By Felix Matasva, Manicaland Correspondent
INFORMATION minister, Monica Mutsvangwa and UNESCO Southern Africa regional director, Lidia Arthur Brito, will Friday launch Chimanimani FM, a community radio station in the eastern highlands that is primarily meant to improve early warning systems against floods and droughts in the area.
Chimanimani FM is one of the several community radio stations that were licensed last year.
It was developed as part of the World Bank funded Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), coordinated by UNOPS, while UNESCO implemented the component of the project related to comprehensive resilience building in Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts.
“Community radios are a component of the early warning system, which also entails bolstering already established indigenous community communication channels and cutting edge Internet of Things (IoT), weather monitoring technology installed in various locations throughout Manicaland,” said UNESCO in a statement released on Thursday.
“The existence of community media is one of the indications of media growth. The term ‘community media’ refers to participatory owned and operated media for the people, of the people by the people.
“Chimanimani FM provides a vehicle for citizens to exercise their rights and discuss local issues in their vernacular languages. Community radios are a driving force behind rural development and give a voice to the voiceless.
“In line with the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNESCO is committed to supporting the growth of community media, as it encourages the free exchange of ideas and existence of independent and pluralistic media which leaves no one behind ,” it said.
Chimanimani was one of the regions hard hit by Cyclone Idai, which left hundreds of thousands affected.
Shortage of early warning systems, which included a medium to convey the danger lying ahead, were fingered as having worsened the tropical cyclone’s impact in the eastern region.