“Even if we clear the class 12 boards, we don’t have anything to do except for going to Ahmedabad for labour jobs,” says Ranjit, a 17-year-old youngster from a remote village called Udpuriya, located 70 kilometres away from Udaipur city in Rajasthan.
In India, 83 crore people live in rural areas, out of a population 121 crore Indians. India is a nation battling for development and if media organisations are operating in this environment, it is a very obvious expectation from them to cover the issues of development adequately, which is the prime need of the nation. Is our media serious about the issues common people are facing in their life?
Aawaaz is a project with a team of 11 young volunteers in the two tribal villages of Ambala and Udpuriya in Sarada block. According to the 2011 census, Sarada has a population of more than 2.5 lakhs and comprises of more than 190 villages, significantly receiving just two daily papers, Dainik Bhaskar and Rajasthan Patrika. It is transported from Udaipur city everydayThe project aims to prepare the young with journalistic abilities through workshops and timely reviews to build a systematic network of independent rural reporters belonging to the same populace. The young changemakers are writing stories about their villages. It includes profiles on villages, major occasions, on-going problems, issues and much more. They are being published on Facebook at Project CLIP. Aawaaz is a project focusing on training the tribal youth to become the voice of their community, snatching away the power from the external agencies which have been covering their issues for a long time.
By changing the community dynamics directly by working with these young reporters, the aim is to create a large scale impact by building pressure on the power authorities to provide adequate representation to these sections in the media as well as in the decisions made by the government . The huge gap between people who are impacted by policies and the policy itself needs to be reduced to ensure holistic development.
Since development is a process and not an event, it requires more time and money to cover these remote areas. It’s high time that we realise that it’s more important to give power to the people and importance to the issues that are actually worth our concern rather than broadcasting and printing news surrounding a prominent personality, pseudo-religious gurus or love stories taking place in the queues of banks during the time of demonetisation. Our media industry is already into the web of conglomerates and it seems to be impossible to shift their focus from the current corporate interests, entertainment and tabloid journalism. As an alternative, why not equip the rural populace to have the capacity of voicing out their issues and problems?