What does it mean to collaborate? Insights from our online discussion

What does it mean to collaborate? Insights from our online discussion

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From July 3 to July 28, YenKasa Africa is bringing together media organizations and stakeholder groups such as farmers’ organizations, extension workers, researchers, women’s and youth organizations, and other civil society organizations to discuss how collaboration can support effective rural communication services. The discussion is facilitated by Farm Radio International and mainly takes place via WhatsApp.

The discuss brings together more than 700 individuals.

In week 1, participants introduced themselves and offered what they believe “collaboration” means. It was a common understanding that collaboration is about different stakeholders working together to achieve a common goal. Radio is a mass communication media and we have stakeholders who wish to bring their message to the attention of the masses. One example is on World Blood Donor Day. Radio has the responsibility of informing the people about what blood donation means and how they can save lives by donating blood. Having collaboration with stakeholders in the health sector who will serve as resource person will make the job of the broadcaster easier.

Collaboration for effective rural communication includes the collective efforts and partnerships among various stakeholders to improve communication systems and infrastructure in rural areas. It can involve collaboration between government bodies, non-profit organizations, private sector entities, and local communities to address the challenges and gaps in rural communication and promote meaningful engagement. So by fostering these collaborations among various stakeholders, effective rural communication can be achieved, thereby enabling rural communities to access vital information, participating in socio-economic activities, and connecting with the wider world can also be achieved.

It can also, simply, involve sharing experiences and expertise that will lead to effective, people-oriented programs.

In week 2, participants shared what types of collaborations they are involved in, as well as the benefits and challenges. Radio broadcasters noted that they work with a wide range of organizations, including different government ministries, like health, agriculture, education, community development, social welfare and other institutions, CSOs, NGOs, their own audiences to get feedback, media houses, print and TV journalists, research institutions, and more. They also work with different station departments, and other team members as producers collaborate with presenters, announcers, studio engineers, etc.

Stakeholders noted that they often co-fund and co-design programming to promote a localization agenda or to talk about new farming practices, etc.

For broadcasters, the benefits of collaboration include:
– receiving the information given by institutions speaks to the needs of our communities;
– education from these sectors help the listeners, and also educate the entire public on important matters;
– resources mobilization when these institution bring programs on the radio they actually pay;
– producing productive programs for the radio to attract business;
– encouraging team work within the station and stakeholders;
– transparency on activities done within our stations;
– bringing diversity in terms of radio programs;
– learning new skills, including new program types, radio production skills;
– collaborating with journalists from different geographical locations reduces travel costs;
– time-saving, if tasks are divided;
– better problem-solving;
– access to stakeholders for interviews;
– programs better aligned with government or national approved standards thereby reducing misinformation;
– improved credibility and audience trust;
– improved peace-building dialogues and conflict resolution in the crisis affected areas in the state;
– and more

For stakeholders, the benefits of collaboration include:
– linkages to farmers ;
– integration for health education, including sensitization and awareness creation through radio talk-shows;
– ability to reach out to a larger target of people/farmers at a time;
– timely and a simple delivery of information within a shortest possible time;
– economically effective and sustainable;
– amplification of advocacy efforts and increased impact.

Discussion participants also noted the challenges of collaborating:
– On teamwork, there may be people with different ideologies and perceptions
– Broadcasting policies, rules and regulations fail the collaboration depending on the type of station involved, eg religious stations vs entertainment stations
– Sometimes it’s difficult to get the resource personnel from public institutions, disappointments because of work schedules, when invited departments are not able to make it.
– Weather especially rainfall sometime has an effect on people attending to the radio program.
– Slow teammates or those who never want to compromise and learn from others.
– Lack of continuous funding of programs production and also to reach out to more farmer communities.
– Commitment and discipline most likely becomes weak for some collaborators and that affects effectiveness and sustainability
– Most of the NGOs have changed the community mindset. They always give transport refund to their workshop/meeting participants so if you don’t have funds you can’t gather people.
– Poor communication skills for some of the stakeholders can lead to distorted information.
– Some resource person expect monetary gain from the radio station for sharing their knowledge.
– There is a challenge of continuous support and sustainability of such partnershipss
– The economy of media in many African countries is unstable, budget is smalls
– Language sometimes may be a barrier, if the resource person is not a local.
– For stakeholders, there are many radio stations and they end up failing to select which station to collaborate with.
– Timelines stakeholders and authorities set for the collaboration are usually short-term.

As one of the resource people for the discussion said, “Media work is team work. It is said that no man is an island. We all need one another to achieve great things. However, collaboration isn’t always easy to achieve…”

The discussion continues until July 28. In Week 3, we discuss two important sub-themes: gender equality and good interview skills. Here are some questions participants will be discussing:

1. What kind of collaboration is necessary to make sure radio programs address gender issues and include women? Do you have any examples from your own work you can share?

2. How can broadcasters prepare for an interview with someone with specific knowledge such as an extension officer, a researcher a gender specialist, the head of a farmers’ organization?

3. How can a subject matter specialist prepare for a radio interview?

4. What are some examples of successful and challenging radio interviews (both live and pre-recorded) you’ve been a part of?

Join the discussion: https://chat.whatsapp.com/EaeCWFfKwFxAzLQw1FoIut