OSIWA as the founder and funder of the radio constitutes the most committed and the most valued partner of WADR. Since its establishment, WADR receives institutional support from OSIWA for its functions and investments. WADR however has an autonomous management although it still receives support from its institutional donor. In addition, the radio receives the support of its institutional donor in its financial management procedures such as book keeping and budget management.
In December 2014, a 206 000 Euro project proposal was submitted to and approved by OXFAM in the framework of their Regional Good Governance Program. The aim of the project was to support and monitor the Ebola response through a top-down and bottom-up approach via radio, web and CSO network in West Africa. The grant was received and the project implemented for a year.
In the recent past WADR worked with institutions such as Plan International, UNESCO, United Nations Development Group in Senegal on the 16 days activism against Gender based violence, WaterAid, Action Contre la Faim, UN Women, ENDA Senegal, UNHCR, UNFPA and Ford Foundation amongst others. The first phase of a project on irregular migration titled ‘Using Radio to Curb Irregular Migration with funding from the German Federal office was implemented through support from the embassy in Dakar from August to December 2018. Many other organizations have expressed interest in working with WADR and the process is on to work in different areas.
At the community level different partner radios also produce and rebroadcast content from the national and regional levels to their communities.
In Sierra Leone for example, Eastern Community Radio, Radio Newsong, Radio Gbafth, Radio Mankneh and African Young Voices (AYV) have been used to communicate directly to the people at the community level and at the same time produce programmes that would then be broadcast at the national level with FM stations in the capital cities.
In Guinea Conakry, Radio Rurale de Guinee in Faranah, Radio Rurale de Guinee in Boke, Horizon FM Kankan and Liberte FM in N’Zerekore are the radio stations that WADR has been working with to reach a large portion of the Guinean population.
In Liberia, Prime fm in Monrovia, Radio Kergheamohn in Ganta Nimba County, Peace Fm 96.0 in Harbel, Margibi County, Radio Gbarnga in Bong County and Radio One Magic FM 99. 3 in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County are the WADR partner radios that enable the institution to reach a cross section of the Liberian community with relevant information as well as to produce and share their concerns at another level.
Furthermore WADR also partners with the radio Jamana network in Mali broadcasting from Bamako, Foko Segou and Koulikoro, whilst in Niger the partnership is with the Radio Alternative network also broadcasting in Niamey, Zinder and Agadez. In Ivory Coast WADR partners with 8 radio stations in Abidjan, Bouake, Korghogo, Man, Pelefero and Daloa.
In Benin radio stations such as Radio FM Nonsina (Bébéréké), Radio Alakétou FM, La Voix de la Lama, Aîta FM Ouesse and Nanto FM are the WADR partners.
In The Gambia West Coast Radio one of the leading private radio stations, Hot fm in the Greater Banjul Area and Paradise fm with antennas in the Greater Banjul area, and the central region of the country in addition to communtiy radios such as Bansang, Brikama, Kairanyining, and Kerewan radio stations. In Senegal WADR partners with over 20 radio stations in the different regions of the country. Partnerships were built in Ghana with very strong and influential radio stations in five different communities (Radio Pad, Radio Royals, Radio Ada, Wfm/W93.5, radio progress).
A process was concluded with radio stations in Nigeria for the building of partnerships in 2019 and WADR was able to partner with Aso Radio, Agba Community Radio, Lavun Communiry Radio, Kakaki Ondo Communiry Radio, Nenzit Communiry Radio and Ejulene Community Radio. In 2020 partnerships were renewed in Togo with Radio Mokpokpo, Radio Solidarité Kaboli, Radio Zéphyr, Radio Binah FM and Radio Communautaire des Savanes.
WADR had a special focus on Ebola since the emergence of the disease in the region. With the initial support from OSIWA, WADR continued with the thorough follow up on the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Having produced a lot of reports on the emergence, spread and control of the Ebola epidemic leading to a CNN award nomination of one of the staff, WADR continued to join the fight against Ebola with the implementation of the OXFAM/WADR Ebola project titled “Supporting and Monitoring the Effective Governance of the Ebola Epidemic Response”,. This project which came in addition to the support already given by OSIWA in the fight against Ebola ended in December 2015.
Through this support by OSIWA and OXFAM, WADR was able to use radio to reach different populations with information through a rigorous Top –Down and Bottom – Up Communication approach using radio, the website and social media including civil society networks. WADR also trained local journalists, technicians and radio listening group facilitators in each of the three target countries. In addition institutional support through the provision of laptops, recorders and android mobile phones to 6 partner radio stations in each of the three countries further helped to facilitate reporting on the Ebola epidemic by journalists in the region. WADR was one major African broadcaster covering the Ebola epidemic with live reports and bringing out the voices of affected and infected.
An audience survey conducted under the project showed that WADR together with its partners has an audience rate of 66 percent with the three countries combined. In Guinea 9 out of 10 people have listened to WADR programmes, in Liberia 6 out of 10 and in Sierra Leone less than half of the population have listened through its partner radio stations. Consequently WADR was able to reach people and through its programmes contributed to the entire process of eradicating the spread of Ebola in the region.
In 2016 upon conclusion of the OXFAM Ebola project, WADR worked with Plan International on a post Ebola phase which included the production of reports by correspondents and co – productions and broadcasting of programmes by WADR and partner radio stations.
The elections in Nigeria, Togo, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, The Gambia, Ghana, recently Liberia and Sierra Leone were all covered. Instead of just receiving reports from the correspondents on the ground, WADR sent senior producers to these countries who coordinated with partner community radio stations in all the countries concerned for the production of daily reports and interviews and programmes on the electoral process for broadcast focussing on the different regions in the countries. In Ivory Coast for example six partner radio stations, 5 French and 2 English stringers together with the correspondent in Abidjan were sending reports and productions continuously under the supervision of the senior producer on the ground that also joined the OSIWA team at the situation room. 11 regions were covered on a daily basis during the electoral process in the Ivory Coast.
In Burkina Faso WADR was able to cover 13 regions with 8 community partner radio stations and three French stringers plus two English stringers. In Guinea Conakry WADR also worked with partner radio stations in 7 regions, additional stringers in English and French and covered the entire process with reports, in-depth interviews, magazine programmes, features and others. Thus a week before the elections and a week after the elections a much focussed coverage of the electoral process in these two countries brought about a stronger partnership. The elections in Benin and Niger were also covered with a special focus in addition to the referendum on constitutional reforms in Senegal in March. The highlight of our election coverage was in 2016/2017/2018 with the elections in the region (The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone)
One major aspect of our election coverage is that our web statistics always show the rise in audience during election coverage with Africans in the diaspora regularly visiting the site to follow the election coverage.
The special focus on the Gambia by WADR for a period of more than a year and a zero in on special reports and interviews on the governmental malpractices in the country, giving voices to the opposition and the exiled journalists, Human Rights activists, politicians and Civil Society representatives before and during the process contributed to the positive change Gambians are enjoying today as the radio was one of the major sources of information for the Gambians inside and particularly the diaspora.
In addition a partnership with Ford Foundation West Africa office gave WADR the opportunity to work on show casing the work of human rights organisations and activists to bring out change in The Gambia, Ghana, Senegal and Burkina Faso. The project with the production of radio programmes, video documentaries and an E- Newsletter brought out key examples of Africans leading their own political change in these countries.
In addition to these, WADR also continued to work on other issues as it relates to our strategic plan and mandate with OSIWA including the coverage of the Hissene Habre trial in Senegal, the Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude’s cases in the Hague and others.
From August – December 2018, WADR had an opportunity to receive funding from the German Federal Foreign office to work on a migration project with a special focus on irregular migration and how radio can be a source of communication for behavioural change in identified countries and communities (Ghana, Mali, Niger, Gambia). This project even though implemented for a short while, touched the lives of many young people who testified to having clarity of information enabling them to make informed decisions.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa OSIWA – part of the global network of Open Society Foundations is the founder and main funder of WADR. The organization is active in ten countries in West Africa (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Senegal) with offices based in five of them.
OSIWA plays a dual role in the region as both an advocate and grant-maker by enabling itself to be agenda-setters both within and alongside other organizations working on the ground. The Foundation works through a unique combination of grant making, advocacy, partnership building and technical assistance.