1.  A community radio technology with the potential to revolutionize last-mile communication (Team Leader: Jude Mukundane; Email: robotic@gmail.com; judemukundane@gmail.com; Tel: +256718451574Other team members: Chris Csikzentmihalyi, Pete Tritish)  -http://rootio.org/

The Need: Radio is one of the most accessible platforms for communication world-wide. In Uganda, 67% of the population use radio regularly as a means of receiving information. On the other hand, there has been a substantial increase in mobile telephone coverage worldwide over the last decade, more so in sub-Saharan Africa. The mobile phone therefore has immense potential as a platform for social transformation.

The Innovation: Root IO is a technology that combines the power of radio technology and the reach of mobile phone coverage to transmit radio-signals in almost any community as long as there is mobile phone coverage. One unique aspect of this technology is that the mobile phone handset can quickly become a radio transmitter when attached to a portable hardware set. This implies that a radio station can be set up in any community anywhere, and the same station can be re-deployed to different communities in a very short period of time. Community leaders then have a more robust tool that they can use in community mobilization to address development challenges. A prototype of this technology has been tested and optimized, including in a low income community. With carefully selected and prepared content, the technology has the potential to transform the way last mile communications are conducted in various communities especially information related to disaster preparedness and response, peace building and mobilization for social change.

The Impact:RootIO allows citizens, especially those from marginalized groups and communities, to share critical information in a timely manner, allowing the impact of sudden shocks, such as floods, landslides or agricultural diseases, to be mitigated. It also creates a communication platform to address problems that destabilize a community over time, such as the stigma of HIV/AIDS. With the support of RAN, RootIO acquired a license from Uganda Communications Commission to put up 4 pilot stations in northern Uganda in Oyam, Pabbo, Kitgum and Aggago. So far, popular programs running include classifieds by local traders, public health information, talk shows and segments with agricultural advice.

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RootiO Community Radio