Kenyan and Nepalese environmental organizations win UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication
Two organizations that help rural communities improve their lives and take part in public debate - one in East Africa, the other in Nepal - will be awarded the Prize for Rural Communication of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) at UNESCO Headquarters on 24 March (5 p.m.).
The Nairobi-based Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) brings practical information and civic education to communities living in the arid parts of East Africa through 12 community-based Maarifa (i.e. knowledge) centres in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
The centres are set up in refurbished shipping containers, equipped with multimedia hardware and internet connections. They offer access to information about development and social issues to members of the public, free of charge.
ALIN also publishes two magazines with practical information about agricultural production techniques, environmental management, market trends, gender, health and HIV and AIDS. Audiences targeted by ALIN include youths, students, teachers, development workers, farmers, pastoralists, and businesspeople.
In Nepal, the Community Radio Support Centre / Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (CRSC / NEFEJ), promotes environmental journalism and public awareness of sustainable development issues. The NGO’s key target groups include the general public, journalists, parliamentarians, policy and decision-makers, and development activists. Activities are organized around four major departments: Radio Sagarmatha; a Media Training Center (MTC); an Audio-Visual Department; and a Community Radio Support Center (CRSC).
Radio Sagarmatha was established in 1997 as the first independent radio in Nepal. It succeeded in promoting open debate on public issues and kicked off CRSC support for the creation of over 100 community radio operations in rural areas to date.
The community radio stations set up, or assisted, by NEFEJ today reach about 85 percent of Nepal’s 27 million people and cover 74 of Nepal’s 75 districts. They inform people of their rights and provide them with practical information and a platform from which to voice their concerns. The broadcasters also offer isolated communities a window to the world and to world events.
Through advocacy and systematic reporting, NEFEJ has impacted government policies, achieving greater respect for civil rights, more education for the disabled, and better environmental policies. Its Media Training Canter has been teaching courses in the gamut of skills required by journalists, and the NGO has proved to be an effective advocate of freedom of expression and freedom of information in times of political change.
The two organizations will share the US$20,000 UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication which recognizes meritorious and innovative efforts to improve communication for rural communities in developing countries. It is awarded every two years following a recommendation by the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Comunication, which acts as the jury of the prize.
Journalists wishing to cover the Prize-giving ceremony should contact UNESCO for accreditation:
Djibril Kebe firstname.lastname@example.org +33(0) 1 45 68 17 41