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Uganda Media Womens Association, UMWA

Plot 226, Kisaasi Bukoto

P.O. Box 7263, Kampala
Email: info@umwamamafm.co.ug / umwa@infocom.co.ug
Tel: 0772 469 363 / 0772 366 695 / 0312 393 113 848
Website: www.umwamamafm.co.ug
f: www.facebook.com/ugumwa
t: @UMWAandMamaFM
101.7 Mama FM
Presentation made by

Management and Staff of Mama FM

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Mama FM is a powerful source of empowerment to women
and other marginalized groups. Mama FM has space in the
media industry and in the community development to cause
positive behavioural change. Mama FM Management only
requires to sustain momentum with renewed purpose and
strategies, Bakirya Judith, Organizational Development
Advisor (2009).

You are sitting on Gold, Owekitiibwa Apollo

Makubuya, Attorney General of Buganda Government

Isnt the Womens Movement aware of such a Resource they

have in Mama FM, Hope Chigudu, Co-Founder, Global
Fund for Women.
Emmy Olati, Uganda Telecom says: The inclusion of
Mama FM in our radio station mix had a positive result on our
campaign. I would surely recommend Mama FM to other

Were Isaac, Electoral Commission says: Because of their

focus on women topics, Mama FM is a good radio station to
reach women.

FM Radio in Uganda,
and Why Radio
History / Introduction
In 1993, the first private station (Radio Sanyu) was
established in Kampala.
This was to herald an enormous change in the mass
media and public information in a country where
state controlled broadcasting was a monopoly.
To-date there are over 200 radio stations, in Uganda.
101.7 Mama FM officially launched August 21st, 2001.
Owned by Uganda Media Womens Association,

Why Radio in Uganda

Strong Oral Culture:

Despite a growing adult literacy, 68% (2001) Uganda

generally remains a country with a weak reading culture.
E.g. Daily newspapers have a maximum reach of about
5.5% Ugandas population (moreover urban although
some newspapers filter into villages).

No planned rural distribution.

Media Reach in Uganda

Radio: 90% population

Newspapers: 5.5%
Television: 6%

Knowledge and
Information Gaps
Illiteracy and poor reading culture result in lack of
knowledge and information.

Lack of knowledge and information: core problem in

transforming own lives.

Multiplicity of Languages
No common uniting language in Uganda although
English is the official language but not spoken by
majority population.

Local vernaculars are, therefore, the only way to reach

majority Ugandans.

Women and the Media
Number of women owning or having control over
radio sets is low.

Womens voices on radio as sources or presenters

extremely low 20% and 15% respectively.

Management positions: 10% women; 90% men.

Ownership: All, but four radio stations in Uganda are

owned by women:
Mama FM (Kampala): UMWA
Speak FM (Gulu): Gulu
Akaboozi & Radio One: Group led by a Woman

But what is a
Community Radio?
The station is developmental. Not for profit. Can be
defined by its geographical location. Or the type of
audience or issues it broadcasts. Mama FM is a
community of interest / women radio.
Role of a Community Radio:
It is one effective tool for development.
Gives access to voices in the community and
encourages diversity, creativity, and participation.
Can provide a vital counterbalance to the increasing
globalization and commercialization of the media.
It can be a source of empowerment.

Has a vital role in reaching out to people and
communities at risk of exclusion and disadvantage.
Promotes participatory development:
Allows participation of communities in decisions
concerning their own lives, creating new
opportunities for social change + the empowerment
of both the ordinary men and women.
Promotes Dialogue and Debate:
E.g. talk shows between people of different political
/ social / economic shades.
Is an important tool for the rapid diffusion of
important messages e.g. agriculture, social issues, etc.
Is a tool that can be used to develop community
cohesion and solidarity.
Promotes / enhances the right to communicate
(especially those of the marginalized groups).

Community media like Mama FM, aim at causing

learning and social change among communities. This
improves their meaningful participation in decisions
that affect their lives through strengthening their
ability to communicate.

A community radio therefore makes an organization

like UMWA a powerful social and economic player in
women emancipation, and provides a platform for self
expression to other learnt groups.

Mama FM Starts
The process of starting a women focused radio started
in 1998. A feasibility study was commissioned in the
same year to inform the process.

At the beginning the station should have been located

upcountry. But the Central Region was preferred
because the basic facilities were available electricity,
mast and other infrastructure.

Gaps Found
Airtime on commercial radios is very expensive:
Time / space allocation by both government and
private Radio was very difficult, and expensive.
Equipment in terms of television, cameras, monitors,
recorders etc hired regularly were very expensive.
Content on commercial radio:-
Politicking and entertainment.
Little community news and when covered: disaster,
accidents, bizarre, weird things.
Little coverage of the day-to-day needs, aspirations
of majority population.
Concentration was largely on undevelopmental things.
Top-Down kind of Journalism: Government officer A
has said.. has directed.. has warned has
Gaps Found contd
Women related issues:
Rarely covered;
Little space.

Limited knowledge / skills among media women:

In the profession itself.
Management / advocacy.
Confidence / assertiveness.

Newsroom Huge absence of women.

Objectives for formation of
Mama FM
Reach out to women in Uganda especially the rural
women through radio programs.
Provide and disseminate information through Radio
broadcasting to disadvantaged groups such as women,
children and people with disability.
Advocate and lobby for gender balance in Uganda.
As a publicity arm of the Womens Movement in
Platform to enhance the civic and professional
competencies among media women, upcoming and
the employed.
Generate income for sustainability of the mother

Geographical Coverage, Staffing,
Broadcast Language, Programming,
News Bulletins / Headlines
Geographical Coverage By law community radio < 70 kilometres.
(Reach / Radius): But Mama FM can snake through to some parts of Masaka,
Tororo, Iganga, Soroti (antennaes / and time of day)
Staffing: Management and Senior Staff are Development
Communication Specialists and Practitioners
Benefits from Volunteers and Interns.

Broadcast Language: English: 10%

Luganda: 90%

Broadcasting Time: 5:30 am 12 midnight

Programming: Development oriented women in focus.

Spiced with local politics, sports, entertainment.

News Bulletins /Headlines: Top of every hour:


Stations ID, Slogan and
Stations ID
101.7 Mama FM.

Stations Slogan
The Voice To Listen To.

The radio station is located at Plot 226 Kisaasi
about eight kilometres from Kampala city, off
Kampala-Ntinda Road. Kampala is the countrys
power base; and a host to over two million people.

Development issues and concerns taking centre stage in
the Uganda Mass Media, for a fair and just world.

Mama FM seeks to contribute towards empowering
marginalized communities especially women by
highlighting their concerns and increasing their
participation in the local and national development

Mama FMs Principles
Participatory Communication.
Transparency and Accountability.
Networking/sharing and Team work.
Active and Equal Participation.

Mama FMs Values
Justice through:
fairness in treatment of women and other
affirmative action and positive discrimination
policies and practices.
Recognition of womens contributions.
Love and respect.

Mama FMs Beliefs
Development information is key to sustainable
Professionalizing the media leads to equal
Putting womens issues on the public agenda is
UMWAs strength.
Facilitating the least heard to speak out on matters
affecting them is key to sustainable development.

Assets and Liabilities
Studios (3)
Transmitter (1 kg)
Standby Generator (11 KV)
Internet Services
60 metre Mast
Training and Conference facilities and Administration
Block seated on one acre ample parking space.
Personnel trained in, and have experiences in areas
Communication for Development
Gender, Human Rights, Journalism, and
Management; Conflict Resolution and Management.

Guidelines / Policies in Place
Gender Mainstreaming
Disability Mainstreaming
News and Editorial
Human Resource
Volunteer and Internship

Availability of the mentioned resources:
Assets and Policies.
Competent knowledge and skills in Media
The passion of UMWA Leadership and
Management and Staff to take the station to
another level.
The Rights Based Approach to Development.

Community involvement.

A Typical Mama FM Listener
Social / Economic status:
Mostly low income earners, work in the informal
sector, mostly market women and others in micro
Mostly illiterate and semi illiterate.
Those in search of a service, in search of their rights,
information to transform their lives.
Those with monitory views seeking for a platform for
self expression.
Those who cannot afford fees to appear on
commercial radio stations. Those who are
marginalized, sidelined, least heard in society.

A Typical Mama FM Listener
Those whose rights have been abused / violated
(sexually abused, battered, whose property has been
stolen by relatives.
Those who have been denied a voice on other radio
stations or media whose issues are thought to be not
important or selling!
Those in search of social justice.

Other Ardent Mama FM
Listeners: for obvious reasons
Policy Makers.
Development Workers / Agencies.
Religious and Cultural Leaders.

Synovate Survey, 2009:
Mama FM: Class D
3.9 million people have ever listened to Mama FM
5.9 million people are aware of the station
UMWA led Survey, 2014:
1. Public awareness about Mama FM 47%
2. Who listens to Mama FM most? 44% Males
34% Females
3. Ever listened to Mama FM out of the 840 Total Sample 38%
4. Number of people listening to Radio at least in a week
Mama FM 4%
CBS the highest 13%
5. Would you listen to a women focused radio / issues 87%
about Marginalized groups?

Total Sample: 840 people

Project Area: Markets, Churches, Taxi Parks (Kampala City)
The Consultant evaluator observed that while
there are some discrepancies in age range and who
the target audience is, what seems to characterize all
the information is that; Mama Fm is a woman focused
radio, broadcasting gender sensitive development
information. The listeners are rural based or semi-
urban audiences who include ordinary women, men
and youth. These are audiences who are either
engaged in small to medium businesses, working in
support jobs, farmers, in and out of school youth
among others. Some of the listeners are literate,
illiterate or semi-literate. The age of the listeners is
still debatable.

What we learn from the
history of Mama
The purpose for Mamas existence has been evolving
over years, and thus has affected the definition of target
audience, programming, strategies for marketing and the
human resource employed.

But what is clear, Mama FM is for:

Women and Development
Social Justice causes.

Snap Shot of Mama FMs
Achievements / Successes /
16 years of existence with uninterrupted broadcast
is no mean achievement.
Unlike most of the radio stations in Uganda, Mama
FM possesses and is guided by policies acceptable to
the Uganda Communications Commission, UCC.
Endeavour to conduct reviews to inform future.
Major ones are:
Impact Assessment (2009);
Audience Surveys (2005, 2010, 2015).
Been consistent with the Development Radio
Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
Enhanced the Right to communication of the
marginalized groups:
Mama FM has trained local communities /
marginalized groups, e.g. women, People With
Disabilities (PWDs), the youth in Public Speaking,
Later facilitated these groups in expressing
themselves on different platforms including Mama

Given these groups free airtime to participate in

different radio shows.

Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
Fostering dialogue and debate:
Mama FM has mobilized local communities around
issues of womens concern, activities and success
stories, in general.
Promoted the womens cause and CSOs agenda
several times.
Championed the cause of women and other
marginalized groups domestic violence, etc.

Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
Mama FM mobilized Ugandans on the need to talk
peace during the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)
Through talk shows and open air shows, ordinary
men and women face off with powers that be.

Mobilized ordinary women and men for

While the commercial stations concentrate on
populist programs that enable them keep in power,
Mama FM focuses on development information for
the ordinary woman and man.

Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
The first medium to break important stories that
are otherwise not seen as news e.g. the infamous
AGOA girls later picked by its sister medium, The
Other Voice, later by the International press and the
local media. AGOA girls story was about the
aggravated labour rights abuse of young women who
were contracted to work in the Tristar Company
meant to export cotton products on the US market
through the AGOA market opportunities. The story
was finally taken up by the relevant Parliamentary
Committee for redress.

Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
Mama FM was the leader on civic info-
educational messages on national elections
(2000, 2001, 2006). The messages were on why
election, why vote or not, vote, how, where

Women Participation in Governance:

UMWA through Mama FM, over the years has
promoted womens participation in governance.
During the 2000 2016 electoral processes, Mama
FM encouraged women to vie for positions of
leadership in the local government system.

Achievements / Successes /
Performance contd
In Nabbale Sub-County in Mukono District 3 women
out of a total of 25 women in a focus group discussion,
reported to have competed against men for Local
Council 1 Chairmanship and they won. The same was
reported in Ivukula in Namutumba District as
additional. They attributed to their win to their
participation in Mama FMs organized trainings on
leadership as well as allowing them to participate in
the radio talk shows.

Asserting the Rights of the
Marginalized to Communicate
Mama FM has given the marginalized groups:
The Youth, and
Persons With Disabilities (PWDs);
the space to reflect on their lives and also
communicate to a wider audience.

2015 Listenership Survey on Mama FM revealed Mama

FM best known for PWDs issues!!

Mama FM won UNICEF Media Awards at 2


Consultant Evaluators
Consultant evaluator observed that Mama FM has
great potential to impact positive change on the lives of
ordinary women and men. Majority of the men and
women in the targeted areas are either illiterate or semi-
illiterate, thus radio is the primary source of information.
Mama has used appropriate medium to broadcast
development information to her listeners, and the
listeners have had the opportunity in contributing ideas
to the programs.


What the Listeners say:
Maama Zaria, Wakiso District: "The station helped us
understand the importance of literacy for our commercial
activities. We also worked separately before but, after listening
to the radio programs, we got the idea of coming together in
an association. "The radio station has brought about a genuine
change in our everyday lives. It has led to improved farming
techniques especially in the selection of the best seed varieties
and following the farming calendar.

Catherine, Wakiso District, participated in a sexual

reproductive health issues program on Mama FM. She
says: I felt like a famous person for once. Whoever heard me
expressing myself on radio was excited to hear my voice.
Everybody who heard the radio program made sure they
informed me.
What the Listeners say: contd
Samula, a youth from Maganjo says: After listening to a
talk show on Making Wills, I convinced my father to do the
same. I also learnt that even me as a girl, am entitled to a
share in the estate of my father in case he dies.

Amina Nabukeera, now a Councillor at LC III, says: I

became a leader because of my interaction with Mama FM.
Im now a respected opinion leader. I counsel several families
on several issues including domestic violence and land issues. I
learnt about Plan for Modernization of Agriculture from
Mama FM and I used the new knowledge to grow mushrooms
for sale.

What the Listeners say: contd
Salome, Nabbale in Mukono: Mama is a family radio. You
can listen to it with children and in-laws. Unlike other radios
that use vulgar expressions, Mama FM uses a dignified

Nukko Amina, Buwama Hardware Solutions says:

Mama FMs biggest strength is in the variety of programs.
Reason, they have varied but many listeners.

Key Challenges
Frequency 101.7 FM Not easily accessed in a car

Kampala District, competing with commercial
8 kilometres out of Kampala City Centre:- Some
people feel 8 kilometres from the City Centre is
too far!

Heavy dependence on volunteers and interns

who soon leave for greener pastures.

Consultant evaluator observed that UMWA / Mama FM did
an excellent job in building the performance capacity of upcoming
journalists. Most FM Radios in Kampala: Simba, Vision FM, Bukedde
FM, Capital, Maria among others benefited from UMWA/Mama FM
trained personnel. But while UMWA performed very well in this
aspect, it drained its own energy and efforts. The young journalists
were looking for career jump start. They quickly moved on to
greener pastures with newly acquired skills and experiences.
Ironically, UMWA and Mama FM continued to suffer chronically
lack of skilled personnel. There is need for a change in strategy.
The training program for young journalists requires rethinking
from regarding them as volunteers to young professional trainees
who must pay some commitment fee and get a certification of
attendance at the end of a defined period.

Key Challenges contd
High maintenance costs:
Licence: UGS 5 million each year.
Electricity:About UGS 1.8 million each month.
Water: About UGS 90,000 each month.
Allowances / Salaries for staff and volunteers: UGS
20 million each month.
Servicing computers, transmitter, generator: About
UGS 5 million each quarter.
Internet / Website: About UGS 400,000 each
Limited financial muscle to attract and retain
skilled power.

Limited muscle to attract support from

likeminded organizations (NGOs / CSOs) and
donors. (Donor funding dwindling)
Key Challenges contd
Sustainability of Mama FM: Financial Sustainability
is a big challenge. Like elsewhere in Africa where
community radios are run, financial sustainability is the
biggest challenge. Donor funding is no more.
Will Mama FM try out advertising money? Steadmans
Groups Business Development Manager says: A lot of
money is being pumped into advertising. The industry grew
by 45.9% in the first half of 2008. By the end of the year,
over UGS 200b will have been spent. But aggression is
intensive and claws are digging deeper. .. even home
town company is branding its products in a way that will
persuade you the customer to buy.
But has Mama FM got the muscle to win this kind of
Some of the Donors Mama FM
has worked with
Norwegian Council for Africa, NCA
Norwegian Women and Family Association, NWF
UN Women
Stem van Afrika
World Association for Christian Communication,
Reproductive Health Uganda, RHU
Basket Funding
Ford Foundation
International Solidarity Foundation, ISF

Going Forward: Some Proposals
to Women NGOs / CSOs
Plan to participate in the monthly / quarterly / annual
Mama FM policy / program meetings.
Initiate and share a program / topic with Mama FM
Programs Director (MPD).
Can cost-share:
a program segment;
a program host.
Can offer to moderate a talk show. Develop content
for a radio show / series.
Share potential content for broadcast with MPD
(monthly reports, workplans).
Organize weekly Press Releases on Your Work, to
publish on Mama FM.

Going Forward: Some Proposals
to Women NGOs / CSOs contd
Invite Mama FM to record on site. Not only Press
Conferences but at workplace or in the field).
Provide resource persons / guests for programs on
the station.
Provide already recorded content ready for broadcast
on Mama FM.
Provide resources / literature for broadcast on Mama
Include Mama FM in your Media Budgets.

What is that Outstanding take
away from Mama FM?
In addition to what community radios do Ours is a
gender mainstreamed content that is published on Mama

It is inclusive, sensitive, and development focused!

Why Mama FM can be a good
Civil Society Voice

Location: Kampala Power base.

Communicates For Development.
Rights based / Gender Sensitive Focused!
Shared vision: CSOs / Women NGOs / Mama FM.
Wealthy of experience in Media and Development.
Available Assets.

Current UMWA Board (2012 2016)

Dr. (Phd) Patricia Litho, Board Chairperson Sylvia Nalukwago, Committee Member
(Rural Electrification Agency) (Freelance, and formerly working
with Record TV)

Sarah Nakibuuka, Treasurer
(Private Sector Foundation Uganda, PSFU)

Harriet Kiwanuka, General Secretary

(Freelance, and Director Focus on Future Minds)

Dorothy Nanyonga, Committee Member
(Ministry of Education)

Judith Nabakooba, Vice Chairperson

(Woman MP, Mityana District)

Beatrice Birungi Committee Member Margaret Sentamu-Masangazi
(formerly working with Wavah Broadcasting Executive Director, UMWA
Service, WBS and Uganda Broadcasting
Corporation, UBC)

Catherine Apalat Programs Director, Mama FM

In the Studios of Mama FM

Hon. Beti Kamya in Mama FM studios