Radio Pollikontho (RPK) as a Community Radio Station (CRS) connect local community people with local duty bearers to localize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Radio Polli Kantho (a community radio called in short RPK) connects its local communities with local duty bearers so that they avail their services more swiftly. Information discrepancy is one of the reasons behind the backward living standard of rural communities than the urban communities. RPK as a tool of access to information plays the most crucial role by broadcasting different relevant information to the local community and also side by side makes sure that they are benefiting from that information.
Creating the connection between local duty bearers with the local community is the distinctive feature of this practice. This connectivity allows the local communities to access any local government offices more easily than any time before. The human-centric design of these practices bridges government officials and local people. Government services became more accessible than before. This practice is an innovation especially when the government itself was trying to be more people-centric.
In the initial years of RPK formed ‘listeners groups’ to implement ‘off-air’ activities and to follow up. Later after the adaptation of SDGs in 2016, it has changed the process and activities of these groups. Since 2016 under the banner of ‘off-air’ activities RPK started ‘service campaigns’ along with radio program promotions at the local community level. At the same time, RPK stated to invites local duty bearers into their live and magazine programs on a daily basis. As a result, a farmer can directly ask a question to a government’s agriculture officer’ for farming.
The linkage mechanism between the local duty bearers and the community basically follows the rapport building footsteps. However, to make this connection the most real and impactful RPK designs some pre and post broadcasting activities. At first, RPK does pre-broadcasting research on the programme issue (Health, agriculture, gender equality, women empowerment, education, culture, laws etc) based on the programme theme for the local and national level fact findings. With a message matrix, RPK then decides who will be the resource person for any issue specific programme at the second step. Then during the programme, the communication between the duty bearer and the community people happen and the first goal of connecting these both community together accomplished then. After broadcasting such issue-based programmes RPK then gives focus on the ‘off-air’ activities to complement the broadcasted programme. Listeners clubs with the support of RPK then organize voluntary career fairs, health service camping, assist local farmers to go to the local agricultural offices, built network among the local police and administrations to stop and prevent child marriages and violence against women and children. RPK follows a common monitoring mechanism like other radio stations but for the ‘off-air’ activities it has its own monitoring system. Through this kind of practices, readiness creates among the rural community and their active and meaningful participation also empowers them. They realize the power of information and this also accelerates the development of the community.
From the regular linkages between listeners groups and local duty bearers, a functional relationship develops between these two groups. When people can reach more straightforwardly to the government services then the prevention mechanism of any form of law-breaking become stronger. This is what happened in the surrounding communities of RPK. After broadcasting programme on demerits of child marriage (CM) and consequences of violence against women and children (VAWC), it has seen that listeners’ clubs work as “whistleblower” to stop any local child marriage and proactively report about VAWC incidents. Also as a result of prior acquaintance, local duty bearers now count on the RPK’s listeners clubs for the prevention of local communities CM and VAWC cases. This directly contributes to the target no 5.1 to 5.3 and 5.6 of SDG no 5.
Creating the readiness for both the duty bearers’ end and the local communities’ side was one of the main constrain RPK has faced for this practice. However, from the Government of Bangladesh, there was an urge to become more ‘people-friendly for the acceleration of the economic and human development of the country. This was a very enabling condition for RPK to craft the linkages between the duty bearers and community people. At the beginning of this practice, local people were reluctant to dialogue with government officers but gradually they have overcome and understood the importance of this kind of functional communication.
The practice of creating ‘linkages between the radio listeners with local level GOs/NGOs’ became a strong channel of implementation of local development activities later. The key strength of any CRS that, it works for a specific community and minimizes the development gaps of their life with the local and national solutions. Therefore, once the linkage was built among the community people with the GOs/NGOs this platform became the entry point for any development initiatives initiated by local GOs and NGOs. RPK later formed more than 100 listeners groups and now those groups by themselves do different awareness-raising and development activities. There are 16 other active CRS in Bangladesh and many of them have replicated this linkage mechanism into their stations as well to create impact and to create the opportunity of localizing SDGs.
In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak’s, it was not possible to organize service campaigns/ linkages and for 2/3 months it was completely stopped. To mitigate this disruption, a few months later RPK started to connect both community people and local experts via ‘online’ and also stated to upload recorded ‘live and magazine’ programmes into RPK’s Facebook page. The ‘community linkages with duty bearers’ is very crucial to building back the community from the COVID-19 situation. Fake news and superstition regarding this unknown virus are widespread when the community people listened to the health experts through different RPK programmes they can identify the right information. RPK also air government services, so that, community people can easily get those even in this COVID-19 situation.
SDGS & Targets
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Deliverables & Timeline
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