This Woman Launched an Internet Radio Station for Tunisian Youth

Entrepreneurial training helps her broadcast topics of local and country interest.

This article was developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and published here with the approval of UNIDO.

Over the last decade, internet radio has gained enormously in popularity as listeners embrace the newer medium and more portable playback devices, which can tune into their favorite stations from anywhere in the world at their convenience.

In 2017, Habiba Kraiem launched El Manaret 12 FM, the first internet radio station targeting the youth of Kebilli and the southern regions of Tunisia. She joins Tunisia’s growing online broadcasting community, which are proving internet radio can be a gateway for strengthening civil society engagement and democratic transition.

Kraiem always dreamed of being a journalist and managing her own communication and audiovisual production company. After graduating in Journalism from the IPSI (Press and Sciences of Information Institute) in 2007 she worked as a correspondent for several radio stations in Tunis. However, it was during an HP LIFE e-Learning training, which she attended as part of the Mashrou3i project, that she got the idea for El Manaret 12 FM.

The Mashrou3i program, organized by UNIDO in partnership with USAID, the Italian Cooperation, and the HP Foundation, is designed to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and offer tools that support fledgling business owners. Its mission is to create some 6,000 jobs and reach more than 25,000 aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in Tunisia over the next five years. In addition to mentoring and technical skills training, participants have access to HP LIFE, a free, online program of the HP Foundation, which features 28 interactive modules covering business and IT skills training in seven languages.

“I’ve always been passionate about the cultural heritage of my region, but the HP LIFE training helped me realize that I could draw on my experience as a journalist to promote this,” said Kraiem. “Setting up an internet radio station was the next logical step, and with the support of the HP LIFE group coaching I was able to develop my business model and improve my skills, especially in management, which is crucial for the success of the project.”

Following the HP LIFE training, Kraiem symbolically launched El Manaret 12 on National Women’s Day, which is celebrated in Tunisia every year on August 13. With the support of her family and friends, she opened an office in her hometown of Douz and started broadcasting with a simple technical setup.

“Having skills in journalism, design, IT, and languages is not enough for an internet radio to succeed,” she said. “You need ambition, determination, perseverance, and above all passion to overcome challenges on the journey of entrepreneurship. It’s this vision that I’m trying to ignite in the young people who listen to our radio, and especially my two volunteer employees.”

Kraiem has already taken the first steps of her entrepreneurial journey and knows there is still a long way to go to achieve her goals. She is determined to improve her project step by step and with the help of Mashrou3i experts in finance and marketing she hopes to gain access to financial support and to refine her marketing strategy.

“We want to enhance and diversify the radio programming by adding new themes such as women’s interests, cultural heritage, and festivals,” said Kraiem. “We also plan to start advertising and to officially launch the radio broadcast over the airwaves, once we have the approval of HAICA (Independent High Authority for Audiovisual Communication). We are excited about the future and feel that El Manaret 12 FM is on the right track.”