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Communication is vital for the development of people

21 March 2013

OneWorld South Asia

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Communication tools like radio can be used for empowering women and enhancing the process of development, said speakers at a community radio consultation in Ahmedabad.

The Mayor of Ahmedabad, Asit Vora, stressed on the importance of communication for communities as well as the need to involve people in development. He was speaking at the community radio consultation initiated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting along with OneWorld Foundation India (OWFI) and SEWA to promote the community radio movement in the state.

Vora said that without the co-operation of the community, neither a government nor an organisation can bring about the benefits of development to the people. He said that if a woman can abstain from tobacco after listening to a community radio station, she can share those experiences with other people of her community and influence them. “This can set off a chain reaction among her community.”

OneWorld is holding the workshop with help from local NGO Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), which too runs its own community radio station, Rudi no Radio. Namrata Bali, Director, SEWA Academy, spoke about how SEWA used communication as a tool for empowering women. She said: “In the eighties we began with print communication, then with video but we could not use the radio as there was no policy on community radio. When the policy was finally made, it took us two years to set up our radio station.” She wished that there were more workshops so that organizations did not have to take a long route to set up a community radio station.

K K Taneja from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting highlighted the role that the ministry has played in promoting the medium across the country. He said that the ministry has issued a total of 418 permissions or letters of intent of which, over 232 permissions have been issued so far. He added that the number of CR stations in the country has risen to 148.

Talking about how the community radio helps in the process of decentralisation of development, Prof Prem Chander, the Chair, Board of Directors, OWFI, said that the medium gives a voice to the people to air their views which are local and therefore relevant to the community. He highlighted OWFI’s efforts at spreading the people’s communication tool by holding training programmes and capacity building workshops.

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