Since 2003 Fantsuam Foundation has been involved in various advocacy efforts for the establishment of Community Radio in Nigeria. Efforts to get more traction into the advocacy efforts have been quite challenging, with a chequered history and sometimes it is not too clear what progress has been made. However the need for this ‘Voice of the People’ continues to grow within development and civil society circles. Fantsuam Foundation felt so optimistic about the Nigerian Government’s future approval of community radio licences that it began human capacity building and equipment mobilization in 2008.
The increasing development challenges in Nigeria makes Community Radio a necessary resource. With its internet communication mast, Fantsuam already possesses a major resource to be a Community Radio hub. Fantsuam’s crucial role in giving a voice to the desires of its host communities will make it a test case of how other civil society organisations can be a hub of fruitful advocacy for their communities.
In spite of many false starts, there is still hope that the Nigerian Government will give permission for the establishment of Community Radios. In 2013, it was widely reported that more than 800 licences would be approved (http://allafrica.com/stories/201301220471.html); the communities are still waiting. Fantsuam Foundation is picking up the thread of progress regarding the Government’s position again in 2014. A current member of the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition has advised Fantsuam to begin filing application on behalf of its communities for permission for a radio licence. We are now working on the application for six of our communities and will submit it at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in March 2014 to await Government approval.