Cameroon radio stations seek best multimedia kit for rural villages

Protege QV - Promotion of Technologies that Guarantee Environment and a better Quality of Life - is a Cameroonian NGO created in 1995 in conformity with the local regulations. It aims to promote individual and collective initiatives to induce rural development, protect the environment and to improve community well-being. Avis Momeni, Executive Director of Protégé QV, introduces his organisation to us and then describes an exciting and vital project.

Protégé QV uses information, obtained through group discussions, documents, publications and exhibitions, training (by means of workshops) and research, as guidelines to implement our projects. Funding comes from products produced out of Protégé QV's own expertise, members’ contributions and subsidies. In the past some of projects have been financed by the Global Knowledge Partnership, the World Bank, French Cooperation in Cameroon, and the United States and Japanese Embassies in Cameroon.

A permanent team of ten works at Protege QV and, depending on the project, we can recruit some personnel temporarily. We work in collaboration with the Cameroon Government and other NGOs, eg, Alternative Santé, Environment Recherche Action (ERA), and Comité d’Action pour les Droits de l’Enfant et de la Femme (CADEF). We are, in addition, members of the NETAID network and of Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP).

What has been achieved so far?

The short list is...

  • workshops to reinforce the capacities of political women for the legislative elections in 2002 (1998, 1999);
  • training for 30 women group leaders on how to implement and run micro-enterprises (1998, 1999);
  • workshops for women groups on the implementation of income- generating activities using an improved meat-smoking method (permanent activity since 1998);
  • training of the local blacksmiths on how to introduce improved wood stoves (1999);
  • training of the first batch of development volunteers (2001);
  • training of disabled people to help them create income-generating activities in silk-screen painting and stamp-making (2002-2003);
  • long-distance training of rural women in the upper nkam division through radio programmes on family health, income generating activities and local leadership (2003).
What are the challenges faced in the new project?

Most economic players do not always know where to seek necessary information relating to their micro-enterprises. Either the sources of information are far away from the users, or the users do not receive all the information which they need. Some are even unaware of the information and the legal obligations necessary to practice their income-generating activity. This lack of information very much affects women micro-entrepreneurs of the rural and urban areas.

Within the framework of the project “Small-business training for women in Cameroon using radio programmes” representatives of Protege QV and two trainers carried out a field trip on April 30, 2007 in the rural localities of Dschang and Fotouni to hand over material and equipment to two radio stations.

A partnership was established between Protege QV and each of the two radio stations and it is within the framework of this partnership that materials and equipment were put at the radios’ disposal.

Mindful of the fact that nearly 70% of households in Cameroon have a radio set, the project that Protege QV is carrying out under the auspices of the Commonwealth Connects Programme, intends to place information at the disposal of both urban and rural women: not just any kind of information but the type that could help them improve their income-generating activities.

This is in turn achieved by reinforcing the capacities of women micro-entrepreneurs in the rural and urban areas, through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), particularly by means of radio broadcasting.

Multimedia for improving radio shows

The strategy chosen to improve our radio stations is to support community radio stations to plan radio shows for exactly this purpose. Protege QV developed a tool called the Multimedia Resource Kit (MMRK) to this end. Radio Fotouni and Radio Yemba in the Western province of Cameroon tested it.

Apart from drafting the programming for radio shows, a seminar workshop was also held to identify the needs in information and training of present and future women micro-entrepreneurs.

Outcomes to measure technical capabilities

The transmission, listening, follow-up and evaluation workshop will come later in the year. This last step is definitely of interest to make sure Protege QV improves a final version of the MMRK.

A workshop on the use of the MMRK with the two pilot radio stations is expected at year’s end. This will involve the installation of the MMRK on the respective websites.

At the end of the project the results we await will be measured by the increase in economic productivity of the female micro-enterprises. It also goes without saying that the technical capabilities of the pilot radio stations’ staff will have increased. “We sincerely hope that we can excite the passion of these radio stations to use ICT by downloading programmes from the Multimedia Resource Kit,” said Avis Momeni, present in Fotouni.

Image

Avis Momeni, Executive Director of Protege QV handing over material to radio Fotouni

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