A team from National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) visited a Community Radio Centre built with funding from UNESCO at Pastapur village of Medak district in Telangana and conducted a study on its functioning and to assess its impact.
The NIRDPR team, led by Dr Akanksha Shukla, Associate Professor and Head, Center for Development Documentation and Communication (CDC), NIRDPR, found that Community radio has a lot of potential to weave the community into a stronghold and creates awareness about government schemes among the rural population.
"The station can help lead the conversation in various Rural Development-related issues such as Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP), Social Audit, Water Harvesting and Solar Panel Installation," the release by NIRDP said.
This Community Radio Station in the district is funded by the Deccan Development Society and run by a staff of three women from the local community. These women have been working with this organisation for the last 20 years, before which, they worked as agriculture wage workers. The said station has a reach of around 30 villages.
Highlighting the impact of Rural Community Radio Stations, Shukla said, "The Centre has initiated a planned convergence between the functioning of PRIs and Self Help Groups at the ground level to facilitate rural transformation. Addition of community radio stations to this triangulation approach may have far-reaching benefits as radio is now accessed over mobile phones as well. The appeal is far-reaching and the rural development benefits can suitably be reaped by utilising this community-based tool. Various studies in the African continent prove that community radios area very reliable and potent instrument for rural development."
She added, "The initiatives taken by PRIs should be appreciated and what the government at the village level is doing should be publicised. The PRI officials could use the air space to popularise schemes like MGNEREGA and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) so that the community may become aware of the programmes and reap them for their benefits."
"The field report found that programmes on health which has women's health/gynaecology-related content and general content are relevant for the people who can use the information for better health outcomes. One woman travelled the entire distance to the radio station to thank the employees because of the tips they shared on-air on tackling white discharge issues, which helped her address the issue which she had been unable to get treated for long," as per the release issued by NIRDP.
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