Developing Radio Partners is improving lives by empowering community-based broadcast and social media worldwide. Programming supports local efforts to raise awareness about critical issues, share information, and support changes in behavior. DRP engagements help reduce health risks, curb environmental degradation, empower women and strengthen communities.
What We Do
DRP employs a multifaceted approach to empower local communities through direct outreach, community engagement, and media support.
Radio and More
Community radio is exploding across the developing world. In just six years, the number of community radio stations in Africa grew by 1,400%. Radio is often the only source of local, timely information for well over a billion people in the developing world. Radio is accessible, irrespective of age, gender, income or literacy. It is a proven, cost-effective tool for behavior change.
Today, DRP programming has expanded beyond radio to include social media, SMS messaging, WhatsApp and other forms of communication – with an eye toward meeting community members where they get their information.
Developing Radio Partners “is essentially using the model Bill Siemering and others used to create NPR, to help broadcasters build healthy stations that strengthen communities.”
– Chestnut Hill Local
DRP works with local communities, international development organizations, development agencies, and media development organizations – both leading international initiatives and partnering with local and international stakeholders.
DRP has a network of program managers, local coordinators, and local and international trainers with seasoned experience in community media and behavior change communication, and successful track records in raising awareness and impacting outcomes about critical local, regional and national issues. Their experience ranges from Africa, Asia and Central Asia, to Central and Eastern Europe, to the Middle East and North Africa.
Developing Radio Partners: Core Capacities
Media Assessments 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.
Empowering Community Radio Stations
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.
“Our partnership [with DRP] has empowered us, technically. We can now produce quality programming relating to the impact of climate change on our environment… We stay committed with the partnership whether funded or not.”
- George Atabong, Lebialem Radio, Menji, Cameroon
Awareness Raising and Behavior Change Communication.
DRP holds multi-stakeholder workshops to train reporters and station managers to explain complex issues in a way listeners can understand. Workshops also includes 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.
Community Radio Station Sustainability Training
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.
Radio Listening Clubs
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.
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.
“I have signed bylaws aimed at curbing early marriages such that parents who offer their under-aged daughters to get married shall be liable to a fine of two goats.”
- Timbiri, Traditional Authority, Nkhata Bay, Malawi – after engaging with DRP-supported forums
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.
Target Issue Experience
DRP programs have strengthened communities’ abilities to address a range of local issues to raise awareness, foster behavior change, spread information, and engage in community dialogue. The DRP methodology can be applied to any priority community need. Issues addressed through
recent programs include:
Agricultural Risk Reduction
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
Governance and Open Elections
Increasing Farmer Income
Solving Community Problems
Youth Health Services
Country Program Experience
DRP maintains a network of community media professionals with direct experience throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union.