Community broadcasters collaborate

20 August 2020 | Events

The Namibia Community Broadcasters Network (NCBN) recently hosted an online listening session through its coordination centre to share with online listeners insights into what and how community media has been covering issues around Covid-19.
The session, attended via Zoom, has become a medium of collaboration for community radio journalists since May, as they participate in online newsroom meetings every Monday for their Community Media Focus on Covid-19 project.
The project, supported by the European Union (EU), was initiated in April and saw six radio stations / journalists covering four regions including the towns of Gobabis, Ondangwa, Oranjemund and Opuwo.
The aim was to bring together and activate community radio journalists, making them activists and advocates within their respective communities to ensure knowledge and stimulate discussion about the importance of stopping the coronavirus pandemic.
The six participants were Maria Namupala (Shipi FM), Edwin Kamutjemo (Omaheke Radio), Vernon van Wyk (NUST FM), Uakuturua Kambaekua (Kunene Radio), Johannes Orr (BASE FM) and Rejoice Heita (Oranjemund FM).
Supported by NCBN via the EU, the community media journalists received airtime for online collaboration and communication. They hosted weekly meetings via Zoom, shared newsroom ideas and uploaded their work online as means of radio content exchange.

Informative content
Furthermore, the project created informative radio content in English and vernaculars to raise awareness, update and educate small towns and rural communities about Covid-19 and its impact on livelihoods, subsequently giving local updates to the nation.
One key element has been the bottom-up approach to inform the nation from community (citizens, focus groups, leaders) levels giving situations, issues, feedback and recommendations; rather than the usual top down streaming of information.
The community activists gained fulfilment by producing and airing weekly radio formats containing such information as well as getting their communities to express their wishes.
They also worked with national and local stakeholders such as the National Covid-19 Communication Centre, the ministries of health and ICT, Police Departments, Regional Councils and media partners such as NAMPA and NBC to receive and or extend credible and timeous information.

Taking the lead
This project was initiated and headed by Levi Katire, Amor Bason and Tjipenandjambi Hoveka from the NCBN Centre in Windhoek, collaborating mainly with Susan Lewis from the EU.
“Our passion is to continue supporting community media to the extent that we can to ensure that there is hope, excitement for work and growth for these young journalists,” Lewis said.
For continuity, the project was fruitful and used as basis to inspire the ongoing 6-month DW Akademie supported by the biweekly radio program This Is It Namibia, produced by Rochelle Peter Mjila. The show still focuses on Covid-19 using the same journalists and radio formats, but will eventually be geared to covering the upcoming elections.

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