Karagwe celebrates five years of IPDC-supported community radio

Radio presenter using a locally fabricated mobile hybrid system to interact with the listeners of FADECO radio - © UNESCO

FADECO community radio is celebrating its fifth anniversary since it started operating in 2007. Located in Kayanga town, in the Karagwe district of the United Republic of Tanzania, the radio was created after receiving basic equipment and training from UNESCO's Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

During its five years of operations, FADECO community radio has contributed to the development of the Karagwe region by offering a channel for community dialogue on development. In the area of agriculture, for example, it was the information broadcast on FADECO radio about higher coffee prices in neighboring Rwanda and Burundi that prompted Tanzanian coffee farmers to demand higher prices for their coffee. "The price of coffee has risen from 3,000 Tanzanian shillings to 15,000 Tanzanian shillings. We are proud to be part of that increase," said Mr Joseph Sekiku, the Director of FADECO community radio.

Ihanda village women group, showcasing their agricultural produce - © UNESCO

In the village of Ihanda, FADECO radio was instrumental in promoting a chicken breeding project, from which 87 families are now benefitting. The project is being managed predominantly by women who once used to stay at home as housewives. The Chairperson of the Ihanda chicken breeding project says that the project has improved the nutrition and income of families in the village. The increase in income, which in most cases is managed by the women producers themselves, has helped them to support their children’s schooling. Each family produces an average of twenty eggs per day. Thanks to FADECO's initiatives, the Karagwe district council has taken over the project and supported it with a milling machine for chicken feed production.

The radio is also promoting a better supporting a better understanding among the community of the ongoing constitutional review process by inviting lawyers to lead discussions on this topic.

Director of UNESCO Dar es Salaam unveils plaque for official inauguration of FADECO radio - © UNESCO

The official inauguration ceremony, which had not been possible earlier due to the security situation in the area, was attended by the Representative and Director of UNESCO in Tanzania, Ms Vibeke Jensen, on 21 September 2012.

During the ceremony hundreds of Karagwe citizens thronged the Kayanga football pitch to participate in the celebrations. About twenty different individuals and local institutions lined up to provide testimonies to FADECO's contribution to socio-economic development of the district.

Exhibitors and entrepreneurs in Karagwe use the radio to promote their products: A wooden bicycle manufacturer displays his bicycle - © UNESCO

The District Commissioner for Karagwe, Ms Darry Rwegasira, says she is a great supporter of community media, due to its power to stimulate development.

She strongly encouraged the radio to continue and further expand the good work it is doing with regard to women’s empowerment especially in eradicating gender-based violence, including that targeting witchcraft that affects elderly women in particular.

During the week-long celebrations in Karagwe, a total of thirty correspondents from three other community radios in Tanzania received training on using ICTs to promote community dialogue for development. The training was funded by UNESCO and SIDA.

UNESCO is supporting three new community radios this year in Loliondo, Kahama and Makunduchi in Zanzibar.

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