27.06.2011 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Long-term IPDC support strengthens community radio movement in Nepal

©UNESCO/Mukunda Bogati -Radio education programme is particularly useful for students living in remote areas

Community radio has a particularly important role in disseminating information in Nepal. The mountainous and difficult terrain means this is the most effective media format, reaching an estimated 82 per cent of the population.

Radio Sagarmatha was the first community radio station in South Asia and was established in Nepal with support from UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in 1997.  

Over the last 15 years, the number of community radio stations has started to grow rapidly. Today there are more than 170 community radios in Nepal. 

Through local community radio stations, community members can have their voices heard and receive locally relevant information. Community radio stations have also been instrumental in exposing weak governance and corruption. 

IPDC’s strategic support for community radios in Nepal has been instrumental in the growth of the community media sector, and it has conferred a strong sense of legitimacy to the community radio movement. It has also drawn in other international donors who have followed IPDC in supporting the growing sector. 

Starting with Radio Sagarmatha, IPDC has regularly supported small projects that have catalyzed the growth of the sector by promoting replicable models and building the capacity of key organizational players.  

In addition to Radio Sagarmatha, IPDC has supported the establishment of three other community radios and one broader, sector-wide initiative. With IPDC’s support, Nepal’s community radio actors have lead the way for other South Asian countries as well, sharing the experience of establishing the first community radios in the region.  

In 2011, IPDC is funding yet another community radio project in Nepal with the aim of establishing a women’s community radio station in the mountainous and remote Jumla district. 

Out of the more than 170 community radio stations in Nepal, currently only four are run by women. By supporting Radio Nari Aawaj, IPDC is taking yet another step in defining Nepal’s community radios, this time towards a movement with equal opportunities for both men and women. 

IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The programme provides support for media projects in three key areas: freedom of expression and media pluralism; community media; and capacity building of media professionals. Over the last 30 years, IPDC has mobilized some USD$100 million for over 1,500 projects in more than 140 developing countries and countries in transition.  

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