What is the project about?
Citizens’ access to information and ability to express their opinions play an important role in the national development process. However, especially rural illiterate ethnic communities living below the poverty threshold often face challenges in participating in the dialogue. To support inclusive development and community awareness, UNDP and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) established the first community radio station in Khoun District, Xieng Khouang province in 2007. The bottom-up, two-way communication approach of community radio has been providing a platform for local people – including the marginalised and most vulnerable – to receive information relevant to their needs and interests, express their thoughts and issues, share knowledge, validate their culture and as a result, make informed decisions.
The innovative community radio project has then been extended to eight priority districts reaching out to around 300,000 people in their own ethnic languages, in rural and remote areas. As the previous project came to an end and to strengthen a collective impetus for greater public participation the new phase of support embarks on a two-fold task: it aims to secure a roadmap to full sustainability through established local ownership of existing community radios, possibly new ones thanks to additional and innovative partnership to extend the broadcasting coverage to more areas including underrepresented ethnic groups living in remote high-risk border districts in particular.
The overall goal of the project is for community radios to be sustainably managed at the local level and to further expand the number of stations and their outreach. By local perspective it means that the community radio station is independently run by a multi-sectoral group of community and district representatives, and able to generate income from various sources to fund its operations to deliver quality programmes.
Over the four-year period, the project will anchor on four interlocking outputs to direct the planning and implementation of programmes and activities towards full sustainability:
- Community media services scaled up to effectively deliver quality broadcasts by improving transmission capacities, expanding geographic coverage and increasing the number of listeners in remote rural areas where access to information and opportunities for public engagement remain limited.
- Local expertise in radio production and management strengthened through continuous capacity building, learning additional knowledge and sharing of skills at individual and institutional levels.
- Participatory advocacy and monitoring enhanced to popularize development concepts, the SDGs and national development priorities in a language preferred and understood by rural communities, and to create multiple channels to receive feedback and measure impact.
- Effective partnerships and mobilization enhanced to ensure financial, social and institutional stability by establishing local sustainability mechanisms and build long-term linkage between development partners and stakeholders.
- Duration: August 2017 – December 2021
- Geographic coverage: 5 provinces and possibly more
- Focus area: Governance / People’s participation
- Implementing partners: Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, and Community Radios with support from Provincial / District Departments and Offices of Information, Culture and Tourism