Media presence in rural areas of Bundelkhand is either government driven or its ownership in the hands of private individuals with no scope for involvement of the local community. There was virtually no communication platform from which the rural people in a very backward region, suffering from droughts, migration and farmers suicides, could voice their concerns, get information and find solutions. Radio Bundelkhand, the first community radio in the region since 2008, uses an ICT based platform – and reporters from within the community – young girls and boys from deprived classes to facilitate dialogue amongst the rural poor, the illiterate and marginalised. The radio programming now enables the local community to access information, explore and discuss issues relevant to them and share solutions. The platform allows the rural audience to develop their own programmes in their dialect Bundeli, on matters affecting them. Through it they reflect their identity, history, dialect and idiom and art and culture. The radio station has a unique participatory model of programming and broadcast, jointly managed by the community and Development Alternatives, an NGO that has been given the license. Radio Bundelkhand is playing a crucial role in enabling and empowering the communities to use this communication medium for taking charge of their own information and entertainment needs,based on their requests and feedback.
What we deliver
The programmes delivered through Radio Bundelkhand are based on issues and content identified by the communities. The programs are broadcasted in an infotainment format which helps the community to understand the issue and find a solution in an entertainment mode. Each programme comprises of discussions, interviews (with experts at community and specialist level), reports from field, folk plays, radio drama, and messages. The phone-ins are used to receive queries and feedback from the users. In last three years, Radio Bundelkhand has delivered programmes on following issues : Agriculture & livestock Education Environment Health & hygiene Women issues Banking & SHGs Employment Cultural Heritage Government Schemes Children Events Coverage Narrow casting is another way to reach unreached community. Community reporters go to a selected village with the package of program and mobiles. They narrow cast the programme with the help of small transmitter on radio and organise focus group discussions with a small listener group. In last three years radio have developed 58 listener groups of farmers, youth, women, adolesant girls and other vulnerable groups, who are regular listener of radio programs.
Whom we deliver
Primary Users: Local Communities: Rural and urban communities of 131 villages of two districts Jhansi and Tikamgarh of Bundelkhand. Listeners: Farmers, women, youth, folk singers and other vulnerable groups. Folk Singers: Those who perform from the platform and explore more options of earnings and show their talent on other platforms. Secondary and Passive User : Research students of community radio and other agencies, working on community radio.
How is the project unique?
Radio Bundelkhand has several unique features. 1. The primary uniqueness of the initiative is that it is demand driven and based on the needs of the community it serves. The radio has a participatory model in management, programming and broadcast. 2. The method is unique inasmuch the Management committee which consist of the woman sarpanch, the local vet, school teacher, doctor, youth representatives etc, are empowered to suggest programmes and bring back inputs from the community. 3. What makes the programming different is the local perspective of the young reporters. All the reporters and there have been 55 till date, including at least 9 girls are from the local villages. They report, edit, anchor, create the jingles, package and broadcast the programmes. They have been trained and learnt on the job on the technical facilities and so can mange the broadcast themselves. The youngest is 18 years old and one reporter is above 33. 4. Jointly managed by the community and DA, this set up offers an opportunity for the local people to take ownership of the radio station, giving them a sense of belonging and pride. 5. The community radio plays a unique role in preserving the local culture, language, idioms, folksongs and history of the area. 6. The technology is hybrid and has been sourced from NGO and non commercial organisations like NOMAD and GRINS. Radio Bundelkhand gave space to young engineers and software technicians to experiment on their campus and with their equipment and this has led to better hardware and software models being created, which are being used by many other community radio stations in India now. 7. A survey revealed that often women do not have control over the radio tuner. Narrowcasting was started and the women not only heard the programmes, but their feedback provided richness for the next programme. 8. DA plays the role of a facilitator by providing the community reporter adequate training to run the radio so that in future they can self sustain even if DA withdraws from the area. 9. The business model is evolving slowly and many of the income generating initiatives taken by Radio Bundelkhand are being followed elsewhere. 10. Radio Bundelkhand took the lead in setting up the first consortium with Radio Chattarpur and Lokvani at Lalitpur for sharing programmes and has been agreed to in principle.
Radio Bundelkhand is seen as a tool for the empowerment of the community. The roadmap primarily includes new product development/customization, increase in listenership, corporate tie-ups and development of a revenue model. In coming three years, Radio Bundelkhand will be expanding its reach through other community radio operators and implementations of various projects are being carried out on this platform. It is estimated that by the use of content more than one lakh community people will get benefited. All necessary follow up strategies will be put in place as part of the programme design to ensure sustainability. The long term vision is the power of a mass communication medium in the hands of the rural and illiterate marginalised, who use it for their own empowerment and entertainment. support by DA. All necessary follow up strategies will be put in place as part of the programme design to ensure sustainability. The long-term vision of Radio Bundelkhand primarily includes new product development/customization, increase in listener ship, corporate tie-ups and development of a revenue model.
Society for Development Alternatives
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