Sehgal Foundation established community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat (“Rural Voices of Mewat”) FM 107.8 to provide a media platform for local community voices in Mewat district, Haryana. Since the most essential participants in grassroots development work are local voices, the station broadcasts in the local language in an accessible format, so that listeners can learn about, discuss, and debate important local issues, such as government policies, programs, services, entitlements, agriculture information, and water conservation initiatives.
By championing the voices of the most isolated and vulnerable populations, community radio raises citizen awareness and empowers individuals to participate in their own development.
“I don’t know how to express what I feel. Like men, I also have opinions, but they hardly take the shape of words. I felt skeptical about the community women broadcasters’ training conducted by Sehgal Foundation. But after attending the sessions, I feel that I can talk about issues that matter to me.” ~Bhagwan Devi, Bhadas village, Mewat.
Villagers, schoolchildren, and local artists take active part in the radio programs. Dozens of community members in Mewat have completed the station’s six-month training course, learning how to operate equipment, produce programs, and manage the station as technicians, producers, and facilitators. The station’s community-based management team has equal representation of women.
Programming is designed to encourage female engagement, promote gender equality, and empower women. Of the thousands of calls the station has received from listeners, nearly 20% have been from women. That number is growing!
*Data figures until December 2014.
Making the difference
Paper presentation at the National Seminar on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls
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