Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding

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Using Radio to Drive Development in Southern Africa

Author, Copyright Holder: 
Panos Institute Southern Africa and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
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Although the number of community radio initiatives has grown significantly in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, there is still limited use of their potential to increase engagement between citizens and their leaders. In the far flung areas of these countries, engagement between the poor and duty bearers is almost non-existent. In cases where debates and discussions take place, they hardly filter down to local communities and when they do, it is largely in a top-down approach. The need, therefore, for an initiative to amplify the voices of the poor and marginalised in development, democratisation and poverty reduction strategies and processes in Southern Africa cannot be overemphasized.


To galvanise the potential of community radio in advancing inclusive participation and engagement of the rural and marginalised poor in developmental debate and dialogue, PSAf implemented the

Radio Platform for Community Development (RPCD) Project which was funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA). The project aimed at enhancing the capacity of community radio stations to operate as agents of change for the rural poor and marginalised people.


The specific objectives were as follows:


1. To build the capacity of community radio stations in developing local content through radio listening clubs;

2. To interface the rural and marginalized groups with policy makers through the community radio platform; and

3. To facilitate networking and information sharing among community radio stations and initiatives both at national and regional levels.


The project worked with a sample of 15 community radio stations – five per country – in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. In implementing the RPCD project, PSAf used the Radio Listening Club (RLC) approach, which is a unique and proven methodology that empowers the often marginalised and neglected communities to participate in the development of community radio content.


This report provide a summary of how Panos Institute Southern Africa facilitated the use of radio as a platform for the rural poor to participate in dialogue and set the agenda for their own development interventions.