Today, with so much awareness and empowerment, women are going out of their homes to pursue their interests. In a heartwarming move, women of villages near Satara district of Maharashtra are creating content and contributing in the community radio service.
Founded by Chetna Sinha of NGO Maan Vikas Samajik Sanstha (MVSS), it is broadcast in 102 villages in Maan taluka and goes by the name of Mann Deshi Tarang Vahini (MDTV).
There are a total of 12 women volunteers who work towards the smooth running of the radio station. They are not well-educated and some haven’t even gone to a school but their limited educational background is not a hindrance to their work.
50-year-old Sunanda Phadtare is a vegetable vendor from village Mhaswad. Alka Mahadik, who is 42 years old, is a farmer from village Nevari. Manjusha Shaha (49) is a homemaker and has studied up to Std X. And, Leela Kambale, a folk singer based in village Dhakani, has never been to school, reported Indian Express.
The radio station has been in place since 2008 in Maan taluka.
“Community radio means radio… with the objective of serving the cause of the community… by involving members of the community… the reason we collaborated with these women volunteers is that since they are from the Maan Deshi community, they are aware of the issues faced by the community. They convey these problems to us and that helps us organise an expert discussion around it on the radio. The very aim of launching the radio station was to enhance access to information, build local capacity and empower women to improve their lives and those of their families through creative programming,” Chetna told IE.
The women have a variety of jobs like broadcasting relevant content during the festival season, giving feedback on programmes, interviewing guests visiting Mhaswad, sharing suggestions on content, and for the need for programmes on issues relevant to the community such as career guidance, water literacy, health awareness, organic farming, market process, natural farming, slurry making, crop insurance etc. That’s exactly how any media agency publishing news content works!
Many women among the 12 volunteers joined the community radio in 2010 and only three joined it two-three years ago. There are women who can sing folk songs and have various talents which they display in audio shows. They also carry out conversations on issues like farming and drought.
“Local artistes such as Kerabai find a place in the mainstream media through community radio,” said Sinha.
Women who are fairly educated and have completed senior secondary level conduct quiz competitions. And there are also a few local doctors, teachers and professors as members of the community radio and they conduct programmes based on their profession. Like teachers conduct programmes on stress management during exams.
“I have conducted programmes that focused on recipes. Besides, we tell the radio staffers about the problems we face in the village, and they incorporate these topics in future programmes… recently, a programme on garbage segregation was organised,” said Manjusha Shaha who has been working for an outreach programme since 2015.
Health, hygiene, agriculture, financial literacy, education, rural livelihoods, local market prices, capacity building, local environmental issues and self-help group promotion are among a vast range of topics covered on the community radio.
Picture credit- Radio and Music