Giving voice to Nepali women through community radio
Radio Nari Aawaj, otherwise known as Radio Women’s Voice, a community radio station managed and operated by women from the remote Jumla district in Nepal’s far western region, recently started test transmissions.
The radio station was established in order to empower the women of Jumla, who suffer from a high level of illiteracy and low representation in the traditional media. The formal inauguration of the community radio station will take place in November 2011.
Radio Nari Aawaj operates for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. It currently plays informative advertisements, Nepali songs and runs a programme called “Phoning”, which discusses contemporary issues.
According to the radio station Vice President, Hari Devi Rokaya, gender issues, social and health matters, local environmental problems, employment and women’s rights are the focus of Radio Nari Aawaj. “We want to tackle issues that haven’t been publicly discussed in Jumla until now,” he says.
At present, the radio station has two technical staff, four volunteer operators, four reporters and one office assistant. It is supported by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
“Supporting community radio stations is a long-term priority for UNESCO and we are happy to link this priority with the empowerment of women,” says UNESCO’s Representative to Nepal, Axel Plathe.