ToroDev, Rwenzori Region, Uganda

Programme to enhance radio broadcasts on rural development

Promoting Strategic Rural Community Radio Broadcasting for Innovation & Entrepreneurship / Business Skills Development in Rwenzori Region

Partner Organisation:
Address: Toro Development Network (ToroDev), Plot 13, Rukidi III Street, P.O. Box 161, Fort Portal, Uganda

Project Duration:
November 2010 - October 2012

ToroDev is a community based NGO established in 2005 to promote ICT4D research, lobbying and advocacy, training and technical expertise that improves access and use of appropriate ICT's for sustainable gender sensitive socio-economic community development in the rural Rwenzori region of Western Uganda.

Project Objective
Access to reliable, timely and relevant content information in rural areas of Uganda, particularly in the Rwenzori area is a "thorn in the side" of the region's socio-economic development. When it comes to marginalised groups like rural women and youth, the situation is aggravated. If used strategically, community radios have the potential to address the challenge of equitable access to information and knowledge sharing for development. But, the local stations in the Rwenzori region show a remarkable lack of special community development programming which could promote agricultural production. The project supported by Stem van Afrika therefore aims to improve community radio broadcasting, in order to further economic knowledge and information of rural women and youth.

Actions and Schedule
So far, the following activities have been implemented:

  • Realisation of seven "knowledge sharing workshops" targeting rural women farmers and the youth, as well as local government staff and district councillors, to raise and improve their understanding of the relevance of rural radio broadcasting for promoting economic development in the region.
  • Realisation of six training measures for 180 rural women and youth entrepreneurs, on how to promote their small-scale business on radio.
  • Conducting consultative meetings with eight FM radio managers, to lobby them to improve broadcasting for private enterprise development.
  • Realisation of a three-day training workshop for forty-six radio practitioners from eleven radio stations. The workshop was facilitated by PANOS Eastern Africa and the Uganda Journalist Union, and focused on designing pro-rural radio programmes, the role of the government in the socio-economic development of rural communities, the establishment and strengthening of listeners' clubs, etc. 
  • Creation of eight radio listeners' clubs in the Rwenzori Region.
  • Production and broadcasting of a two-hour weekly radio talk show on Better FM/Fort Portal (January to June 2012).
  • Establishment of the regional Rwenzori Journalists Forum.

Results so far
Through the knowledge sharing workshops, crucial information and data on the local audience (such as their content demands and listening habits) was collected and shared with the local radio stations. Participants of the workshops gained knowledge on the role of radio, and were empowered with skills on how to lobby the local leadership to provide relevant services, which promote rural economic development.  A Rwenzori Journalist Forum was created for continued information sharing, advocacy, and lobbying local
leaders on private enterprise development.
Increased networking was created between rural entrepreneurs and FM radio staff through listeners' club platforms and broadcasting of respective programmes on eight rural FM radio stations.
Through the consultative meetings conducted in July 2011, eight FM radio station managers committed themselves to improving support through facilitation to their radio journalists, so as to improve broadcasting for small-scale business development through further on-job training and improved funding for research for better reporting.

(Last Update: 15.5. 2012)