Thursday, Jan 18th

Empowering local radios with ICTs for the promotion of rural citizen’s participation in democratic discourse and development

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UNESCO training on Equipment maintenance for Community Radio technicians at TBC studiosFunded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the project aims to ensure that people in Tanzania, especially the poor, women and girls, have the capacity to make informed decision on issues that affect their daily lives based on access to relevant, culturally appropriate, gender responsive, and accurate information and knowledge.

The project enhances local radios’ sustainability as a consequence of the considerable evidence demonstrating radio as the most efficient and effective media. To achieve so, UNESCO support focuses on building knowledge and skills in investigative journalism, the use of Information and Communication Technologies and organizational and financial skills.


Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar have a rapidly growing population of 44.928.923, 63% of the population is under 24 years old and due to poverty, weak social services, early marriage and pregnancy, and the level of school dropout is high. According to a national mobile phone survey conducted by the NGO Twaweza’s Sauti za Wananchi, 70% of citizens think that they have no political say aside from their vote during elections. Citizens appear to place little trust in government institutions and officials in addressing their concerns and improving their communities. Many community members often lack the tools and opportunities to make informed decisions on issues affecting their daily lives and engage in political participation.

In Tanzania, the radio is a significant mode of communication and access to information. Firstly, 70% of the population lives in rural areas and according to the Tanzanian Media Fund’s Media Perception Study (2013), 99% of users in rural areas have access to and use radio (91% in urban areas) with 61.5% using radio only. In comparison, 31.2% of rural residents can access TV (67.5% in urban areas), while only 25% can read newspaper (48.4% in urban areas). Only 18% of rural residents and 38.7% of urban residents can use all three mediums. Secondly, access to TV, mobile phone and internet is highly dependent on household income but the strong penetration of radio access in the country cuts across variables of gender, age, education, and geography and income level.


1: Local radios have capacities for long term, sustainable, and autonomous service delivery to their community. This includes improved financial viability and management capacity, and a network, which contributes to income generation, policy advocacy, and a greater national and regional relevance.

Residents of Tumbatu Island listening to broadcasts from Tumbatu FM2: Local radios provide access to relevant, culturally appropriate, gender responsive and accurate information and knowledge and platforms for dialogue for local communities using ICTs. This outcome will enhance the roles of local radios as social service providers, based on the values and needs of their communities.

3: Local radio news broadcasted from an increased geographical range within signal area, insuring greater community outreach and increased diversity and plurality of sources.

4: Project managed, monitored and evaluated.


  • 25 radio stations across Mainland and Zanzibar Archipelago and approximately 200 local radio practitioners (reporters, managers, technicians, presenters, etc…)
  • Tanzania Development Information Organization will be strengthened as a vehicle for enhancing community radio sustainability.
  • The people of Tanzania, with a special focus on poor populations in Tanzania, with special focus on women, youth, and people with disabilities.