Daniel Makasi | August 17, 2020
Journalists from seven countries in Central Africa are collaborating with Collectif des Radios et Télévisions Communautaires du Nord-Kivu (CORACON), an organization for community radio and television located in North Kivu, DRC. These journalists come from Rwanda, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic, and Cameroon.
All of the more than 100 journalists produce programs that promote farming and rural development, and fight against gender-based violence. They are also raising awareness of COVID-19, and offering verified information to communities that need it.
Since December 2019, CORACON has been facilitating discussions with radio stations in Central Africa on a WhatsApp group called “RRI Afrique Centrale.” In this group, CORACON shares resources on best practices for agriculture and radio broadcasting.
This successful work is a partnership between CORACON and Farm Radio International. Farm Radio develops radio resources on farming and rural development, which it shares with radio stations across Africa. This includes news stories, drama scripts, broadcaster how-to guides, and opportunities for training.
Jacques Kakukule Vagheni is the coordinator of CORACON. He says the objective of working with a network of journalists is to enable them to exchange experiences and opportunities. With Farm Radio, CORACON mobilizes radio stations that are interested in broadcasting news on agriculture, gender, and rural life. These stations not only collaborate with CORACON, but have the opportunity to be Farm Radio International partners.
In recent weeks, expert guests have been invited to join the WhatsApp group to answer broadcasters’ questions. Some members of the WhatsApp group “RRI Afrique Centrale” are from Cameroon, and they are excited to be interacting with expert guests from DRC, as well as other journalists. Broadcaster Richard Ndi is from Khambe in northwestern Cameroon, and is excited by this learning opportunity. He works for Radio Communautaire Donga Mantung.
Mr. Ndi says: “It’s awesome for me, particularly when I can share experiences on agricultural practices from your region [with my listeners], which has the same climate as us here. Many experts from your region are easily accessible to radio stations and journalists, which is a strength for a program for sensitizing farmers.”
Foka Mapagne from Radio Pala in Chad also appreciates connecting with other journalists in Farm Radio’s network. He says, “What others share from their countries allows me to reflect on and improve my work.”
Since June 2020, Farm Radio International has been offering an emergency fund for radio stations in Africa affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To receive the funds, stations must be a Farm Radio partner. CORACON has facilitated applications to Farm Radio’s network and to the emergency fund. The participation agreement is available by email and WhatsApp. You can also find a participation agreement at: www.farmradio.fm.
In July, nine stations benefited from the emergency funds in order to address the impact of COVID-19 on farming, the economy, and marginalized groups such as women, children, people living with a disability, and others.
Farm Radio selected six stations in DRC and three in Cameroon to receive the emergency funds. CORACON assisted in promoting the fund and coordinating with the recipients. There were more than 40 applications from stations in Central Africa.
r. Vagheni from CORACON is asking Farm Radio to increase the emergency funding in order to assist more radio stations. There are many stations that have not been able to broadcast since the pandemic.
CORACON hopes, with the support of Farm Radio, to strengthen the quality of radio productions for women and men farmers. Some stations don’t have any programs for this audience. In rural areas, journalists often find it difficult to reach experts. But through facilitated WhatsApp discussions, journalists in the Farm Radio network will have the opportunity to ask questions to experts. And these experts can offer information on the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, the economy, and the livelihoods of rural people.
This story was originally written by CORACON, Farm Radio’s focal point in Central Africa. Learn more about CORACON and their work: https://coracondrc.com/
Farm Radio International has WhatsApp groups for broadcasting partners across Africa, where broadcasters can share experiences and resources to learn from each other. In these groups, we have invited expert guests to share their knowledge on various topics connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, including health, nutrition, gender issues, agriculture, and more. To join a WhatsApp group, please send an email with your name, station, and phone number to: firstname.lastname@example.org.