a policy of 'one receiver reaching many ears,' which encourages our community-based partners to organise listening clubs around broadcasts of the ALC."

The channel broadcasts its programmes to approximately 55.5 million people in 51 African countries. The broadcasts cover topics such as:

  • Good governance
  • Youth development
  • Gender
  • Microenterprise
  • Food security
  • Environment
  • Agriculture
  • English as a 2nd Language

First Voice also allows community broadcasters to download programmes from the ALC for rebroadcast on AM/FM radio. This gives the stations access to a variety of educational and social development information that enhances their regular programme schedules, and ensures that programmes reach a wider audience. Many community broadcasters translate the programmes into local languages - for example, Arabic, Lingala, Wolof, Swahili, and Kawkwa - before broadcasting them.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

"ALC gives voice to populations that have not been heard, and empowers them with the knowledge they need to participate in the new global village."

ALC aims to effect change and promote peace and prosperity in Africa. Organisers say it is also forum for Africans to talk to each other continent-wide, from village to village and compound to compound, sharing ideas, best practices, and solutions to common problems.

Partner Text: 

First Voice International's partners in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, and the United States provide content for the ALC and multimedia service, assist in receiver placement, and implement special projects.