By Staff Reporter
FORTY community members drawn from Bulilima and Mangwe rural communities have been equipped with skills to establish and run vibrant citizen media clubs in their communities to enhance access to development oriented information and to stimulate active citizen dialogue and engagement.
Plumtree Development Trust (PDT) and Getjenge Community Radio Initiative (GCRI) Programs Coordinator Divine Dube said the clubs will work closely with citizen journalists in facilitating community dialogue and access to information on community development issues.
While traditionally, citizen clubs use radio as channel for communication, these clubs will instead, take advantage of New Media platforms to gather and share information within their communities.
Speaking at the training, PDT and GCRI director Thomas Sithole said the citizen clubs will improve access to information in rural areas, especially for women and youths whose voices are often marginalised.
“They (clubs) will ensuring that community members actively participate in the development discourse in their communities and that they are able to shape their own futures through coming up with community driven initiatives such as building of community schools and clinics, establishment of feedlots,” he explained.
PDT and GCRI are jointly running a citizen media programme in Bulilima, Mangwe and Plumtree dubbed “Rural Communities Access to Information Project: Amplifying Citizen Voices and Revitalising Citizen Participation Through New Media”.
The programme is separately supported by the Humanist Institute for Development cooperation (HIVOS) and the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).
The programme seeks to empower citizen journalists and citizen media clubs to drive positive social change in their communities through community information sharing, dialogue and active engagement on issues of public concern.