Radio FADECO

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Community Radio in Tanzania

By David Kattenburg

FADECO Community Radio (FRC 100.8 FM) is a community-based radio station in Karagwe District, Kagera region, NW Tanzania. It was launched by the Family Alliance for Development and Cooperation (FADECO), a grassroots NGO in Karagwe.

 

Radio FADECO’s mission is to stimulate rural development in Karagwe region by facilitating access to and dissemination of information, learning resources, and communication technologies. The station seeks to be “a voice for the voiceless,” offering its microphone to “marginalized” communities—including the poor, women and children’s groups, the handicapped, and HIV-AIDS sufferers.

FRC 100.8 FM took to the airwaves in 2007, following almost a decade of grassroots organizing work. A March 2009 document lays out the following station objectives:

  • To develop into a fully-fledged community multimedia tele-centre, offering easy access to and a channel for the dissemination of information to the Karagwe community via the Internet, local content generation, and radio broadcasting;
  • To promote space for increased and meaningful participation in national/regional poverty eradication plans;
  • To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on rural development;
  • To encourage and promote good governance, democracy, civility, and human rights;
  • To help rural communities uphold and preserve their cultures (indigenous knowledge, practices and traditions), while living harmoniously and conserving the environment.

Radio FADECO’s target groups include community development workers, local government, schools and vocational colleges, health facilities, and regional NGOs, farmers, businessmen, livestock managers, and micro-finance institutions. A board of seven—assisted by fourteen committee members representing various community constituencies—governs the station. A four-member board is responsible for staff recruitment, training, evaluation, and other station ownership matters.

Radio FADECO’s program schedule includes daily news, market reports, and sports updates, and programs of widely varying nature: arts, culture, and history; women and youth; governance; human rights; agriculture; the environment, education, health; science and technology; entertainment and faith.

FRC 100.8 FM broadcasts from 5.00 A.M. to midnight, to a potential audience of over 1.5 million in the four districts of Karagwe, Missenyi, Bukoba and Muleba (all in Kagera Region, NW Tanzania). The station can also be heard in neighboring borders districts in Uganda (Mbarara, Rakai and Masaka) and Rwanda (Kibungo, Rusumo).

With the enrichment of its programming in mind, FRC 100.8FM has partnered with the BBC Swahili Service, the Swahili Service of Radio Deutche Welle, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC), Radio Habari Maalum (RHM), and with the Vancouver, Canada-based Commonwealth of Learning. FRC 100.8 FM has partnered with Farm Radio International, and its affiliated Africa Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI).

FRC 100.8 FM listeners participate actively at various levels through fans clubs, salam clubs (greetings clubs), live phone-ins, text-ins, and round-table panel discussions.

FRC 100.8 FM’s greatest challenges are technical. The station transmits at a power of 50W, using a single dipole antenna. Coverage is therefore much smaller than they would wish. Reception in valley bottoms and behind high hills can be difficult. Another challenge is staffing. It is difficult to entice qualified journalists and radio people to come and work in a rural setting.

Radio FADECO earns most of its revenue through advertising, supplemented by short-term contracts and program sponsorships. But making ends meet is still a challenge. Given the benefits of radio, its relative ease of operation and considerable impact, FRC 100.8 FM is pressing forward in a number of areas. Developing in-house production capacity and increasing its power output top the agenda.

Courtyard of Radio FADECO

Receiving dish

Production studio

HIV-AIDS program gathering

Joseph Sekiku at HIV-AIDS program gathering

Radio FADECO reporters\’ meeting

Young listeners

Radio FADECO ... The sky's the limit

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There are 6 comments

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  1. BARIKI ILETA

    nothing is imposible under the sun.we karagwe indigineos we wish u a good success so that through your effort we can achieve the best.we will be hand in hand with you

  2. Joseph Sekiku

    Hi Bariki Ileta,

    Thank you very much for your nice comments, Actually, the radio project has expanded. Now we reach abouit 10 million listeners through radio. And as though this is not enough, I am with support of friends, bringing ICTs in my remote village of Nyakasimbi in Karagwe district.

    Through a mass campaign that I am waging, I am resolved to teach computers to all people in my village regardless of age, sex or academic background. This will be like an ice nbreaker since “computers” still remain a jargon and vocabularly that majority do not yet know.

    Welcome to join our efforst as we try to make ends meet for them, and also build their capacity to a better livelihood.

  3. Kanindo

    Sekiku

    thanks for your endless effort towards revolutionalizing Karagwe. I am one of the key listener to your fadeco radio but i had it once on web…what is happening that we cannot receive the Fadecosignal over our destops and laptops?

  4. Ellly nankunda

    Thank you Joseph Sekiku. I love FADECO radio, here in South Western Uganda districts of Isingiro, Mbarara, Rakai etc, enjoy your programing.


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