ANIC is looking for ideas that will transform the way that African media work. This means that your idea should offer significant and tangible improvements to existing tools or techniques, or should propose new ways for African journalists to gather news, tell stories, engage with audiences, or sustain media organisations.
Ideas that have the potential to be replicated or that could scale continentally will have an advantage.
There is no mobile, monetized radio greeting system. Internews undertook a pilot project to implement this system last year but due to technical challenges, it was not fully implemented.
In Kenya community radio stations are the most widespread and used form of media, especially in rural areas where reliable information is scarce. Community radio stations are prohibited by law from earning revenue through advertising so they are often underfunded and dependent on NGO or private donations.
Our solution proposes to leverage systems already in place: the broadcasting of greeting messages from the community, and m-Pesa, a mobile banking system that is widely used in Kenya. Since radio stations use greeting cards that force people to physically visit the radio station, this system will save time by allowing users to directly place and pay their greeting messages with one phone call and listen to their own voice on the radio, instead of the having a journalist to read the messages for them.
Internews is conducting a baseline survey to assess the use of greeting messages and the use of the mobile system by the 5 radio stations it worked with in the previous project implemented in 2011. This assessment has provided a clear idea of the potential of this system, while all 5 radio stations involved in it have been very responsive and gave positive feedback in return. Internews has been exploring potential technical partnership with Wezatele, a Kenyan software company, to build the interface and resume working with those radios, namely Koch FM in Nairobi and Sayare Radio and its 4 satellite radios in Western Kenya.
Internews, in collaboration with Mobikash, created the entire infrastructure of the system and tested it with the radio station. The advertisement strategy and the educational program for the radio stations to gather users has been tested and created. The radio stations have already created a pricing and categorization system for SMS to diversify the product they can offer with this service.
During the testing and adoption period, Internews will finance the stations and of course provide the system and training at no cost. Once the system is being used on a larger scale, revenue generated by the purchased greetings will allow the radio stations to cover their expenses independently.