Haki Elumi and Rural Information Access


In 2007, to address the issue of rural information access, 8,000 of our solar and wind-up radios were placed in rural and isolated communities across Tanzania. This incredible effort was undertaken by the well-respected local civil society development organisation Haki Elimu. Each radio reached an estimated 30 listeners directly and many more indirectly.  This initiative was estimated to reach more than 240,000 Tanzanians with little or no access to radio.

HakiElimu was formed in 2001 to promote citizens’ involvement.  Its main aim were ensuring quality education by transforming schools, influencing policy development and stimulating community dialogue.  HakiElimu’s vision is that every child in Tanzania is able to enjoy her or his right to basic education. Respecting dignity, fostering creativity and crucial learning and advancing human rights and democracy are key pillars.  They actively seek to achieve their vision by facilitating public participation mainly through school governance.

Rural Information Access is Scarce

Two studies undertaken by HakiElimu confirmed that access to information from government/public sources is very difficult for ordinary citizens. Both confirmed that when citizens asked for information, they typically faced bureaucratic hurdles and apathy, which in turn creates distrust and lowers expectations. Many were unaware of basic information about key public policies, services and their rights. Newspapers and television were non-existent in rural areas.  Although radio service was available very few women or children had radio access.  In addition the study revealed that batteries were too expensive to buy on an ongoing basis and may not even be available for purchase.

Taking advantage of Tanzania’s growing and vibrant radio sector, HakiElimu  distributed the radios to distant towns and villages. Community listeners’ groups tuned into a variety of programming on government, private and community stations, to promote understanding of their rights to education and other services.

Lifeline Energy assisted with radio distribution training, user manuals and other technical support of this great initiative.

Haki Elimu is still going strong.