A Healthful Recipe For Development: A Space Called Community Radio

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5: Cross-Cutting Theme // Where can illiterate women in resource poor settings with low access to learning opportunities learn about health care? How can universities and other institutions of higher learning, who have the means and the knowledge reach out to communities? Community Radio (CR), is one such low cost simple technology that can provide a bridge linking the two. C R has received a new impetus in India with the recent liberalization of the broadcasting licensing policy, whereby recognized educational institutions and selected NGOs are granted licenses to operate low power transmitters. Despite the rapidly growing interest in CR and not withstanding the need for this people’s media, the ground reality today is a bit of a conundrum. The license holders, mainly educational institutions despite the financial resources and technical skills at their command, rarely carry the mandate or the experience to work with communities, and, the communities who need a local voice lack the capacity to operate/sustain a radio station. // It is this gap that CEMCA seeks to bridge, through a project called Science for Women: Health and Nutrition, (SFW) supported by the Government Department of Science and Technology. SFW is a radio series, articulated through 13 community stations over a period of one year , where we engage the students and the listening communities, in a participatory process where the universities understand the community needs and the women learn simple production skills to create relevant content for radio. At each of the 13 locations, 1000 community women are profiled in a baseline survey with community participation, to map their media habits and information needs. Further, a smaller group is engaged in a joint capacity building exercise with the university. Other outreach activities like health camps and interactions with doctors further synergize this knowledge sharing process. The focus is on health and nutrition, where the listeners are active participants, at highest end creating their own content and the lowest, active listeners. // Our paper documents the shared gain and learning by both partners and helps build a model to successfully appropriate the medium for mutual gain. // Paper ID 195

Community Radio,Women in Development,Rural Communities,Health