Community radios empower resilient communities

Addressing pandemic-related poverty in rural South Asia

A new project aims to empower local communities to develop pathways out of the worsening poverty caused by the Corona pandemic. The project was planned and will be implemented by CAMECO in cooperation with AMARC Asia Pacific, the autonomous regional branch of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters based in Kathmandu, Nepal, and is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ).

The role of community radios is envisaged as a kind of “emergency response” for those groups in society, which are most severly affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The project involves 30 community radio journalists (CRJs) from 15 community radios from four countries in the South Asia region: Bangladesh (4), India (3), Indonesia (3) and Nepal (5). The 15 selected community radios represent extremely marginalised places, such as mountainous regions, underdeveloped regions and places where these community radios are the only medium of communication for the local population. The project will involve two journalists per station, representing communities in vulnerable situations (indigenous peoples, family/small farmers, etc.). The percentage of women should be at least 50, and the journalists should be able to produce content in the local languages of these communities.

In the last three years a number of interventions have been implemented by AMARC Asia Pacific to respond directly to the spread of the Corona pandemic, hygienic protection measures, knowledge about the Corona virus, etc. The current follow-up phase will focus on one of the most serious consequences, the spreading impoverishment of the population, especially in marginalised regions.

At the outset, knowledge transfer and sharing will be provided on the link between the COVID-19 pandemic and rising poverty in local communities, and recommended ways to address it. Individual experts, organisations and institutions working to end poverty in the context of the Social Development Goals 2030 (SDG 2030) will be involved.

This will be followed by discussions and training on how to translate the acquired knowledge into interesting and effective radio programmes that can move communities to collective action, conducted by experienced radio producers and journalists. Content development under the project will involve the participation of listeners, civil society organisations (CSOs) and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as local administrations. Listener involvement will be encouraged during pre-production, production and post-production of content.

Both groups of experts will be available to mentor community radio journalists throughout the duration of the project. Selected trainers will follow the monitoring and evaluation of the programmes produced.

To embed sustainable mechanisms for knowledge exchange and transfer, an easily accessible online platform will be established, where resources for programme production (content and journalistic) can be accessed and contacts with experts can be established. Produced programmes will be made available online - also to other member stations. A handbook will document the experiences to make them available to all member radios.

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