Three UNESCO-supported community radio stations in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province are closer to going on air following the installation of broadcasting equipment, solar back-up systems and training of broadcasters and technicians.
A UNESCO team visited the community radio stations from 25-26 March 2022 to assess the state of readiness for them to go on air and observed that most of the required installations had been done.
At Nyangani FM in Nyanga, the team observed that the studio was well set up with the audio mixers, microphones, lighting system and acoustics done. The presenters at the station also appeared to have mastered the critical aspects of broadcasting, news gathering and production of current affairs programme. They demonstrated their skills during mock-up sessions and received advice from UNESCO on how to perfect such skills.
At Ndau Community Radio in Garahwa, Chipinge, the UNESCO team found the presenters busy practicing how to conduct interviews and do the actual broadcasting in the studio. The other group was being trained on news gathering by Perch Media.
As with Nyangani FM, Ndau Community Radio’s studio is also well set but temporarily in classroom at Garahwa Primary School as the community is still building the actual studios. The solar system to power the radio station is also in place and functioning properly. Work on the erection of the tower to hoist the transmitter was also progressing well. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe officials on the ground indicated that the erection of the tower and installation of the transmitter on that tower for wider coverage should be completed in less than two months.
In Chimanimani, the community radio, Chimanimani FM is also well set to go an air as soon as the transmitter is connected. Station Manager, Mr. Gata said they were waiting for the Transmedia team “to come and connect the transmitter”.
The Transmedia team is scheduled to visit all the stations and connect the transmitters before end of April 2022.
One community member, Charles Pondo Muripu wrote of the station’s Facebook Page expressing his happiness to have the radio station that will serve the people of Chimanimani.
The UNESCO team’s message to all the three stations was the same – ‘Keep the radio stations rooted in the communities, address real life community-relevant developmental issues, enhance community ownership of the stations, be very ethical and devise sustainability strategies’.
The stations were urged to engage various stakeholders in their communities to support the stations in various ways. Emphasis was also placed on networking with other stations to learn from each other and foster local development.
UNESCO with funding from the World Bank-funded and UNOPS-managed Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP) supported the three community radio stations with equipment and capacity building. The stations are expected provide real time information to the communities particularly in times of disasters, among other roles.