In Africa radio is still the most common medium: over 90% of the households have a radio. Community radios air in local languages and are in most cases the one and only way for illiterate citizens (which account for 50-60% of the population in West Africa) to access information about health, education, environment, policies…
Radio is listened to through mobile phones too (650 millions of sim cards in 2014), mobile phones represent also the vast majority of the internet connections in a continent where laptops and good connections are rare. Internet users are 300 millions and the ones on mobile phones in Africa are predicted to increase by 20 times in 5 years (2014-2019). There are 53 millions of Facebook users as of 2015 and the increase is steep.
The digital revolution is hitting Africa as we speak and African media must find ways for traditional and new media (internet, app, social media ..) to partner up and broaden the impact of social change.
Once a community’s basic needs have been met, it is vital that ALL members have equal access to information production and consumption toward improving economic and social opportunities. Radio for Social Change trainees learn how to develop, finance and produce reality-based radio content and also how to develop and implement awareness campaigns via traditional and new media, social networks and community engagement. Radio for Social Change aims at opening the access to Information and Communication Technologies (ITC) also to the vulnerable groups (minorities, people living with disabilities, the poor, especially women) and young adults to strengthen democracy and participatory approaches in Africa.
Radio for Social Change is a three-tier project:
1) Training program. As the new media are a fast-growing field of work, the training program will focus on both production and financing/fundraising subjects, in order to ensure the participants learn how to sustain themselves professionally.
2) Distribution platform of factual/reality-based content, available on the radio circuit (national, local and community radios), on the Internet (with extra content) and via social networks.
3) Network of skilled media professionals working on the national and international markets, working to exchange good practices, policies and methodologies.