Role of Community Radio in Natural Resource Conservation

CEESP News - by Dr Hishmi Jamil Husain

Radio Bundelkhand (FM 90.4) is the first Community Radio in Madhya Pradesh. Radio Bundelkhand facilitates and authorize the local communities to use this medium of communication to take charge of their own lives. The community radio developed programs related to conservation of medicinal plants, farmer talks on organic farming  and programs related to awareness on Vulture Conservation. It is being run and managed by local communities of Bundelkhand and has been supported by Development Alternatives (DA) since October 2008. There are 12 local community reporters working at the radio station.

Ganesh Pal young 21 years old radio reporter of Radio BundelkhandFor twenty-five years, Development Alternatives (DA) has worked on many unique solutions for transforming the lives of rural communities and natural resource conservation. Based on the needs of the local communities, DA decided to set up an appropriate technology centre TARAgram at Orchha, district Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh in 1996. The centre has been developed for demonstration of technology and training in effective alternatives solutions to the problems that rural people face in meeting livelihoods, especially in Bundelkhand region. 

The programs developed by the community radio helped in the cultivation of different medicinal plants in the agriculture fields by farmers which helped in reducing the collection  pressure of medicinal plants in the forest. The Vulture awareness program spread knowledge  and information about to use diclofenac medicine for the cattle which is the reason for the death of vultures in the region. The baseline survey done in the area for the vulture conservation project which shows that there is reduction in the selling of diclofenac in the area and the vulture population is reported to have stabilize in Bundelkhand region.

Ganesh Pal, a young 21 year old radio reporter of radio Bundelkhand Apna Radio Apni Baatay (Our Talks Our Bundelkhand Radio), feels pride to be part of this important initiative of DA to strengthen community through mass media for natural resource conservation. Ganesh belongs to village Azadpura, Orchha, and has been associated with Bundelkhand radio since 2009. He is earning a livelihood from this radio job and is enjoying his passion for journalism and biodiversity conservation.

Community radio is a radio service that offers radio broadcasting beyond commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting. Community radio stations serve regional and local communities. The content and format of community radio is for a specific audience and does not have large commercial group so it is difficult to incur running cost of radio station. Awards and recognitions give boost and motivation to such initiatives. Radio Bundelkhand won the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia Award for promoting the local culture of Bundelkhand through its programmes during the 1st National Community Radio Sammelan organised at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi in 2011.  

Community radio stations are managed and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is non profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media. In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a medium for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further people development and natural resource management.

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