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Namma dhwani, budikote, kolar Community Radio


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  • 1. BITTU, Monty, Dholu, Rim-Gym, Nakki, Mannu, Bob, Pirate
  • 2.  Self Help Groups  Community Radio Stations  MYRADA  Budikote village  Namma Dhwani
  • 3.  Self-Help Group (SHG) is a small voluntary association of poor people, preferably from the same socio-economic background. They come together for the purpose of solving their common problems through self-help and mutual help.  The SHG promotes small savings among its members. The savings are kept with a bank. This common fund is in the name of the SHG.
  • 4.  The Supreme Court of India ruled in its judgment of February 1995 that "airwaves are public property". The judgment inspired several free speech advocates, academics and community members across the country to being a concerted campaign to legitimize community radio in India.  A UNESCO sponsored workshop, hosted by an Andhra Pradesh NGO, Deccan Development Society (DDS) from July 17- July 20, 2000 in Hyderabad issued the 'Pastapur Initiative' on community radio that urged the government to take its intentions of freeing broadcasting from state monopoly to its logical conclusion, by making media space available not only to private players but also to communities.  In South India, Deccan Development Society worked with Dalit women's collectives to start Sangam Radio, the programs for which were made by the community, but were 'narrowcast,
  • 5.  Another landmark initiative was jointly set up by VOICES and MYRADA - called Namma Dhwani (Our Voices), where programs were produced by communities in and around the village of Budikote (about 100 kilometers from Bangalore),  By early 2003, the government of India released the first set of community radio guidelines, but unfortunately, restricted eligibility to educational institutions only.  Anna FM was India's first campus "community" radio station. Launched on 1 February 2004, it is run by the Education and Multimedia Research Centre (EMRC); Programmes are produced by students as well as community.
  • 6.  According to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, the current status (as on 25 April 2013) of Community Radio in India is as follows:  No. of applications received so far, from 2004 to 05 Feb 2013 (including 104 under 2002 CR Guidelines): 1200  Grant of Permission of Agreement(GOPA) signed: 191  Operational Community Radio Stations: 148  Number of applications rejected: 545  Applications under process: 227
  • 7.  The village is just two hours away from bangalore, it is situated in the Bangarpet taluk of kolar district in south-eastern part of karnataka, population is about 3000 in about 600 families.  The occupation is mainly agriculture, though some farmers mostly suffer from irregular monsoons.  Sericulture and pesciculture are practiced till some extent.  Budikote has about 15 self help groups, two government schools and a hospital.  Historically, it is the birth place of Tipu sultans father Hyder Ali.  The area is also rich in terms of heritage and monuments, but has little in terms of a history of fine arts.
  • 8.  There is a significant problem in electricity supply, but not much compared to the other areas in the IPDC project.  People have faced problems with water supply, and there have been water related epidemics in the past.  Budikote has good media penetration with cable television, commercial FM radio from Bangalore as well as All India Radio from Bangalore.  The local government in Budikote is inefficient but has done occasional good work.  Women’s self help groups are also active in the area.
  • 9.  It’s a managing body with 18 projects at present working directly with 20 backward draught hit areas in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It was started in 1968. It specifically takes care of the poor- marginalised to build and manage their own institutions, to develop their own livelihood strategies, to associate in order to lobby effectively to change oppressive relations, to access resources and build linkages.
  • 10.  They foster ongoing change in the rural poor.  They help them make innovative local level institutions rooted in values of justice, equality and mutual support  Focus is given to health of the rural environment and the legitimate needs of the poor when they make a livelihood base for them  They build institutional strategies and skills to preserve the rights of women, children and marginalized- leading to food security.  Concentrate on the primary health care and education to control infant and mother mortality rates and to prevent water borne diseases  Strengthening producer and market institutions for the livelihood of the poor
  • 11.  Myrada and Namma Dhwani go by the same agenda: "Building institutions of the poor and marginalized which are appropriate to the resource to be managed and objective to be achieved"  Influencing public policies for the poor
  • 12.  In India, All India Radio (AIR), the public service broadcaster has been playing a very useful role for decades in providing relevant information to the people in the remotest parts of the country.  Although, in Budikote AIR transmits in three languages and its programs are popular, the local community felt they were not relevant enough to their situation.  People thought that community radio could provide them with more timely and useful local information.  Due to its focus on local concerns and aspirations and the interactive nature of its programming, community radio can be a powerful medium for education and development and it also caters to the needs of the specified place and specially in Budikote which AIR was unable to do.
  • 13.  In 1999 a baseline survey conducted to assess information needs and preferred media revealed that the community wanted locally relevant information on crops, market prices, health (particularly women's health), etc.  They wanted this information through audio channels mainly because of low comprehension, poverty and literacy levels.  They expressed the wish that information be broadcast in their own dialect, which is a mix of Kannada & Telugu. None of the available media, both private and government- owned, catered to these specific needs mirroring the massive information gap that exists in the rest of the country.
  • 14.  Namma Dhwani in many ways serves as a demonstrative model. In 2000, 28 volunteers selected by community based organizations were trained in interviewing, recording, scripting, editing, and mixing skills.  These trainings were complemented with exposure visits to government and private audio studios, as well as community radio stations in Nepal.  Volunteers from 35 villages created regionally relevant programmes and played them at Self Help Group meetings in different villages.  Formed with help from our partner NGO in this area, MYRADA, these Self Help Groups are constituted of women who get together to engage in micro credit finance.  Most of these women are semi-literate or illiterate, engaged in agricultural work with very little access to information on issues pertaining to their lives.
  • 15.  The success of the narrowcasting prompted the establishment of an audio production center in Budikote with the help of UNESCO in September 2001.  The Management committee is comprised of 10 women and 2 men who in turn represent the members of their Self Help Groups, amounting to approximately 230 women and 25 men.  Each group made a token investment and accepted responsibility in being trained to become the managers of Namma Dhwani.  They meet twice a month to take stock of programming, feedback and administrative matters.  They have hired 3 studio staff from the community who are responsible for programming, feedback and other administrative matters, as well as looking after the computer training.
  • 16.  Namma Dhwani conducted a loudspeaker narrowcast, every Tuesday, during the weekly market.  Around the same time workshops about audio techniques were organized for children from the government school.  Their enthusiasm to adopt newer methods of learning prompted a cable connection from the Namma Dhwani studio to the classroom of the tenth grade students.  This initiative was implemented with the help of the parents, the teachers and the Block Education Office.
  • 17.  During all these different phases of Namma Dhwani, one of the questions that was often posed to us was "where can I listen to my own voice?" This sentiment found an echo in the vision statement of the management committee which said that they wanted every household of their village to be able to listen to Namma Dhwani.  Starting in March 2003, a direct to home cable connection was established in collaboration with the local cable operator.
  • 18.  Side by side, in April 2002 computers were set up at the centre. Basic training in MS- Office & targeting school dropouts and other interested community members such as farmers and women continues.  Because of the poor telecom infrastructure Internet Connectivity has been inconsistent. The computers are also used to archive information and administrative systems as well as digital editing.  Enrich, a front page interface developed for UNESCO by the National Informatics Centre has enabled ND to archive data like contact information about medical facilities, health programmes with graphic details, and Namma Dhwani's own programmes in the local language.
  • 19.  Namma Dhwani through its existence has acted an instrument of advocacy supporting community radio legislation in India.  Being one of the few initiatives that demonstrated the power of community radio, before the policy was finally released in November 2006, Namma Dhwani was open to experiment with different ICT tools.
  • 20.  Implement a radio browsing model using relevant information from the internet, packaged into audio programmes to provide access to local as well as global information  Extend programming to other villages, using loudspeakers and deferred cable casts methods.  Become a computer and audio production training center for people from other villages Namma Dhwani is a small village, a micro study in a landscape of gigantic, vertical media growth. However, it is an excellent example of synergizing communications with information in ways that the rest of India has yet to do.
  • 21.  Currently, no programmes are being produced at the moment at NammaDhwani. Frequency of narrowcast have reduced to twice a month. All the focus is right now on preparing to go air once the license is obtained from the government.  With an archive of more than 800 hours, they are more than prepared to go on air, the day they get the license.  Active community members participating in CRS – Women’s Self Help Groups set up by MYRADA.  Since ND has been inactive for the last six months, the team also had been absorbed to do other activities.
  • 22.  The telecentre where now computer training takes place is active. Children and youth members attend these classes, for Rs.1500 for a three month certificate course. This is an attractive feature that is used to look after some of the running costs.  The Management Committee of the Resource Centre is the Management Committee of the radio station.  They are keen to update themselve on the latest developments vis-a-vis the policy, and also equip itself with the challenges of going on air, something which no NGO has faced yet.  The management committee members are raring to start the station afresh with their roles and responsibilities clearly outlined.
  • 23.  For about 8 days BK was not able to get drinking water because the pipes of the main borewell were broken. The irritated women gathered in front of the building, discussing their problems. One of ND's volunteers Nagaraj, 20, borrowed the recording equipment and recorded the opinions of the women. He then played back these sound bytes to the panchayat secretary who promised to look into the matter and have it fixed in the next 2 days. Sure enough, the water was gushing by the end of the next day.  Similar issues about drainage leakages, street light etc. have been articulated by the community members while collecting feedback about the panchayat programmes. When cablecast, men have informed us that appropriate action has been taken by the panchayat.
  • 24.  Individual villagers have also experienced the power of the radio. Narayanswamy lived by selling milk till her only cow died. When she claimed insurance money for her cow, the agent tried to cheat her.  He said he did not owe her money. She went to his office a dozen times in vain. Then she talked about her problem on Namma Dhwani. The next day, the agent gave her the money.
  • 25. “This radio station is ours because it speaks about us, in our language and in our accent. When I turn it on, I hear the voices of people I know,” says Triveni Narayanswamy.