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Celebrating Radio as A Tool for Development

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Feb 13 2014, Burkina Faso [BF], Agriculture, Gender, Media, Projects

13 February marks the World Radio Day, an initiative to encourage both major networks and community radio to promote access to information, freedom of expression and gender equality over the airwaves.

Radio used as communication tool for development continues to play a crucial role in reaching out to impoverished and illiterate communities in rural areas of Africa and Latin America. Radio programmes help increase access to relevant information in remote locations, encourage debate through interactive programmes and disseminate awareness-raising campaigns in local languages.

Setting an example of community radio

Former partner Pag-la-Yiri’s work in conflict resolution has been recently recognised with the Broadcasting Merit Award by the Conseil Supérieur de la Communication in Burkina Faso. In the recent past, Pag La Yiri has played an important mediating and reconciliation role when ethnic violence broke out between Peulh and Bissa populations in the region – and it is for this role, next to its other merits, that it was awarded with this recognition.  IICD helped the organisation set up the first radio station in the region in 2009 and it continued to support its work until 2012.

Radio for developmentBased in Zabre, Burkina Faso, Pag-la-Yiri focuses on using radio and rural listening clubs to inform the population with local and national news and with socially and economically relevant programmes, and to foster debate on issues around agriculture, education and gender. Pag-la-Yiri has achieved this by creating interactive programmes that focus on the everyday lives of Burkinabe communities and Burkinabe society in general. For example, topical shows addressing ‘hygienic living environments’ have proved popular amongst listeners. 

The gender-neutral format of such themes has allowed previously sensitive gender topics like maternal health to be debated by both sexes. This has increased female interaction and overcome the hostility some rural males held towards female orientated radio programming. In terms of radio listening clubs, Pag-la-Yiri has seen strong participation from both men and women who speak out and discuss the programmes they’ve listened to. This has allowed for a positive exchange of gender perspectives to take place.

Double recognition

Pag-la-Yiri not only offers a strong case study for how community radio can contribute to empowering communities and promoting access to information. Its ongoing success also demonstrates the sustainability of the project and how IICD’s approach to local ownership promotes development beyond initial support and funding lifecycles.

While IICD provided capacity training and helped establish solid networks and knowledge sharing platforms, Pag-la-Yiri put in place a marketing and commercial strategy offering broadcasting services and airtime for advertising.

As a catalyser and facilitator in the process of enabling local ownership from the start, IICD ensures that its ICT-enabled projects are designed following a participatory and multi-stakeholder approach. This approach allows for local organisations to take control and responsibility for the design and implementation of their projects.

The recognition awarded by the Conseil Supérieur de la Communication in Burkina Faso is well deserved and Pag-la-Yiri’s continued success stands testament to IICD’s goal to build sustainable and locally supported ICT-enabled projects.

To learn more about IICD-supported projects integrating radio in their ICT-enabled solutions go to:

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