A National Conversation: Radio bringing Tanzanian leaders and listeners closer together

Watch: How radio station Pangani FM helped rebuild a school

Haba na Haba informs and educates us. God bless you!A text from a listener

Our project ‘A National Conversation’ has been running in Tanzania since 2011, providing people across the country with access to their leaders and an opportunity to play a part in important decisions that affect their lives.

We produce a weekly radio show called Haba na Haba (meaning ‘slowly but surely’ in Kiswahili) to provide a public platform for discussion between people and their leaders about how Tanzania is governed. The show provides a way for people to hold authorities to account, demand action and get their problems solved.

A show for everyone

Haba na Haba is Tanzania’s most widely broadcast radio programme, broadcast by over 40 partner stations across the country. It attracts more than 5 million listeners and features content from journalists working at local stations in each of Tanzania’s 31 regions.

Listeners are encouraged to participate in the programme by asking questions via text message and social media. These questions are incorporated into the show, allowing the audience to participate directly in the conversation.

Accountability in action

Audiences say the show has helped them learn about their rights and become more confident in pursuing their goals.

As an example, residents from the mining village of Matundasi were concerned about being exposed to contaminated water. They expressed their grievances and questioned leaders during a Haba na Haba episode, produced in collaboration with local radio station Bomba FM. Four months later, local leaders installed a clean water supply to the village.

Training and outreach

Through the project, we’ve provided training and mentoring to hundreds of journalists at our partner radio stations to improve their editorial and production capacity, helping them to understand and best serve their audiences. We’ve also provided them with commercial training to help them find ways of becoming financially sustainable.

In addition, we support partner stations to plan and produce their own local good governance programmes which tackle issues of importance to local audiences. These programmes serve a similar purpose to Haba na Haba, providing audiences with a chance to learn about local issues and push for change in their communities.

Project information
Project name A National Conversation 
Funder UK Government's Department for International Development
Dates 2011-2020   
Themes Governance; Capacity strengthening 
Outputs Haba na Haba (Slowly but surely), local good governance programmes produced and broadcast by partner stations 
Broadcast and rebroadcast partners BBC Swahili, Radio Free Africa (RFA), and local radio stations: Pangani FM in Pangani; Afya FM in Mwanza, Dodoma FM in Dodoma, Bomba FM in Mbeya, and Hits in Zanzibar; Faraja FM, CG FM, Sengerema Radio, Kwizera Radio, Zenji FM, Pride FM, Sauti ya Injili, Victoria FM, Radio Ruangwa, Kyela FM, FADECO FM