The UNESCO Community Radio Programme started in 2007, by supporting the setting up of FADECO Community Radio in Karagwe. Up to 2007, when the UNESCO Communication and Information Programme started to support community media development, there were only two registered community radios in Tanzania. Several others, struggling to form, were met with the obstacles of an unsupportive institutional and policy environment, as well as many other challenges associated with lack of access to resources, infrastructure, and capacity development.
UNESCO's Dar es Salaam supports community radios in Tanzania to overcome these challenges in five core areas:
- technical support, equipment support, support to community mobilization activities and training support for new community radio projects;
- training support to develop the capacity of local radio practitioners;
- promoting of better media and access to information policies favorable to the development of community media;
- development of guidelines and standard-setting tools for community radio practitioners. E.g. Training guidelines for conflict-sensitive reporting, gender-responsive reporting, environmental reporting, etc.
- support for institutional networks that enable community media to grow and thrive.
Since 2007, these diverse levels of engagement continue to generate a number of positive results, including:
- 8 new community radios in different regions of Tanzania (Mainland and Zanzibar) set up with UNESCO’s support;
- capacities of over 300 community radio practitioners strengthened through training and mentoring activities;
- the establishment, organization, and growth of COMNETA enabled to expand, from 2 community radios, to 30 radios across the country, supported to communicate as an active social and professional network (for example, through the use of ICTs, a Listserve, social media, Wiki Page, etc., and the formation of a correspondents network for more inclusive coverage of underserved areas);
- the development of a practical and adapted Gender Policy and Gender Code of Ethics for Community Media in Tanzania, disseminated through stakeholder participation and training, resulting in the creation of new specialized community radio programmes focusing on issues gender and targeting women, and an increase in the number of female correspondents at participating radios;
- stakeholder consultations for the Media Services Bill in 2012 supported to strengthen community radio representation;
- improving conditions for community print and social media in Zanzibar through support to the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to review the Newspapers Act of 1988,
- improving the recognition of community radio in broader media policies.
UNESCO Dar es Salaam has enriched its programming through partnerships and Inter-Agency collaboration, in the spirit of Delivering as One. For example, UNESCO, UNDP, and UN Women cooperated to support civic education and participation during and after the 2010 elections, through dissemination of information, focusing education efforts and directing distribution of solar power radios to women in rural areas, addressing the unique obstacles they face to own, access and benefit from community media and ICTs in the household, and access to education, information and forums for civic engagement in their communities.
In 2012, through the SIDA project “Empowering Local Radios with ICTs”, UNESCO-Dar has supported extensive capacity development at nine community radios in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar. A partnership with UNDP has also enabled the office to expand these efforts with a focus on promoting peaceful democratic dialogue and the inclusion of women and marginalized groups.