2014 was another tumultuous year for Somalia. Continued presence of Al Shabab, terrorist attacks and violence were reported. At the same time, corruption and mismanagement within government strained the country. However, some stability in the situation in Somalia has also been recorded. During a campaign at the beginning of 2015, 5 radio stations asked their audience whether they thought the security situation in Somalia had improved in 2014. Within 3 days 4.652 Somalis from all over the country responded to the question.

Partnership with Free Press Unlimited

In March 2014, Trac FM started working with Free Press Unlimited (FPU) in Somalia. Free Press Unlimited works to ensure that reliable news and information are, and remain, available to people across the globe. Particularly to those living in countries where there is little or no press freedom. FPU's Media Center in Somalia (Radio Hirad) is providing capacity building for local journalists and media managers. As part of the project various FM stations in South-Central Somalia, Puntland, and Somaliland are now using Trac FM SMS technology to increase participation and discussion on important topics.

What Trac FM can do in Somalia

Trac FM enables radio listeners to meaningfully participate in live radio debates through SMS. Through multiple trainings, 5 stations have acquired skills to do live radio polls and collect data from their listeners that informs their live debates. Topics like migration, family planning, and malaria were discussed with some stations receiving over 3000 responses per poll. Incoming replies are instantly processed and visualised for the radio presenter.

Just 1,9 percent of Somali have access to the internet. However, more then half of them own a mobile phone. In 2012 just 16 percent had access to a phone. Listeners who hear the Trac FM poll question on the radio respond by sending a single SMS. Broadcasts and polls are in local Somali language and participation is free of charge. Results of the polls are discussed by the local radio talk-show hosts.

Read more about our partner FPU on their website >

Infographic about 'News in Somalia'

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