e-Community Broadcasting, Winner 2015
Giving voice to Mewat community via community radio
SM Sehgal Foundation is a public, charitable trust established in 1999. Its mission is to strengthen community-led development initiatives to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental changes across rural India. In February 2012, it launched a community radio service called Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8 (Rural Voices of Mewat) to provide a media platform for local community voices in Mewat district of Haryana. The community radio serves the most isolated and vulnerable populations across 225 villages where there is very limited access to mainstream media. Through the medium, people learn about, discuss, and debate important local issues such as government policies, programmes, services, entitlements, information about agriculture, and other health and education issues. Villagers, schoolchildren, women and local artists contribute to the radio programmes. Programming is designed to cater to all age groups and encourage female engagement and promote gender equality. The programming decisions based on community needs are taken at the local level and are based on formative research including focused group discussions, in-depth interviews and other tools such as mind-mapping and problem tree. Alfaz-e-Mewat has pioneered working with fellow radio stations in four other states — Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar — on the National Food Security Act in 2014 with localised content developed by select stations. It has also done thematic programming with other radio stations through externally funded projects. The station was part of the three pilot stations in Haryana to engage with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) for ‘Kanoon Ki Baat’ aimed at legal empowerment of the masses. The station also makes use of Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS) tools to know community views on various social issues. It is now working on a mobile app for storytelling to combat tuberculosis.
Giving voice to the community through community radio
Shramik Bharati, a non-profit, launched a community radio service called Waqt Ki Awaaz in September 2013. The radio station located in Bairi Dariyav village of Maitha block in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh broadcasts programmes that give voice to the local community and covers issues relevant to the community unlike public broadcasters and commercial FM. Waqt Ki Awaaz works as the community’s own medium of communication for dialogue, information sharing, knowledge sharing and citizen action for empowerment, equity and equality. All its producers, grameen reporters, artists and musicians come from the community. They are the real owners. Waqt Ki Awaaz is providing space to their talent and identity. Most of the programmes are produced in local dialect in order to establish better relationship with the community. Waqt Ki Awaaz produces only those programmes which are useful for the community. For example, it produces quiz programmes with students and teachers of one government primary school every week. Students and teachers in more than 32 schools listen to it with great interest and queue up for their turn to produce the next programme. The entire listener community is free to walk into the studio anytime during working hours and record their programs. Sometimes children come and do the broadcasting. At present, Waqt Ki Awaaz reaches more than 3,00,000 people in about 300 villages. Residents of all age groups listen to this radio station, which broadcasts seven hours a day. The station is gradually moving towards financial sustainability. During the financial year 2014-15, it reached about 50 per cent financial self-sustainability and it hopes to achieve full sustainability in 2016-17. The revenue comes from contractual assignments on issue-based programmes and advertisements. The loss is borne by Shramik Bharti which is committed to bear the loss till the radio station becomes self-sustainable.