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Local voices unite across Ethiopia when 35 community radio stations gather

Team image from Radio Days in November 2023

Community radio is still the most popular medium for receiving information in Ethiopia. For many people in rural areas, it is also the only way of accessing information. So when 35 community radio stations from across Ethiopia gather at a conference for the first time to discuss and learn together in their local languages, it has the potential to impact millions of people across the country. 

The Radio Days Ethiopia 2023was the first conference of its kind arranged in Ethiopia and hosted a total of 76 participants from 35 community radio stations from across the country. The pioneering event draws inspiration from the successful Radio Day Africa-event held in South Africa. The conference was attended by experts from South Africa, Norway and Sweden, who also taught master classes and participated in panels. 

Esmael Tuha, Arogoba Community Radio Manager and the President of the Ethiopian Community Radio Broadcasters Association (ECRBA).

This was a unique event for community radios across Ethiopia! We were able to meet to discuss our challenges, opportunities, and share learnings. It was phenomenal to be able to discuss this freely in our local language,says Esmael Tuha, Arogoba Community Radio Manager and the President of the Ethiopian Community Radio Broadcasters Association (ECRBA), who was one of the participants at the conference.

“The master class sessions really helped participants not only by providing valuable insights into new technologies such as podcasting and AI, but also enriched their understanding of storytelling, programming, and sustainability” he continued. 

”We have never had a chance to attend a conference like this before – it was inclusive and tried to find solutions to problems as well as giving us a chance to share experiences. It gave us strength to continue to build better community radios across Ethiopia. Thank you Fojo!” says Community Radio Manager, Motolomi Timotios from Wolgetta Community Radio, who was also one of the attendees.

The Ethiopian Community Radio Broadcasters Association with the support of Fojo Media Institute, under the Fojo-IMS Media Reform Programme, organised the Radio Days Ethiopia Conference on 8-9 November at the Grand Palace Hotel in Addis Ababa.The conference was supported by DW Akademie and Wits Journalism, and the Swedish and Danish Embassies in Ethiopia. It aimed at celebrating and empowering community radio stations in Ethiopia.

Mohammed Indris, Director General of the Ethiopian Media Authority, and donor delegations also attended the conference. They appreciated that the gathering focused on community radio as radio is still the most popular medium for many in Ethiopia. In rural areas it is the main means of receiving information, making it every more important.

According to Sofie Gullberg, Fojo’s Programme Manager in Ethiopia, this event was a crucial platform to bring community radios together across Ethiopia to celebrate, share learnings and discuss joint solutions. She also highlighted the successes of the Fojo-IMS Media Viability Programme that has been implemented in Ethiopia over the last years and mentioned the Wits Radio Management Course that was held in 2022 and 2023 as a good example of building capacity and regional expertise.

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