Empowering women through community radio

bolne kala of cristean group

Through capacity development workshops, introducing the AMARC Gender Policy for Community Radio and sharing the examples of women-led initiatives in other Asia Pacific countries, the project "Empowering Women Through Community Radio" was able to promote gender equality and ensure greater women’s participation in the governance and management of community radio stations.

Title: "Empowering Women Through Community Radio"

Organizations: AMARC Regional Office for Asia Pacific and Association of Community Broadcasters of Nepal (ACORAB)

Country: Nepal

Theme: Gender Equality

Overview of activities:
The main activities of the project were:

1. Training and mentoring of 51 women broadcasters representing 50 community radios from all over the country for preparing effective radio programmes using gender sensitive language, proper script, and interview techniques and using digital editing;
2. Empowerment of community radio audiences and particularly women audiences from 30 districts of Nepal by increasing media pluralism and alternative gender sensitive programming through programmes produced by the trained women broadcasters;
3. Empowerment of women community radio broadcasters through their involvement in the program production, radio management, and participation in AMARC International Global Broadcast Campaigns on 16 Days Campaign on Violence Against Women, Women’s Day Broadcast on 8 March, 2012 on the theme “Women Empowerment Sustainable Development and Climate Change”. The trained women broadcasters are preparing radio programmes for the World Indigenous Day on 9 August and the upcoming World Food Day on 16 October;
4. Development of a network of community women broadcasters across Nepal and link with the women wing of the national organization ACORAB through virtual sharing, mailing list, and face to face interactions;
5. Advocacy for ensuring that women have equal access to the airwaves and participate at all levels of decision making in community radio. The Gender Policy for Community Radio (GP4CR) in Nepali was made available to all the participants of the training workshop who shared it with their radio stations.

Methodology:

The training introduced participants to the AMARC Gender Policy for Community Radio (GP4CR) and shared best practices on the use of community radio for empowering women and achieving gender equality. The Gender Policy for Community Radio has been translated to 15 languages of the region and is being used as a tool to ensure more participation of women in community radio. The participants of this project shared the Gender Policy in their respective radio stations and with their colleagues. The GP4CR has been further translated into Newari, Magar, Tamang, Thakali and Tharu languages of Nepal by these participants so that it can reach into the grassroots level and be understood by the marginalised groups. Its dissemination is being undertaken by the Media Mission group of Pokhara along with the AMARC Regional Office in Kathmandu.

As part of network development, this project helped women community radio broadcasters to become active members of AMARC Women International Network (AMARC-WIN). AMARC-WIN is a large assembly of women communicators working to ensure women’s right to communicate through and within the community radio movement. After attending the training, Narmaya Rasailee, a participant from Pokhara, organised a meeting amongst the community radios in Pokhara to share what she learnt in the training and to create awareness about gender equality. This resulted in the formation of a Media Mission - a network that is working towards establishing gender equality in media in Kaski district. 

In order to strengthen the women community radio broadcasters’ network in Nepal, the follow up training brought the participants face to face with the women division head and ACORAB Board Member Ms. Shashi Kala Dahal. This interaction provided opportunity to discuss the position of women in ACORAB board, suggestions for ensuring the participation of women broadcasters in general meetings, inputs for revision of the policy of ACORAB in terms of monitoring the activities of its member radio stations and the formation of a Google group to share information and programmes. The recommendations received from the participants of the training has urged ACORAB to make a decision to ensure a Woman Vice President post in its board and also make a call to its members to send a woman and man (ensuring gender balance) as representative to its next General Assembly. It is in the process of sending a declaration to its member stations to ensure greater participation of women in community radio guided by the recommendations from the follow up training. It is revising its policy and procedure to include monitoring of gender activities of the member stations as recommended by the participants of this project. 

Major Outcomes/Impact:

The main outputs and outcomes of the project were:

a. 51 women from 50 community radios, all of whom are active members and contributors to the AMARC Women International Network,
 have been trained and mentored to produce good quality radio programmes with a gender sensitive approach;

b. Production and broadcasting of over 60 gender sensitive, pro-poor, and women-focused programs of 30 minutes each, addressing issues related to women’s empowerment, violence against women, food security issues, and gender equality;

c. Translation of the AMARC Gender Policy for Community Radio into local languages and dialects like Newari, Magar, Tamang, Thakali and Tharu languages of Nepal and its dissemination through the Media Mission group of Pokhara along with the AMARC Regional Office based in Kathmandu;

d. Increased women participation at all levels especially decision making positions in community radio, especially in defining program content and editorial guidelines;

e. Reduction of the digital divide between men and women in community radio as most of the participants have been able to completely prepare their radio programmes;

f. Participants' use of gender sensitive language and inclusion of the views of the marginalized in their radio programmes;

g. Active involvement of women community radio broadcasters of Nepal in AMARC WIN and its activities including the AMARC global radio campaigns (AMARC International Global Broadcast Campaigns on Women’s International Day, Radio Voices Without Frontiers, World Food Day and 16 Days Campaign on Violence Against Women);

h. Strengthening of the women’s community radio broadcasters’ network. 

Milestones:

The success factors of the project was ensuring that this training included participants who could benefit from it and ensured that they went back and shared their knowledge with colleagues, friends, and communities. Right selection of candidates and the mentoring pursuant to the trainings generated sustained interest and learning.

The main constraint was the funds as all the community radios in Nepal (over 230) could not be included. Duration of the training was for five days but on hindsight an extra day for technical training would be highly beneficial.

 The key lessons learnt are:

  • There is a need to scale up the trainings to include all the community radios operating in Nepal.
  • A technical skills training programme for women is needed. Training women community radio broadcasters on the technical aspects gives them control over the content especially those related to women empowerment and its impact on the community.
  • Gender sensitization training for management and editors would greatly help in bringing about gender equality as evident from the participants' feedback that there are stations who have a gender policy in place but it is not implemented due to lack of awareness.
  • A follow up training or mechanism helps to assess the progress and monitor impact of the activity.
  • A study tour or exchange visit within the country or the region for community radio women broadcasters will help them learn from others in the same field and also see the best practices.

Contacts:

AMARC Asia Pacific Regional Office Contact:

Suman Basnet

Regional Coordinator, AMARC Asia Pacific Regional Office

Kathmandu, Nepal

Phone: + (977) 1 5554811

Fax: + (977) 1 5521714

Email: suman_basnet@asiapacific.amarc.org

Media Mission Contact:

Narmaya Rasailee

Radio Gandaki 90.2Mhz 

Pokhara Sub metropolitan, Ward No. 17,  Chhorepatan , Pokhara

Phone: + (977) 9846278067

Email: mahilajagaran@gmail.com

 

Photo credit: Narmaya Rasailee, Radio Gandaki, Pokhara, Nepal