[This is a continuation of two-part blog beginning with "Role of Information Communication Technology for Empowering Rural Women" by Arpita Sharma, based upon her research.]
During the visit [field work done in villages of Darao, Azadnagar, Malpura, and Shantipuri in Uttarakhand state of India], we found that health care is a one issue on which radio programming should be designed. Community radio is a type of radio for local people that gives community members access to information because it gives them access to the means of communication. The most relevant educational and developmental information is disseminated and exchanged. Important local issues are aired. A free market place of ideas and opinions is opened up, and people are given the opportunity to express themselves socially, politically and culturally. Community radio is helpful for supporting change within societies. With the help of community radio, we can provide information and education among the rural women.
(a) Nutritional Education - Community radio programming can create awareness among the women about health issues. Nutrition education is an important component. Through nutritional education, women’s health status can be improved. Nutritional education should be given by nutritional experts through various formats.
(b) Awareness about the Dietary Patterns in Various Age Groups - Radio programmes can be designed to create awareness about dietary pattern among women with the help of nutritional experts and dieticians. Sometimes in the village, old women have more knowledge about the proper diet at the time of pregnancy, so they would be able to give the radio straight talks on the nutritional diet.
(c) Information about Cause of Various Health Problems - Some types of information, such as solutions to problems with reproductive health and fertility, should be given among the women through various formats, such as discussion and drama.
(d) Knowledge about Breast Feeding - We can design these types of programmes in which interviews of the health experts should be organized to give emphasis on the breast feeding. ASHA [accredited social health activists] workers of the villages should be invited for radio interviews to give importance to breast feeding until the age of four years.
(e) Government Facilities Awareness - This information can be provided among women in the various formats of documentary and discussion. We can design the advertisement to make the women aware of and informed about government hospitals, and various rules and laws on gender.
(a) Awareness about Women's Rights - Women, who constitute half of the population, need particular attention of the media for their optimal development - both material and intellectual. Radio programming should be directed to inculcating in women a sense of self respect, self reliance, economic independence and equality in status with men. Programming tends to educate women about the constitutional and legal rights and the special provision made and measures adopted for their welfare by the Government and other agencies. Radio programming can be designed to create the awareness about the Dowry Prohibition Act, Maternity Right, and other aspects of law.
(b) Awareness of Youth Employment - Information related to youth employment should be collected by the employment office and be provide to the youth with the help of community radio. There are various government programmes for youth empowerment. So through the radio programming, awareness should be created among the youth about the programme.
(c) Awareness of Agriculture related Policies - The awareness about government policies in the field of agriculture should be created through the help of community radio programmes. The formats should be straight talk, documentary and others.
Mode of Presentation:  Straight talk by political leaders.  Interview on the spot or in the studio with the Gram Sarpanch, Pradhan [elected official].  Debate/dialogue/discussion involving rural people.  Portrayal of success stories, development personal, farmers and other rural people.  Stories, drama, plays.  Songs/poems.  Demonstration of new techniques.
Suggestions of Rural Women in Designing of a Programme: Rural women want that the programming should be designed in the participatory mode.
(a) Time Duration - The majority of women stated that it is difficult to sustain the interest for more than 20-30 minutes, so the programme should be designed for 20-30 minutes.
[b] Talents - Some of the rural women are good singers. They want to participate in folk songs. Some women are interested to provide the content information related to health.
[c] Language - The majority of women want that the language should be Hindi, so that every person can easily understand.
[d] Avoid too many ideas in one programme.
[e] Programming should be in the edutainment format.
Community radio is the only medium to spotlight and educate the people. Community radio serves people in three ways. It informs, guides, and entertains. Through the help of community radio, we can provide the information related to different areas of concern among the rural people. Voices of the rural people also reach to the government with the help of this medium. This can make the rural people aware about the rights, rules and laws initiated by the government for them.
By Arpita Sharma, Ph.D, Dept. of Agricultural Communication of G. B. Pant University at Pantnagar, India