"Why not," says Suresh Kumar, Program Coordinator, AID Jharkhand and Radio Vikalp, Garwha, a community radio initiative, "Take the example of programs like Chala Ho Gaon Mein, which addresses topical issues of the village community. Here matters of violence, women's rights and even corruption are addressed regularly especially now with the elections around the corner. I feel that community radio is not only a cheap and the best option for rural outreach programs, but is also pro poor as it helps fight for solidarity, justice and good governance. Through the folk songs and dramas that we produce we have managed to do away with social evils and superstitions, raise child labour issues, highlight corruption and campaign against illetracy, etc. Awareness and information about AIDS, Polio, Malaria and TB have also been addressed through our CR programs."
Making a mention of the utility that community radio can have for disseminating information of govt policies and schemes, Kumar further says,"CRs can support the govt efforts to spark awareness about their schemes and policies and at the same time also help educate the community about the how they can benefit from these policies. As far as we have seen, the impact of the policies through listenership of CR is higher than the publicity material that the government has printed so far."
Now that's what we call making waves -- literally!
Anjali Singh - Citizen News Service (CNS)
(The author is a senior journalist and Director of Saaksham Foundation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)