The project to start a radio station began in 2008 when the idea came forward to organize communication and press for the community center in La Boca. At that time, a group of untrained women was chosen to learn about radio production and communication. They were trained and taught at another station to learn how to run their own. Later, they were trained in social communication, how to do it, how to inform, the necessary steps. They also learned from other journalists through meetings over about a year. Finally, the radio started broadcasting on July 10, 2011. And today they collaborate to host multiple live programs and broadcast daily online.
The radio broadcasts 24 hours. Sometimes live programs, sometimes not. They usually broadcast live an afternoons show during the week that is repeated the following morning; a show dedicated to multiple kinds of information, about education, culture, current events in America, also about health –these are called columns—. Guests with knowledge about specific topics also come to discuss their work. In general, the program talks about the problems in the neighborhood, the city, and throughout Latin America. But in addition to problems, the program also talks about what organizations are doing, what cultural centers are doing, and also what activities are being offered that are cheap or sometimes free, all to provide support to the members of the community. They also have an exclusive program about culture for which artists come in to talk about things like cinema and music. This program helps to provide information about using art to enhance our listeners' lives. Additionally, cultural centers are in danger of being shut down and they try to distribute information to defend them.
Why is this project important for the community?
First, the idea of the radio station was to inform the members of the organization, but later, this expanded to the neighborhood and other organizations, so people could stay informed about the community center. The necessity was then identified that beyond communicating amongst ourselves, something stronger was needed. The radio station was to be created and used as a social and political communication tool; it was seen as an urgent need because a voice was needed for the neighborhood, but also for Latin America as a whole. They broadcast on the internet now, so their ideas have to do with the entire region. They hope to provide people with information that helps them realize they can learn and accomplish things they didn't think they were capable of and instill the confidence and self-esteem in people that they need to try new things to improve their well-being; to instill the idea in people that they can always accomplish more. The biggest difference between a community radio station and the mass media is that the community radio tries to establish real, honest communication, whereas mass media communicates the things that are in their best interest to distribute. A community radio defends the interests of the people.
Volunteers can help us with a variety of things, including gathering materials about our programs from foreign sources and translating them to Spanish for us, help during live broadcasting, they can even propose and write a weekly column. How the volunteer can help depends on how long they are in Buenos Aires and their level of Spanish. Volunteers who have knowledge of the operating system of a radio station can also help with that or will also be able to organize new programs to add to the roster. Volunteers can help with social communication by visiting the neighborhoods and interviewing local inhabitants and thinking about how to best manage social handles and develop advertising strategies for the radio.
What can you learn as a volunteer?
At the radio station, there are endless opportunities to learn. The purpose of this place is to transmit information and to also entertain and educate people. To this end, the radio station broadcasts regular programs each day of the week that deal with news and social rights, comparing the viewpoints during debates with people from the area or other communities. The volunteers, thus, have an important function because they can exchange and give their opinions about current issues, with a different point of view and by sharing their own culture with the locals. It is also the perfect place to learn about the political, economic, and social situation of Argentina and to improve their level of Spanish. Finally, it is an opportunity for the volunteer to learn the basics of how a radio station works —if they know nothing yet— and learn more about means of communication in general in Argentina.
Long term volunteers can apply for a soft skills certificate from GLORE, a Project from the EU. You can choose up to 5 skills to certificate according to your experience and will.
These are the soft skills that communication volunteers are most likely to develop during the volunteer period:
- Comm and Active Listening
- Critical Thinking
- Decision Making
- Digital Communication
- Ethics and Work Commitment
- Multicultural Awareness
- Public Speaking
- Self Awareness
- Team Work
Monday through Friday afternoons. This project is available all year round.
Location and first day at work
This radio station is located in the historical neighborhood of La Boca neighborhood, better known for its colorful houses in Caminito. The project can be easily accessed by bus and it only takes about 30 minutes from the city center. Your first week will be dedicated to observing and asking questions to consolidate the information you have so that you can integrate yourself fully into your specific tasks.
- Valid Passport & Visa: Most travelers do not need a visa to enter Argentina. Volunteers enter the country as tourists and can stay for up to 90 days. Extensions on visas are possible; our coordinators will advise you on this process.
- Medical Insurance: Voluntario Global requires the volunteer to have adequate medical insurance for the duration of the program and must be provided with details of such insurance coverage at the time of confirming their placement.
- Spanish Level Required: Advanced (C1 – C2)
- Minimum Stay: 4 weeks