The idea of the project is basically that you can do a lot of good in Africa, specially in war thorn countries were communications are inexistant and infraestructure like electricity is years away. The idea as explained by the MSNBC article came:
In 1994, just as South Africa was emerging from the years of apartheid and forming its first democratically elected government, a colleague of Rory Stear saw a TV special featuring a wind–up radio.
In the spirit of the great hope and optimism at that time, Stear, a South African entrepreneur, and his colleague, Chris Staines, immediately saw the potential of a manually operated radio to spread information and education in sub-Saharan Africa and bought the rights to develop the technology.
The radio which gets the energy it needs from a hand cranked generator built into the radio can be also powered by solar cells. It also features 4 bands (FM, MW, SW1, SW2) and is built to resist a fall from a second floor. It's colors are bright and I guess they are choosen to appeal the kids, that according to the foundation, are the beneficiaries of the equipment.
I find the idea appealing and I will add my contribution here. If the idea is that freedom of speech to get news is behind all this project, why don't add also a simple feature to allow those radios to communicate with each other like walkie talkies do, to nearby ones. This will add another dimension to the radio that will not only allow people to be passive recipients of the broadcast but also to empower them to communicate with other fellow listeners and make their comments. In that way the radio will not only play a role in spreading information and news but allow other people to communicate easily and although is not a phone or a CB radio at least will allow them to use on a personal level to broadcast their own information and news. I guess that adding that functionality is not difficult or expensive and will have an impact like CB communication made on its time, and then later on, the internet and it's sub-products in particular like e-mail, Instant messaging and BLOGS like this.
I will really love this idea to be added to the radio, and since the organization that promote it is a non-profit one, I am not claiming any sort of intellectual property right on the idea, just recognition to the origin of it in case no one else came up with the idea before and it is found worth it by the makers of the radio.