When anyone speaks of the men, women and children residing in the rural areas in Zimbabwe and in this particular case Matabeleland North and South, the first thought that comes into one’s mind is backwardness. It is a presumed backwardness that is believed to be propagated by lack of development characterised by poor infrastructure, poor schools or no schools at all, water problems, poor health delivery and above all lack of information. The vernacular coinage that describes the situation in the rural areas is “Kwamnyam’ ubambile” meaning rural people are at the highest level of political and social exclusiveness.
Given this scenario, and more importantly the lack information, RADIO DIALOGUE embarked on an information project (TAKING MEDIA TO THE RURAL AREAS) in the rural areas of Matabeleland which aimed at bringing information packages to the rural communities in the form of newspapers and pre-packaged radio programmes. The project involved buying newspaper returns from Zimpapers and Munn Marketing and distributing them to the rural areas through the traditional rural transport system in the form of buses and mini-buses. Radio programmes were also produced, packaged on CDs and also distributed to the selected rural areas.
The project is influenced by lack of information that enables people to participate in national democratic processes in the rural areas. While the access to information in urban communities is relatively better, with some people affording newspapers, internet and other sources of information, the situation in rural areas is much worse, where radio reception is poor, and newspapers are not accessible or affordable. It is therefore a plus for the rural folk to get newspapers and other media products for free and still be able to be informed just like their urban counterparts.
The project operates in eight areas namely Kezi, Maphisa, Nkayi, Siganda, Tsholotsho, Lupane, Jotsholo and Plumtree. In all these named areas, there are more than 70 distribution points were people receive newspapers from on a weekly basis.
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