Using Community Radio to enhance Rural Development: A Case Study of Radio Chikaya in Eastern Province

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Tembo, Juliet
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Community radio in Zambia is empowering the rural communities with information that is assisting to transform the lives of the people for the better. For a long time now, the rural inhabitants have been deprived of information mainly because there were only two radio stations broadcasting countrywide namely; ZNBC Radio One and Radio Two. In some places the signal is not very clear and for many, there was the challenge of language, where people could not understand the broadcasts.Community radio has given the rural community a voice. With access to a voice, poor people are able to participate in debate or to express their opinions on public policies that affect them directly. With access to information poor people are aware of their rights and entitlements, are able to challenge decisions and gain the knowledge to take effective action to improve their conditions.Despite the increased number of community radio stations, they are still not being effectively used as a partner in development. This study investigated if community radio should be used as a tool to enhance rural development.Radio Chikaya was used as a case study and data was collected from Radio Chikaya staff and listeners. Data was collected using quantitative and qualitative methods and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).The findings of this study indicate that community radio does have the necessary influence to propel community development in rural areas and therefore, it should be used to enhance rural development. The people in Lundazi District use Radio Chikaya as the main source of news and information. The radio station offers programming in response to the needs of the community and the community participates by writing and phoning in. Broadcasting is mainly in the local languages to cater for everyone. It is recommended that Government and other co-operating partners use community radio to ensure that there is sustainable development especially in the rural areas.
Community Radio , Communty Radio-Rural Development , Radio Chikaya-Eastern Province