Sharing creative ways to sustain Community Multimedia Centres
The cow behind the community radio house in Saraya, a town in the south-eastern corner of Senegal, is just one of the many creative ways that Community Multimedia Centres (CMCs) are exploring to raise funds.
"We rent it out to local farmers," says Moussa Danafakha, coordinator of the Saraya CMC. He adds that the CMC in Saraya has also opened a community restaurant to mobilize funds for radio activities.
"We now have a bar with a television and serve lunch and dinner," he says.
It is this kind of creative ideas that will be tabled this week when managers of Senegal's 31 CMCs gather in a workshop from 21-23 March 2012, in Saly, Senegal.
The 3-day workshop is organized by UNESCO Dakar and will focus on building capacities among CMCs managers and discuss strategies for how to mobilize resources.
"There is an amazing dedication within the CMCs to reach out to local people in local languages," says Yao Ydo, interim chief of the Communication and Information Sector at UNESCO Dakar.
"The radio managers and the editorial team work for free, to serve the community, and they do so in often difficult circumstances," he adds.
Ydo highlights that the radios are a fantastic platform for development partners to reach out in rural areas and through local languages.
“The potential is huge,” he says and invites interested partners to contact UNESCO to explore this potential together.
Computers break down
The radio plays an important role in rural areas. In Saraya, for example, there is no other radio than the CMC radio called Giggi Sembe (the radio of hope), which reaches some 40 villages.
But the lack of resources is a constant threat to the running of the CMCs.
The materials donated by UNESCO and partners are getting old and need repair/replacement.
The cyber cafés, which are part of the CMCs, were initially expected to raise funds to cover the running of the community radios but due to harsh weather conditions computers often break down and/or there is no electricity and/or internet connection.
Need to learn from each other
CMC radio managers at the workshop will share their experiences and bring their survival strategies to the fore.
"This is why it is so important to develop strategies for resources mobilization and learn from one another," says Ydo.
Following the meeting, UNESCO will prepare a booklet presenting best practices among CMCs.
During the workshop, the Senegalese radio managers will also discuss their training needs in terms of radio production.
They will also learn about two specific issues of high relevance to their rural populations: the protection of the environment and HIV and AIDS.
Developing cultural industries
The workshop is held within the framework of the MDG-F project on the development of cultural industries in Senegal, which is coordinated by UNESCO Dakar.
Funded by the Spanish government, this project focus on two Senegalese regions, the Pays Bassari and the Delta Saloum.
UNESCO also supports CMCs in other African countries, including Cameroun, Mali and Mozambique.
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