August 2004

Community Participation:Community radio initiative in Jharkhand

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It was like a festival for the villagers of Lesigunj and Panki Blocks of Palamou distict of newly created Jharkhand state in India. People were in different mood and happy because this is for the first time they would listen their own voices and issues on 'Chala Ho Gaon Mein', a radio programme made by, about and for them was going to be aired from All India Radio (AIR).

Radio for empowerment
Palamou that was in news for drought, backwardness and recently for the naxalite activities witnessed a unique and innovative use of radio as an important tool for empowerment. People from different corners of the village gathered at the predestined locations decided by them. The first programme was relayed through AIR Daltongunj at 7.15p.m. on Sundays. Community made arrangement for special listening sessions in 45 villages in and around Lesligunj and Panki blocks. Adequate publicity was made to inform the people to assemble at village choupals, schools, and community halls for group listening. This was an entirely a new concept and probably for the first time in eastern belt. A radio deck with heavy sound box was fixed and 100-150 people of all ages sat around lantern of gaslight to listen to the programme. Community representatives of the community radio project organised the group listening session.

I, along with Suresh Kumar, Coordinator community radio, was present at Piprakurd, a Mahato dominated village in Lesligunj Block. At Durga mandap chowk of Piprakurd village, there were 150 people listening to the programme in pin drop silence. We noticed that there was a whisper in the crowd when narrator was announcing the names of the participants and their villages, community felt representation of their village was not included. At 7.45 pm, we invited feed back from the audiences and voice raised by Basant- “It is totally disgusting, no participation of our village

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