The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) is a membership based and non-profit making Association established in 2003 to promote community radio interests in Zimbabwe. The work of ZACRAS focuses on capacity strengthening of its members, lobby and advocacy for community radio licenses and creation of a conducive policy environment favoring community radio development. Through its membership, the Association promotes access to information at a community level thereby fostering participation in developmental processes. The membership of ZACRAS presently stands at 22 in the year 2019.


Developed and participative communities in Zimbabwe which freely express themselves.


To empower communities in Zimbabwe through building and sustaining strong, vibrant, autonomous community driven radio stations.


In 2001, the Government of Zimbabwe enacted the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) to regulate the operations of broadcasting media in Zimbabwe. It was to be the BSA that would introduce for the first time legality to the idea of community radio broadcasting in Zimbabwe through reference to the 3 tier broadcasting system comprising of public, commercial and community broadcasting. This same introduction of the concept did not however connote any sense of urgency not only for the licensing of community radio, but also for commercial broadcasting for either television or radio.

The formation of ZACRAS was therefore premised on the need for a unified national advocacy platform for community radio initiatives and activists. This national advocacy platform, ZACRAS, had as its primary tasks, seeking both the democratization of broadcasting and media related laws as well as pursuing a people-centered lobbying for the urgent licensing of community radio stations.

ZACRAS Structure

The structure of ZACRAS comprises of the General Council, Board of Trustees and Secretariat. The General Council through its Convener, convenes the Annual General Meeting (AGM), makes recommendations, approves budgets and auditors and assists in ensuring that ZACRAS members operate in accordance with the needs and aspirations of their respective communities. The Board of Trustees provides policy guidelines and direction which assists the Association in executing its mandate. The Secretariat carries out the administrative functions of the Association.

Operational Areas

Lobby and Advocacy

Capacity strengthening

Research and Documentation

Regulation and Compliance


We believe that focusing on these operational areas will result in:

operational environment

An enabling operational environment which promotes community radio development and growth.


Community radio stations which operate in compliance with the stipulated ZACRAS and National regulatory framework.


A diverse and flourishing community radio sector in Zimbabwe well connected as a sector and with other partners nationally and internationally.


Strong and self-sustaining community radio initiatives that contribute to the development of their own communities.

Body of Knowledge

The establishment of an evidence based center of excellence with a body of knowledge on community radio stations in Zimbabwe and beyond.
Full Members
Year Formed
Licensed Community Radios

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The Journey so far

Despite the enactment of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) in 2001, it took slightly over eleven years before the Government of Zimbabwe actually licensed private national free to air radio stations and almost twelve years before Government began calls for applications of local commercial radio stations with no calls for community radio having been made till date.

As it has done with the print media, Government has actively sought to increase media players without undertaking a holistic democratisation of the media environment. While the quantity of private media players has increased, the qualitative operational environment has remained subject to the criminalisation of the media and the continued monitoring of media content for the purposes of control.

It can however be argued that Government has shifted from a position of denying the democratic urgency of broadcasting diversity to one in which it now exhibits an incremental approach to the same ,particularly with regards to quantity as opposed to quality. More recently, Government has begun to actively talk about the licensing of 10 community radios in the year 2019. The need for the enactment of democratic community radio regulations to guide the operations of the sector however remains an outstanding issue.

Since the formation of ZACRAS in 2003, the membership of the Association has grown from 4 members to 22 in 2019. Since the formation of ZACRAS, number of interventions have been effected in a bid to not only popularize the concept of community radio in Zimbabwe and subsequently strengthen the operations of the existing ZACRAS members but to also promote access to information at the local level.

Whilst there have been positive results realized during thist period, there have also been challenges which have deterred the complete realization of a functional and sustainable community radio sub-sector. These challenges range from the non-licensing of community radios, lack of Government support for this sector to limited community radio equipment and volunteer turnover  within the membership
34 Nigel Phillips Road, Eastlea, Harare, ZW
+263 242-701978/9

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