Developing Radio Partners envisions enduring media services that enrich individuals' lives, giving them voice to be active, involved citizens and ultimately transform their communities. We focus particularly where the need for information is greatest, and where radio can have the greatest impact, often in rural areas, in countries with legacies of poverty and political repression. We believe that building a healthy media sector increases the economic and civic well-being of people and contributes to creating a healthy nation.
We are focused on solutions, things that work. DRP gives particular attention to the key development topics of environment, climate change, agriculture, health, and governance.
DRP strengthens the quality of radio programming & stations. We work with local radio stations that have independent voices & explicit development objectives.
DRP works alongside station staff to achieve programming excellence that leads to more vibrant, participatory communities.
DRP is not a funding agency.
DRP accomplishes its mission through three core programs:
Healthy Stations Training: This is DRP’s comprehensive training program and provides station staff with the skills they need to run a healthy radio station. These skills help to ensure continued community commitment and long-term sustainability for the station. Each curriculum, which is customized to meet the specific needs of the stations, covers the following five topics: station management, programming, journalism, community engagement, and evaluation.
Good Ideas Support Services (currently in development): DRP is focused on solutions, things that work. We seek out the most appropriate and effective practices, such as conservation farming, reforestation, health campaigns and development tools such as new stoves, mobile technology as well as effective uses of radio for development and share this with stations through various platforms. This is a bank of resources that DRP staffers produce, gather, and distribute to radio stations through different means, including e-mail and a soon-to-be developed Good Ideas Network website.
Media Assessments: DRP conducts assessments of the media landscape—local, regional, and countrywide—for international development organizations interested in growing media coverage, content, and professionalism in developing countries. Through onsite visits and research, DRP assessed the community radio sector in Kenya with recommendations to the funder on how to develop the sector. In Mongolia, DRP, with funding from the World Bank, created a plan to support the rural radio sector.
5. Ongoing monitoring, evaluation, & Program Toolkit creation
DRP fills a special niche at the intersection of international development, communications strategy and journalism. We employ a collaborative, grassroots approach in order to let local communities determine and put in place effective radio programming.
1. We work in partnership partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local radio stations to develop a comprehensive plan to strengthen independent radio. This begins with an assessment of the enabling environment, including an evaluation of government policies, an analysis of existing stations, and a stocktaking of stakeholders and station managers. We also meet with citizens about their needs and media use in order to form a closer link between the people and the programming.
2. We create specific training plans tailored to the needs of the local community. We identify experienced consultants, both from the U.S. and abroad, who we can draw upon to implement these training programs.
3. We are engaged in research and on-site case studies on the sustainability of radio stations in southern Africa.
4. We work as co-creators with local stations, joining their expertise of their communities with our experiences working in the broader world, in a spirit of mutual respect. With local actors, we help create community-driven agencies that can aggregate resources and set professional standards for radio stations to ensure long-term sustainability for local stations.
5. We are advocates for the radio medium in development, to expand the vision of its possibilities for NGOs, multilateral institutions, and governments. We are a resource for those looking for examples of effective uses radio and techniques for community engagement. Our work is informed by broad field experience and focused research. We are both teachers and learners, continually seeking innovative and effective solutions to share with others.
DRP partners with international development organizations to share and implement best practices from this growing field. We are committed to seeking out and using the best methodologies for implementation in our practice.
Here in the US, radio listening is on the rise and reaches an audience representing nearly 93% of the population. In a DRP Report Why Radio Matters, Mary Myers, a leading communications expert, in developing countries where the media landscape is far more limited, radio is “the most widespread mass-medium…. It is affordable, easy to use and ubiquitous. It brings news, music, and discussion to local people in their own languages in a convenient format, when and where they want it. Radio sets are portable, affordable, and overcome the problems of illiteracy and electrification.”
Radio not only brings information to people, it is unique in giving voice to citizens, to air and solve their problems through discussion, storytelling and radio plays. This is an unique strength of radio as a medium.
Radio is so important that, according to Words of Hope, a faith-based organization in Michigan, “the first item purchased by many citizens of developing countries is a radio. The second is shoes.”