This year’s OURMedia conference was held in Africa for the first time, specifically in Ghana, from August 11-15 2008. There were over 100 participants, including academics, journalists, community development specialists, researchers, and NGO representatives from all over the world.
The theme of the five-day workshop was Identity, Inclusion, and Innovation — Alternative Communication in a Globalized World. Farm Radio International was well represented. Modibo Coulibaly from AFRRI Mali, Benjamin Fiafor from AFRRI Ghana, and Helen Hamley Odame from Farm Radio International Canada participated, through their presentations, contribution to a panel discussion, and the registration of new Farm Radio Weekly subscribers. Also in attendance were representatives from some AFRRI partner stations such as FADECO-Tanzania, Radio Ada, Simli from Ghana, and many Farm Radio Weekly subscribers from across Africa.
Farm Radio’s two presentations in French and English centred around AFRRI (the African Farm Radio Research Initiative) and Farm Radio Weekly and dealt with the topics of “Support to Journalists and Building the Capacity of Farm Radio Broadcasters.” The presentations raised questions about sustainability of the AFRRI project, the capacity of community radio stations, and the challenges of developing campaigns in multiple languages, among others.
The conference also provided the opportunity to meet new people and interact with key players in the media scene. There were many interesting presentations relevant to our work, such as “The Practice of Participatory Media Production as a Tool of Self Empowerment and Social Inclusion,” “Community Radio Identity, Inclusion, and Innovation,” and “Including the Often Excluded: Community Radio as an Instrument in Ensuring Marginalized Women’s Inclusion in Social Development Processes.” This and many other presentations will be available on the Our Media website (http://ourmedianetwork.org/ ).