The impact of ICT on community participation in community media: case study of Kagadi-Kibaale Community Radio
Semujju, Robert Brian
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This study investigated the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) on community participation in community media. To achieve that objective, the study was divided into five major parts. The first part looked at the ICTs that have been integrated in community. The second one discussed ICT access by the community. The next part explored the influence of ICTs on participation while the fourth part addressed the challenges of using ICTs and the challenges of community participation. The last part gave recommendations on how ICTs can enhance participation. Using Kagadi-Kibaale Community Radio as case study, the research applied the Diffusion of Innovation Theory to establish a basis for understanding what ICTs have been integrated in the Kibaale District community and why. The methods used for data collection were: survey (using a questionnaire), focus group discussions, key informant interviews, observation and secondary data review. The study found out that the mobile phone is the dominant ICT in the Kibaale District community although it requires literacy and access to resources to be fully used for participation. Radio as a second ICT in dominance was less complicated and people opted for a model with few functions. The study also found out that community media had several challenges like political influence, distance and inadequate electricity to be trusted solely as an avenue for developing geographically located communities. An alternative to community media called Basic Media was suggested. To solve some problems that affect participation and ICT-usage in community media, the study recommended short term solutions that do not require extra costs. For example, there is need to solve the complexity of phones by introducing a program called ‘Know Your Phone’, where the public can listen to the instructions of how to use a phone. Meanwhile, there is an urgent need to train all volunteers and paid-staff in computer and Internet basics. However, to create lasting solutions to power cuts and ICT- illiteracy, the Government should speed up both the rural electrification and ICT-for-all programmes.