Radio can overcome boundaries, rise emotions and win hearts. In a recent project, nine students and journalists from Zimbabwe and Germany worked together on intercultural radio features. The way of collaboration worked via internet – the same way we got first in touch.

In July, the German participants met for the kick-off day in Berlin, and a couple of days later, the Zimbabweans got to know each other in Harare. To catch a first impression of our working partners, both groups produced a video where each person introduced themselves. At the beginning of August, we all came together in Berlin, meeting each other for the first time.

During the following ten days, without knowing each other, we managed to work very hard and to build a strong team. Due to the accommodation arrangements – the German participants hosting the Zimbabweans – we spent nearly every hour with our working partner.

The program of the training week included various types of speakers and lectures. Aside from presentations on the various media systems as well as technical introductions, we participated in workshops about storytelling; basics of interviewing; ethics and law in journalism; speaking lessons; and intercultural training.

To get an insight into the real working atmosphere, we visited three different radio station in Berlin. Here, we were privileged to broadcast together behind the same microphone for the first time. We took this spontaneous offer of having a full hour live show. As we brought very different experiences into the project the show was their first time “on air” whereas others simply did their daily job.

As we were supposed to create our radio features in partners, every Zimbabwean feature had a German counterpart, and vice versa. Therefore, we had to collect our concepts and ideas mutually. The research and work put into our topics played an important role in the understanding of the project as a whole. Finally, we titled our radio collaboration between Berlin and Harare “The Bridge.”

One highlight of the intercultural training week was our final trip to the German-African Media Conference presented by the Partnership with Africa Association in Hamburg, where we presented our project. We worked hard, we laughed a lot, we had serious discussions, and, of course, we had a lot of fun. We had masses of Döner Kebab and we promised to visit each other. Now it’s up to us to create our intercultural radio show “The Bridge”. In fact, in both cities, Berlin and Harare, we are currently producing our features and we really hope to meet each other again, no matter in which country, or in which context.

by Muriel Reichl