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Community radio and climate change

Community radio is run by and for communities in local languages, often with programming focused on issues at the heart of local development, such as climate change and environmental degradation.

Most initiatives linking community radio and climate change in the global South currently focus on the delivering information and messages to listeners about short and medium-term forecasts for farmers, alerts for extreme weather events, and messaging to discourage behaviour which degrades environmental assets. While these are valuable roles for communicating at local levels on climate change adaptation, community radio has the potential to do more. Examples of this include: strengthening citizens‘ voices, providing a space for knowledge sharing between communities, and even challenging the socio-political power relations that may contribute to some peoples’ vulnerability to climate impacts.

The resources and case studies highlighted in this key issues guide have been selected to help community partners, researchers, and decision-makers learn more about how the strengths of radio can be harnessed, to help address the local impacts of climate change and see examples of good practice already underway in developing countries.
Key Resource: Climate Airwaves: Community Radio, Action Research and Advocacy for Climate Justice in Ghana
Community radio is well recognised as a powerful vehicle for advocacy and social change in Africa, but its use in the field of climate change has remained very limited. This article discusses lessons learned to date from the Climate Airwaves project, an initiative aimed at developing new approaches for supporting community radio broadcasters to investigate, communicate, and engage in broader debates on the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities in Ghana.

Benefits of Community radio as a tool for social learning on climate change

Communication technology is being harnessed to bring social change in poor communities. Community radio initiatives give vulnerable people a voice, which enables them to create their own change and promote social learning. More...

Examples of good practice: Three case studies

Three case studies have been brought together from Mozambique, Ghana and Bangladesh. One initiative produces a radio drama with training for community radio journalists; another focuses on developing the capacity of broadcasters; while the third intiative offers climate related advice to farmers and fishermen. More...

Image credits: Nyani Quarmyne/ Climate change training with Ghana Community Radio Network | Ian Pringle | Ian Pringle/Radio station in India | HeartLover1717

Latest Documents

Radio as a development tool in Africa
M. Myers / International Development Research Centre 2008
Radio is still the dominant mass-medium in Africa with the widest geographical reach and the highest audiences compared with television (TV), newspapers and other information and communication technologies (ICTs). The role of radio as...
ICTs applications in responding to disasters
N.,T. Yap / Nexus for ICTs, Climate Change and Development 2011
Effective disaster response demands rapid access to reliable and accurate data and the capacity to assess, analyse and integrate information from varied sources. ICTs can obviously help, and this paper focuses on the role of ICTs in r...
Knowledge and development in ICTs in the climate change arena
P., P. Kalas (ed); A. Finlay (ed) / Association for progressive communication 2012
The publication explores the practical linkages between climate change, access to and sharing of information and knowledge, communication for development and ICTs in general. It editors specifically: provides an o...
The role of community radio in a changing climate
B. Harvey / International Journal of Communication 2011
Community radio is well recognised as a powerful vehicle for advocacy and social change in Africa, but its use in the field of climate change has remained very limited, and then largely for top-down transmission of information to comm...
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Reflections from African Broadcasters: Broadcasters discuss the potential contributions of community radio to climate change

Interview with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation: Using radio for rights-based approaches to climate change adaptation

Interview with Namibian Broadcasting Corporation: The challenges of translating climate change information to local languages