“Community radio is a proven participatory method to connect with the unreached segment of population
Community radio of north-Indian state of Haryana Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8 was one of the participating stations in the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, 2020 (STIP2020) project of Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA).
Over 25 community radio stations across India were involved in the grassroots level initiative ‘Thoughts for India’ to collect voices for the formulation of the 2020 Science Technology and Innovation Policy of the country.
STIP2020 formulation process was facilitated jointly by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and the Department of Science and Technology. It is one of the most significant events amidst many important changes in the past decade that have necessitated the formulation of a new outlook and strategy for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).
The two-month long project beginning August 1, 2020, aims at looking at how people perceive science has transformed their lives and in which sector would they expect the new science policy to focus on through various research tools in addition to radio broadcasts.
The project includes surveying people in the coverage area of the radio station, conducting focused group discussions, and collecting audio feedback from listeners. The outreach through community radios falls under track one of the four interconnected tracks that have been envisioned to formulate the STIP 2020 aiming to create a repository of public voices that will act as a guiding force for the drafting process.
“It is a welcoming step from the department of science and technology to reach out to the people at the last mile to gather ideas and information that may reflect in STIP 2020 in some way; and community radio is a proven participatory method to connect with the unreached segment of population. We hope that this effort towards policy formation reaps out desired results,” shares Pooja O. Murada, representative, Community Radio Alfaz-e-Mewat and director communications at S M Sehgal Foundation.
Community radio Alfaz-e-Mewat broadcasts the content shared by DST twice at 11:35 am and 09:00 pm daily. The plan is to reach out to the community people from different walks of life and get their voice included in the policy drafting process.