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Launch of the first mobile community radio studio in the MENA region
April 5, 2019
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The mini-van, equipped with a mobile studio as part of the Echoes of women's voices project, was launched on 29 March in Morocco. The contributors, journalists and stakeholders in civil society present at the event witnessed the results of several months of thought and work.
The idea for a project can sometimes come from an encounter. Or from a minibus passing in the street. Azeddine Aabbar, who manages the
Echoes of women's voices project commissioned by the AIC (Association Initiatives Citoyennes) [Citizens' Initiatives Association, or AIC], recalls, "The AIC team were trying to think of an idea for a project following D-Jil's call for projects when a minibus drove by."“They asked themselves, why not create a mobile studio!"And that was the beginning of the crazy adventure.
The mini-van is now equipped with a mobile studio and is self-powered thanks to a pair of 1000-watt solar panels. "This allows us to power the control room and the lighting. Energy is stored in batteries and then converted by a converter-inverter to reach 220 volts." The studio can accommodate six people (including a presenter) as well as a manager at the back of the vehicle. "We also have portable microphones and the idea is to be able to record everything while on the move, although this hasn't been tested yet."
Giving women a voice
The design of the mini-van honours women. It turns heads when it drives by. The idea came... from a coffee cup design. "As the wrap was being applied to the mini-van in the street, passers-by were asking questions. Even the technicians thought the project was ambitious," explains Azeddine. "They said they thought it was good to give women a voice but that they could benefit from a similar project themselves," he adds with a smile.
The mini-van was fitted out in Casablanca, as the required materials weren't available in Marrakesh. "Our contractor fitted out public radio studios in the "The design has been a story unto itself!"fifties and sixties and when he saw the project, he got really excited about it and gave us lots of advice." The AIC team worked with five graphic designers and with radio professionals.
Today, Azeddine is happy to announce: "Our friend,Mohamed Leghtas, an expert on community radio stations, assures us that it's the first mobile community radio studio in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa)!"
Five members of the AIC are currently trained to manage the control room, including Cheima el Hajjam, production manager on the project and journalism student at the ISIC (Higher Institute of Information and Communication). The female contributors were surprised by and rather taken with the idea. They're already getting involved and showing great enthusiasm. The first interview has already been held on site.
"We want to train women to become presenters and involve them in production," vows Azeddine. "We want women to be asking the questions as well as answering them!"