Empowerment through information

Empowerment through information

Covering about 2.5 lakh people, Madhya Pradesh's Radio Bundelkhand broadcasts to around 140 villages in Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts

OPERATIONAL SINCE 2008, Radio Bundelkhand's key focus areas are agriculture, MGNREGA, education, health, women and youth issues, entrepreneurship and cultural development. "We had no experience or any idea of how to run a radio station. But we did realise that the radio is a communication tool that can be used for social welfare and development," says Anuja Shukla, who launched the station and was till recently its station manager. "Empowerment through information was our motive," she says. Started by the NGO Development Alternatives (DA), the station broadcasts to around 140 villages, covering about 2.5 lakh people in Tikamgarh and Jhansi districts. With the slogan Apna Radio Apni Batein, it churns out eight to nine hours of broadcast daily.

The station has trained more than 60 local volunteer journalists in the last four years and more than 400 local singers are registered with it. The library has 1,500 folk songs, many concerning social issues, collected from villages that the station serves. Because of DA's backing and initial support in the form of a grant from UNESCO for setting up equipment and infrastructure, operational funding hasn't really been a problem. However, the staff do concede that sustainability is an issue for community radio stations as their efforts to make the station self-sustaining through advertising and other community-based funding models haven't really been successful.

A distinct voice

Inspired by stories of community radio acting as an agent for development, Henvalvani Community Radio focuses on local issues, problems and interaction

IT'S A frugal set-up. The microphone and transmitter jostle for space on a single table in a small room. This room serves as the studio of Henvalvani Community Radio in Chamba, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

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