---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: radtimes <resist@comcast.
Date: 4 February 2010 21:50
Subject: [MRN] Mobile radio reaches out to Nepali communities
Mobile radio reaches out to Nepali communities
10 December 2009
Antenna Foundation, in partnership with local FM stations, is helping rural
people in Nepal's hilly terrain access to information and opportunity to
participate in the political process. Under the Doko Radio initiative
community people are provided radio receivers as well as training for
carrying out on-location recording.
A project of the Antenna Foundation, an NGO that is dedicated to public
service broadcasting in Nepal, Doko Radio aims to take democracy to the
doorsteps of local people living in remote areas across a difficult terrain.
In Nepal, the word doko refers to the baskets that women use to carry water,
firewood etc. Madhu Acharya, the head of Antenna Foundation, describes Doko
as a mobile radio station that brings information to areas that might
otherwise not have access to it. "It's a backpack radio station," he says.
Doko staff travel across Nepal, stopping at locations for a few days where
they create and broadcast local programming that residents can tune in to on
their existing transmitters. In radio-shadow region, which have no
transmitters at all, Antenna Foundation distributes cheap devices, allowing
the local population to tune into their programming.
While Doko first started off as a mobile initiative that focused entirely on
creating and broadcasting its own programming in a region for a few days
before moving on, it didn't take long for the organisation to realise that
it wasn't having a lasting impact. Further consideration led the staff to
conclude that their best shot at enhancing Doko's impact would to partner
with local radio stations.
While the organisation has curbed traveling this year, as of last year, it
had traveled to 25 locations, and partnered with existing FM stations in
most of these. "We provide then with training and technology so they can do
on-location recording," explains Acharya. "Before this, the broadcasts were
limited to studios. Stations weren't collecting voices from the grassroots."
He explains that this is a far more sustainable approach: one that maximises
Among the major issues that Doko aims to tackle is how to create consensus
in a region that is as politically complex as Nepal. According to Acharya,
once the Doko team explained their objectives, they ran into little
resistance from Maoists, and it was only in one or two regions that they
faced significant difficulties.
Looking towards the future, Acharya says that Doko's role could be
transformed into one of disaster relief. For now, he underscores that the
initiative's biggest priority is to develop an effective partnership with
local media stations.
"Over time when every district has its own radio station, the tool we
provide might be outdated. But any lasting outcome we have will be from
encouraging local stations to interact with the grassroots."
Doko Radio won an award in the community broadcasting category of the
Manthan awards, which recognise best e-content practices in South Asia.
The International Microradio Network
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