By Sonia Chopra
Community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8 launched two special radio series for teenage girls. The first series titled Full on Nikki focuses on adolescents and has been developed by BBC Media Action in partnership with UNICEF. The other series focuses on government programs such as the midday meal, the integrated child development services, and social welfare schemes that benefit citizens. This series is supported by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Hyderabad, which runs the web portal Vikaspedia that makes information about government programs available in 23 Indian languages.
To learn how listeners responded to the new programs, the Alfaz-e-Mewat community radio team held interactive sessions with the adolescent girls group in village Jatka in district Nuh in the month of June , 2017. The session was attended by about 40 girls who listened to the first radio episode on the topic of voice and silence and shared their personal experiences. The girls found the program entertaining and remembered key phrases used by the fictitious radio jockey, “Nikki,” who plays the program host, and the comic character, “W download,” who shares a brief fact file in the program.
Girls shared their perceptions about gender-based discrimination and how far they are able to speak from their minds and hearts in such a conservative society. The girls noted that many of their aspirations are restrained due to lack of opportunities, a family mind-set of not letting girls to study beyond school, and early marriage. They felt that even though things are changing gradually, there is a long way to go.
The second program focuses on government programs and social welfare schemes that rural villagers often lack information about. The program, Nai Dishayein (new directions), aptly presents the information about program implantation processes in dramatic format to create a better recall with the audience.
The program is intended to increase awareness about key government programs to ensure better accountability and transparency in rural governance. If citizens know their rights, they can participate to ensure better functioning of the programs and better receipt of their entitled services.
To involve listeners actively in the program, a live discussion takes place after every episode so listeners can share their views and thoughts on the issues by calling in at the studio number: 9813164542.
Community Radio Yourstoryteller series has also started on mobile app.
ZMQ in partnership with Sehgal Foundation launched the mobile platform called ‘Your Storyteller’ that constitutes the mobile app of our community radio Alfaz e Mewat. The app featuring stories on governance and health can be downloaded from Google Playstore. The launch event including the panel discussion was held at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) yesterday. Pooja O Murada presented in the panel on storytelling and shared experiences on the ground, along with other eminent panelists coming from companies, multilateral and government agencies.
All of this week, the mobile platform Yourstoryteller is being showcased on the Vishwa Vidyalaya metro station. Visit us at the stall at Gate no 4 of the metro station.
(Sonia Chopra is communications associate, S M Sehgal Foundation)