Date: 10 June 2010 04:05
Subject: MDLF: Papua Radio - Changing Lives
I am attaching a short article on the impact of a local radio station
recently set up in remote Papua, Indonesia. A survey found that Radio Pikon
Ane did much more than provide independent news and information to a region
previously without any access to local media, it also acts as a valuable
tool for development.
I wonder whether you might include a link to the report and the video in
the Creative Radio mailing list?
Director of Communications
Media Development Loan Fund
Mobile +44 7793 050670
Registered office: 37 West 20th Street, Suite 801
New York, NY10011, USA
ph (+1 212) 807 1304
fax (+1 212) 807 0540
Set up with the simple goal of bringing information access to those living
in the remote Central Highlands of Papua, Indonesia, a recent survey has
found that Radio Pikon Ane is achieving much more than that: it is also
acting as a highly effective tool for development.
Through research and in-depth interviews with dozens of Radio Pikon Ane
listeners and others involved in the establishment of the station, the
November 2009 research provides unique insights into the harsh realities of
life in one of the most under-developed parts of Indonesia and the profound
impact that the radio station is having.
This includes one of the highest poverty rates nationwide, with over half
the district's population living below the poverty line, compared to a
national average of less than 17%. Malnutrition is common-place and food
scarcity a seasonal routine. Less than 12% of the population in the district
has completed primary school.
In a place where basic services are all but non-existent, the research found
that Radio Pikon Ane is addressing these problems and, in doing so,
improving the quality of life of its listeners.
In a subsistence farming community such as this, selling produce at market
represents a valuable opportunity to earn cash, but until recently farmers
were at the mercy of brokers who determined prices. By broadcasting news
about crop prices in the provincial capital and allowing the farmers'
cooperative to coordinate the sale of produce via the radio, Radio Pikon Ane
has improved their bargaining power and increased their ability to command
The station is also playing a key role in health care, particularly
important in a district where even the most basic health facilities are
virtually non-existent, maternal and neonatal mortality rates are high, and
where over half the population suffer from respiratory tract infections and
almost 100% annually report having diarrhea. In many instances the illnesses
suffered are avoidable, and Radio Pikon Ane is seeking to educate people
about this. A woman interviewed for the study explained, "*The station often
reminds about washing our hands before we eat… because you might get ill…*"
With Papua having the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the country, the radio's
ability to increase awareness of it and its implications is vital. One man
told the research team: *"I heard about HIV/AIDS on the radio. It was a
program about how dangerous the disease is and how… we could catch it and
give it to our wives. We have to be careful and take care of our families."
A less expected breakthrough has been growing awareness and acceptance,
among both men and women, of women's rights. Regular Radio Pikon Ane
listener, Kores Wetipo, explained how radio programs on the subject have
changed his behaviour. * "I listened to [the programs], and most of what
they said made sense. Now I never beat my wife… There are lots of men here
who don't understand about women's rights. Lost of them beat their own
wives…. There has to be lots of programs about women's rights so the men
understand about them."*
Radio Pikon Ane's positive impact on all aspects of life is impressive, but
its most remarkable success to date was in getting local schools reopened
that had been shut for months or even years. Reports by the station about
the almost total breakdown of the school system in the area due to chronic
teacher absenteeism initially met with no response from the authorities. But
after national radio news agency, KBR68H, also started to investigate the
problem, the local education department belatedly took action.
Astonishingly, it took no more than the broadcast on the radio of warnings
from the local government that teachers who failed to return to work would
face administrative sanctions, to solve the problem.
*"The remote location and its lack of development meant that there were many
challenges in setting up this station*," admits Santoso, Managing Director
of KBR68H. "*We even had to set up a micro-hydro system so that the area
could have electricity. But we are very proud of what we have been able to
achieve in collaboration with the local people in the area."*
Tessa Piper, Indonesia Program Director of the Media Development Loan Fund
(MDLF), which commissioned the research, argues, *"Through this radio
station we have been able to prove that it is possible to have a profound
and positive impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people in a part of
the country that has otherwise been largely off the development radar. Given
the modest costs involved, the potential for replication of this model, not
just in Indonesia, but in other developing countries, is significant.*"
Radio Pikon Ane was established in September 2007 by Indonesia's only
independent national radio news agency, KBR68H, and the Indonesian
Association for Media Development, an NGO, with support from the Media
Development Loan Fund (MDLF) and the Dutch government.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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