UNESCO, with the support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), is executing a three-year project titled “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs’’ in several Sub Saharan African countries.
In Zambia the project involves five radio stations, Breeze FM, Iso Community Radio in Isoka, Muchinga Province, Mkushi Community Radio in Central Province, Radio Lyambai In Mongu, Western Province and Zambezi FM, Southern Province.
The project intends to increase the quality of local radio programming and broadcasting by fully integrating the use of ICTs, strengthening local reporting on development issues and engaging poor people’s participation in debates related to their livelihood and development.
Prior to the commencement of the project, a number of studies were carried out. Among them was a needs assessment which was carried out in the five stations by Breeze FM.
While Breeze FM is a participant of the project, the station also plays a coordinating role in Zambia under the supervision of the UNESCO regional office in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The objectives of the radio needs assessment which was completed in September, 2012 were to;
• Map the human, technical and financial situation of the radio stations;
• Identify needs to integrate the use of ICTs;
• Map type of mobile phones being used by the radion stations;
• Analyse costs of different ways of communicating through mobile phones;
• Set basis for training modality; and
• Set basis for community of practice.