Women’s Net, South Africa

Training and facilitation of radio stations on the creation of interactive audio content

16 Days of Activism to end Gender based Violence - Mobile Phones for Audio

Partner Organisation:
Women's Net, Sci-Bono Discovery Centzre, Miriam Makeba Street, Newtown, Johannesburg; P.O. Box 62577, Marshalltown, 2107, South Africa

Project Duration:
November 2010 - April 2011

Women's Net, was launched in March 1998, as a joint network of the South African Non-Governmental Organisation Network (SANGONET) and the Commission on Gender Equality (CGE). It was set up to enable South and Southern African women, girls and women's organisations to use Information and Communication technologies (ICTs) as a tool for information and mobilisation towards advancing gender  equality and justice.

Project Objective
Gender based violence is a major problem in South Africa. In order to address the respective inequalities and the violence symptomatic of these inequalities, information provision must engage the local communities. As it is estimated that about 100 community radio stations broadcast in South Africa in local languages, and use ICT tools to facilitate the participation of their listeners, the project "16 Days of Activism to end Gender based Violence - Mobile Phones for Audio" aimed at improving the potential use of communication tools by radio stations, in particular mobile phones. Concretely, the project focused on raising the capacities and equipping radio stations with skills to use innovative new software called Freedom Fone to create interactive user generated audio content. The Freedom Fone Software uses mobile phones to extend information provision - including audio content - to people currently excluded from the Internet. The Freedom Fone platform enables automated, interactive, two-way, audio information to be shared through mobile phone networks. Besides, radio stations, for instance, can gather audio voice messages and SMS's from radio listeners, and enable journalists/citizen reporters to upload audio reports from the field.

Actions and Schedule
Women's Net organised a workshop for 14 participants from ten different South African community radios stations for hands-on training in the set up and use of Freedom Fone. In terms of content, participants focused on issues related to gender based violence, and the respective annual international campaign to end violence against women and children, which took place from 25 November - 10 December 2010.

Results so far
Four out of the ten participating community radio stations received the technical device from Women's Net to use Freedom Fone at their stations. The Freedom Fone Newsletter contains content based on experiences that community radio stations made using Freedom Fone at the workshop. The newsletter will be distributed to other community radio stations and civil society groups in the country, which will serve as a source demonstrating the use of mobile phones and audio content for communities, using local languages.