|organisation: non-profit organisation|
country: South Africa
type of activity: radio information and education
who: the Freeplay Foundation was founded in 1998 by the Freeplay Energy Group (FEG) as an extension of the group's commitment to development and empowerment.
what: the Freeplay Foundation facilitates and implements radio broadcast projects. Working primarily in Africa, the Freeplay Foundation promotes access to radio broadcasting in rural and remote areas through alternative energy solutions, above all solar cell systems. The Foundation has established a strong network of contacts with governments, international organisations and NGOs and seeks to advance economic progress, promote community development and help eradicate disease, famine and conflict.
why: the Foundation is committed to promoting the importance of radio as a vital medium in the developing world. Research shows that a key factor in poverty reduction is access to education and information (considered as a fundamental human right). Freeplay Foundation aims to reach those isolated by geography, language, conflict, poverty or illiteracy. Through the use of self-powered Freeplay Lifeline radios, the Foundation advocates the necessity of ensuring access to broadcasts and the sustainability of programming to the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.
how: the Freeplay Foundation provides innovative and practical energy solutions to ensure sustained access to information via radio. Their on-going search for new applications for Freeplay's patented wind-up and solar powered technology resulted in the creation of the unique Lifeline radio, for example. After extensive fieldwork, the Freeplay Foundation recognised the need for a radio built specifically for the humanitarian sector. The idea for the Lifeline radio was born - a robust radio that could be operated easily by adults and children alike, heard by groups of up to 40 and powered by either wind-up or solar-powered energy. Just 24 months after the concept paper for the Lifeline radio was written, the first radios were distributed to Burundian youth living in refugee camps in Tanzania.
results: community radio gives local populations the opportunity to express their own culture, language and style and to address issues which are relevant to them. As such, community radio can be very rich and vibrant. Community radio is often established as a tangible attempt to improve inadequate communications. As a result, the influence of community radio can be much stronger and the content much richer than national radio. It is also independent and of vital importance in countries with fledgling or non-existent democracies.
getting involved: the Foundation works together with a number of local African organisations seeking to develop community-based radio networks. Ever wanted to be a deejay? Be the one to keep your community informed about key issues affecting your lives? Have your voice heard by thousands? Now’s your chance - get in touch!