Community radio: Essential for citizen’s participation

By María TeresaAveggio, Programme Manager

Violence is rarely the result of just one cause and this is true of the situation in Colombia.

The northern city of Barranquilla has been especially affected by urban violence generated on the one hand by society’s profound inequality and on the other by half a century of armed conflict. The situation is made worse by a culture of political corruption and non-participation of citizens that has created a fertile ground for more violence.

Using Community Radio in Building Collective Citizenship, a joint community radio project between local young people residents in two neighbourhoods in Barranquilla, Las Malvinas and El Bosque, and the Broadcasting Association Vokaribe was created by a group of young communicators and activists.

Supported by WACC under its Communication Rights programme, the project aimed to make visible the local, social and political processes underway in the area through better communication, and specifically community radio. Vokaribe felt that the “invisibility” of the processes contributes to deepening the perception that citizens in the area do not participate in the development of the city.

Lack of communication strategies by many of the local organizations as well as the lack of response by the local authorities prevented marginalised and vulnerable sectors in the city’s south-east continued from having a place on the public agenda. By joining forces with several local social organisations, Vokaribe embarked on a one-year programme to create, network, motivate and encourage participation on issues of community development.

Through the project, some 60 local people from a variety of social organisations, participated in the training workshops, mastered radio production techniques and developed content. A high percentage of women and young participants resulted in the opening up of spaces where traditionally these sectors had been absent.


As a result of the project FM Vokaribe 89.6 will start broadcasting in December 2012 and will cover upwards of 70 neighbourhoods in the south-west of the city of Barranquilla, an area which is home to around 60% of the city low income sectors.

For more information on Vokaribe Radio Comunitaria:
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Read full article in Spanish here…