Author: AHM Bazlur Rahman, November 12 2013 In Bangladesh, 14 community radio stations aim to ensure empowerment and the right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting altogether 120 hours of programs per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 536 women & youth are now working with those stations throughout the country as rural broadcasters.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been struggling for the last 12 years to open up the community media (including community radio, community television and community film) and to focus on its vital role as voices of the voiceless people. BNNRC has been addressing the community radio & community TV access issue for over a decade, almost since its emergence in the year 2000.
The reality of today is that the bonds between the community people and local-level community radio stations are getting strengthened day-by-day. Community radio has now become part of their life. Community radio becomes the instrument for the livelihood battle of the rural people.
BNNRC established the Community Media News Agency (CMNA), Community Media Academy (CMA) and Monthly Community Media to share development news & building capacity for the community media sector in Bangladesh.
Community Radio and Millennium Development Goals (MDG):
The following goals and targets (listed below, among others) have been determined in the MDG declaration of the United Nation’s general assembly in September 2000 and have to be achieved by 2015. Amongst all, one of the targets of the 8th goal is to make available information and communication technology (ICT) or the gifts and advantages of ICT for all. Community radio is a constituent of ICT; it, side by side with this target, can play a supportive role to attain the other MDGs.
Regarding the supportive role of community radio in the sphere of MDGs, community radio workers should know where and how work is being done to achieve different targets of the MDGs; in addition, they should know the potential and the real picture of work on the MDGs.
Community radio workers should evaluate MDG statistics and paper-based reports in light of the rate of human resource development and find out how much the success of achieving the MDGs has reached to the doorstep of marginal rural people. By means of radio programs and reports, rural community people, in one sense, will be conscious of their rights; and, in another sense, the concerned departments of the government will be responsible for accountability in conveying the benefits of MDGs.
Goal 01: Eradication of Acute Poverty and Hunger
- To ensure availability of information regarding markets and employment and to assist [economically] poor farmers and primary/small businessmen with the information for marketing their products.
- To air information in easily understandable language as to the development of life and livelihood of rural people.
- To increase dexterity/skill of rural farmers/stakeholders and ensure more access in open and competitive markets.
- To increase participatory skill of rural people/ manpower and arrange talks and discussions for ensuring appropriate use of comparative facilities.
- To air public and private social security service-related matters which will be subject to availability.
- To air information regarding right of minimum wages and arrange talks and discussions with concerned departments.
- To give information and motivate the marginal community people for wage increase and alternative employment.
- To increase production for ensuring food security/ food sovereignty and give useful information for balanced distribution and raising social awareness.
Goal 02: Achieving Primary Education Salutary to Everyone Goal 03: Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Goal 04: Diminishing Child Mortality Rate Goal 05: Promoting Maternal Health Care
- To air information regarding the program of achieving primary education for all and giving information locally concerning what should be done.
- To increase the number of trained teachers and their standard, skill, etc., and enhance mutual cooperation among them by means of "Distance Course" on community radio.
- To ensure availability of messages and information of education ministry and its related institutions regarding the development of information and communication based skill to the rural community people.
- To arrange programs with the help of appropriate technology regarding education and literacy and increase the participation of poor women and girl child under this program.
- To increase mass awareness regarding gender equality and sensitivity to the role of women and change the existing thought /idea about women by means of community radio.
- Giving publicity to all information aimed to stop child mortality.
- To increase skill of the health workers by offering essential information regarding lifelong education.
- To air information in easily understandable language regarding maternal and child disease and malnutrition.
- To air programs about child and maternal health care.
- To increase the support for rural primary health workers supplied by the specialists and enhance access to modern technology to detect/ diagnose disease.
- To give a wide range of publicity and to arrange talks and discussion programs regarding primary health care information.
- To make available the message of different organizations’ services to rural community people at the upazilla and union level for the development of skills regarding primary health care.
- To broadcast the needed information for community people to educate them on how to prevent HIV/ AIDS.
- To increase access to information for general people regarding prevention of HIV/ AIDS, maternal health, and other topics by means of broadcasting programs in colloquial /regional language.
- To bring an extensive range of information concerning malaria and other regional diseases by telecasting programs in local/ regional language.
- To give scientific information about physical and mental development of adolescent boys and girls during puberty and to motivate community people for practising sympathetic and friendly behavior with them.
Goal 07: Ensuring Sustainability of Environment Goal 08: Global Participation for Development
- To telecast programs about things to be done by community people for sustainable development regarding agriculture, sanitation, water management and social afforestation projects.
- To give easy explanations of laws concerning saving the environment and telecast programs about things to be done by community people in this context.
- To raise awareness with coordinated efforts on agriculture: congenial to the environment, e.g. bio fertilizer (compost), native seeds, control of plants’ distresses, etc.
- To make a connection between community people and policy makers, farmers and advocacy groups.
- To make clear that climatic change conditions do exist, and offer information about what can be done.
- To chalk out different programs and arrange talks and discussion courses in local language for facing ‘natural calamity/ disaster’ and what should be done prior to disaster, posterior to disaster, at the time of disaster etc.
- To awaken the local community people with a view to ensuring their responsible participation for saving natural resources.
- To broadcast information regarding what should be done by the community people in taking the positive influences and avoiding the negatives of a ‘global economy’.
- To telecast programs by means of using information and communication technology to lessen the digital divide and knowledge divide and to offer knowledge at the rural level.
- To telecast the importance of creating employment opportunity, along with the increase of tele-density by setting up tele-centers on an extensive scale.
- To create awareness regarding what should be done by the community people in confronting the challenge of ‘global economy’.
- To collect information at rural level about medicinal plants and related community knowledge for making medicine with them and play a part to enhance the ability /potential of rural people in taking care of health by using that information and to emphasize about how ICT can play a central role in this context.
- To telecast the importance of increasing the literacy rate by means of E-learning systems in order that the literacy rate of rural community people may be increased, and also telecast programs in a wide range on how they can take an active part to develop the standard of living.
- To create enthusiasm in community people to the extensive use of ICT by means of broadcasting programs via community radio.
- To create mass awareness about any given fund/ assistance/ donation of developed /donor countries as per commitment and also create awareness regarding the role of rural community people in proper materialization of that donation/ assistance. Community radio can play a role.
AHM Bazlur Rahman-S21BR| CEO
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication