Passing crucial information to the people of Magwi
"A radio station that improves the standard of living and passes crucial information to the people of Magwi." Initiated and implemented by Xchange Perspectives for DED, the Rural Youth Voices Project Magwi supports people to share their views through music, radio, and print productions. Radio Magwi FM 92.5 builds channels of dialogue for exchanging knowledge and visions, an essential pillar of peace.
Watch the project documentary film.
The idea of the Rural Youth’s Voices Project Magwi first sprang towards the end of 2007, to then drafting and the submission of the proposal for its implementation by Xchange Perspectives in November 2008. The idea for establishing a FM radio in Magwi that would communicate the concerns of the youth and the community in general by the very inhabitants of this area came as an answer to the needs of such communities like Magwi. These needs revolve around benefiting from media infrastructure aimed and governed by peace values and processes, and as well the need of the people to feel ownership of such infrastructure. As such, a community-based FM radio station was the envisioned entry point to answer the needs of the community in Magwi. The radio station was then to come as an important additional pillar to the existing Reintegration and Development Centre (RDC) in Magwi, implemented by the German Development Service (DED). The RDC experienced a clear insufficiency in disseminating valuable information that remained inaccessible for the majority of the people. Through this project, the FM radio station now fills this gap. Particular appreciation and gratitude goes to DED for their commitment to the project, their high levels of cooperation, and especially to Ms. Beate Mueller-Grunewald for her constant look out on the project’s good progression.
The implementation of the project started on the 18th of January 2010. The duration of the project was of six (6) weeks and went through different phases, from choosing the participants, training them in Media for Peace, radio- and music production, providing the necessary technical skills operating the equipment, to finally putting up the FM radio and officially starting the broadcasting of Radio Magwi FM 92.5 on the 1st of March 2010. The trainers received the application of over thirty-five (35) potential participants, out of which eighteen (18) were selected to participate in the project, three of those specializing in music production. The selection showed to be difficult as all the candidates outlaid great anticipation and desire to be part of the project. The criteria that determined the selection were level of English proficiency, a level that had to enable the participants to both understand and be understood by the trainers. The number of local spoken languages was as well qualified as an asset to have, as it is of much help especially regarding the collection of information. Other key components to the choice of the participants were the willingness to work on a voluntary basis, the capacity to interact and to work in cooperation within a team, and a communicated eagerness to learn and acquire a relatively wide variety of concepts and skills. The group of participants as well reflected a gender and ethnical equitable selection choice.
It is crucial to note that none of the participants had any prior knowledge about neither the content nor the skills this project exposed them to. In the duration of six (6) weeks, these youth were able to successfully operate all different technical and technological equipment involved in radio journalism and music production. The achievements of the participants encourage the vision of Xchange Perspectives upon which this project was first conceived. Xchange Perspectives firmly believes in the ability of the youth, through training, to have a voice that communicates the concerns, solutions and visions of their own communities, and the Magwi community-based youth radio station lives as a practical reality of this vision. The initial exposure of the young journalists of Radio Magwi to concepts and values of peace makes of this radio station an important channel for communicating peaceful values of positive social change.
Another important achievement that came visible through the progression of the training was how the conscious or/and subconscious ethnical differences came to dissipate in the midst of increased levels of cooperation. At the start of the training, the seating positions of the participants were visibly governed by their respective ethnical affiliations. Such a separation in space, reflecting deeper psycho-social divisions, came to disappear, and the final days of the training were a living proof of how exposure to ‘the other’, setting common goals, and engaging in common and shared processes makes the ephemeral yet dangerous ethnical animosities dissolve. The pronounced sense of shared ownership and responsibility conjugated with cooperation were the essential binding forces of the present team of Radio Magwi.
The future of Radio Magwi will be governed by many local, regional and national dynamics. The level of expertise of the journalists is bound to develop, with increased exposure and involvement in the field, provided that future additional trainings are planned. The potential of Radio Magwi to dispense peace messages is significant, as such the need to keep peace as the first and most important guiding line is crucial. Falling in between the existent lines of adversity, individual interests, and power struggle is by no means a danger to be neglected or discarded as insignificant. Past genocidal tragedies, where radio broadcasts added more fuel to the fire, are freshly torturous and impose care, caution and responsibility on all involved actors.
To get a holistic and clear picture of the significance and role Radio Magwi FM 92.5 plays, the project report highlights different facets of the project from the general situation in Magwi County prior to the inception of the project, the various achievements and results, the resources invested, the different challenges faced all through the project and to finally future recommendations for the good continuation of Radio Magwi. >>> Download the full project report