DRP conducts assessments of the media landscape – local, regional, and countrywide – with local and international partners who are interested in growing media coverage, content, and professionalism in developing countries. For instance, through on-site visits and research, DRP assessed the community radio sector in Kenya and made recommendations on how to develop the sector. In Malawi, DRP identified stations that are best situated for developing health programs for youth and in Mongolia, DRP created a plan to support the rural radio sector.
DRP strengthens the quality of radio programming and stations. It works with local radio stations that have independent voices and explicit development objectives. DRP tailors its support to the needs of the station, with a focus on program excellence that leads to more vibrant, participatory communities.
Tailored engagements could include: outreach with community partners; surveying the technical capacities of stations; assessing programming content and needs; creating Program Toolkits to support targeted programming (composed of scientific facts on issues, lists of experts and officials to interview, and audience interaction tools utilizing social media and other communication tools); and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
Empowering Community Radio Stations
DRP holds multi-stakeholder workshops to train reporters and station managers to explain complex issues in a way listeners can understand. Workshops also include basic journalism training, interviewing techniques, writing narration, story development, and digital production skills. DRP workshops also feature field trips where skilled trainers observe and mentor reporters in a live setting and assist them in assembling radio programs.
Awareness Raising and Behavior Change Communication
This is one of DRP’s signature training programs that provide station staff with the skills they need to run a healthy radio station. The curriculum is customized to meet the specific needs of each station, addressing station management, programming, journalism, community engagement, and evaluation. The skills they develop help to ensure continued community commitment and long-term sustainability for the station.
Community Radio Station Sustainability Training
DRP assists stations in forming radio listening clubs to provide input to their regular radio programs. The clubs, which get together each week and listen to radio programs, are usually all male and all female so that individuals feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Made up of 10 or so people each, listening clubs contribute their ideas to program producers. For instance, a club might suggest programs on cervical cancer screening or the impact that climate change has on girls and women – forcing them to carry water longer distances.
Radio Listening Clubs
DRP assists stations in organizing and hosting community gatherings where discussions and demonstrations are held on project-related topics. Farmers may participate in demonstrations on rain harvesting or organic farming. Youth may hold discussions with parents and community leaders about the need for dialogue on sexual reproductive health issues. Various stakeholders participate – including village chiefs, school officials, extension officers, religious leaders and community members. Oftentimes, the stations broadcast these events live.
DRP produces weekly Bulletins for radio stations. Each Bulletin is country-specific – researched and written by in-country specialists. These Bulletins allow DRP to focus on a specific issue each week. For instance, in Zambia, the focus has been on climate change. In Malawi, the Bulletins have explored issues relating to sexual reproductive health issues. Each week, the Bulletins focus on a problem and possible solutions with production tips, a list of interview questions and contact information for possible interviews.
DRP conducts baseline and follow-up surveys to assess program impact and behavior change as a result of program interventions. Utilizing in-country evaluators who speak the local language and understand the culture, survey samples can range from 20 to 75 individuals in a community. Evaluations often include interviews with community leaders and other stakeholders. Questionnaires and interviews are generally conducted in person, although DRP has also used SMS and other forms of outreach to collect data.