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The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) is an umbrella body of community radio stations in Zimbabwe whose two broad aims are capacity strengthening and advocating for the licensing and a conducive operational environment. It is a membership based, independent and non – profit making organisation founded in 2003 with the secretariat set up in 2009. The organisation strives to assist communities in establishing own community radios. ZACRAS seeks to capacitate member stations through conceptual and technical training, while guiding their conduct so that they conform to the standards and principles of community broadcasting.

ZACRAS was formed in 2003 when Zimbabwe was facing serious political and economic instability. During the time, 2003, most of the privately owned media institutions were being targeted for closure, censoring and other forms of harassment. The supposed public broadcaster was reduced to a government and ruling party propaganda tool. It was then when ZACRAS was formed in an effort to create media and broadcasting diversity and pluralism for inclusive development.

Since the formation of ZACRAS in 2003, the membership of the Association has grown from 4 members to 17 full members in 2014 and 11 candidate members by 2016. As from 2003 to 2014, a number of interventions have been affected in a bid to popularise the concept of community radio in Zimbabwe and subsequently strengthen the operations of the existing ZACRAS members. It however has to be stated that in as much as there were positive results realised during that period, there were however challenges which deterred the complete realisation of a functional and sustainable community radio sub- sector.

These challenges ranged from the non- licensing of community radios, lack of Government support for this sector to limited community radio equipment and lack of community rootedness of the community radios. When the community radio concept was first mooted in Zimbabwe, the committees that were tasked with spearheading of these stations mainly comprised of journalists drawn from either the mainstream media fraternity or freelancers. This overtime had a negative bearing on the ownership of the stations themselves and ultimately inhibited the inclusiveness and participation of the community in the operations of the stations. It is noteworthy to realise that ZACRAS has become an authority on community broadcasting issues in Zimbabwe with increased number of organisations, communities, and individuals seeking approaching us for both information and technical support.