Low-Cost and Practical Solutions for Enhancing Rural Community Radio in Kenya

With over 80% of Africans having access to  radio and a little over 50% having access to television, these technologies have been in the spotlight for use in the developing world. Although these may be considered “old” technologies, using radio and television as a means for ICT4D does not mean not to bring “newer” technologies into developing countries like Africa, but more stresses that ICT initiatives should not overlook radio and television.  I read an interesting initiative taking place in Kenya called KenTel that offers a low-cost solution to enhance community radios and/or community telecentres that lack broadband internet connectivity. These programs utilizes a service offered by Twitter for those in rural areas with limited  connectivity and/or runs on simple feature phones that allows them to receive tweets as short text messages (SMS). “Each country has a special short code which they can use to configure any phone to receive tweet on feature phones.” The program involves compiling a list of listeners from the community, who then are instructed over radio how to subscribe to this Twitter feature. Using this Twitter channel, the community radio can remind listeners of upcoming broadcasts/programs, provide a feedback mechanism, and conduct surveys among other small services. This channel mobilizes the listeners ultimately enhancing the capabilities of the local radio to reach its listeners and achieve greater and more efficient means of communication and media.  I thought this was an especially neat program in the large difference it makes utilizing ICTs at an extremely low cost with only each tweet costing $o.o125 USD.



One response to “Low-Cost and Practical Solutions for Enhancing Rural Community Radio in Kenya

  • vcahen

    It’s an interesting topic for now a days in the western world we have similar tools however they aren’t twitter messages. We get the “notifications” directly to our phones. Is it more costly or less costly to send it as a broadband message?

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