Argentinean and Peruvian Radios Receive 2001 IPDC-UNESCO Rural Communication Prize Award
The Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) of UNESCO awarded its 2001 Prize for rural communication to two Latin American projects. The Maestro Pablo Pizzurno school was rewarded for its Huanacache radio network that brings together all the schools and communities in the northern part of the Argentinean province of Mendoza, ninety per cent of which lies in the Lavalle desert created by the gradual disappearance of the forest.
The aim of the network is to:
<li>Rehabilitate various aspects of traditional Huarpe culture, particularly customs and artistic expression (literature, music, farming traditions and techniques) and to provide the population with the necessary information on cattle rearing.
<li>Broadcast literacy and educational programmes (on health, diet and legal matters) prepared by of the students with the participation from the community.
<li>Provide access to general news and information of local, regional, national and international interest.
<li>Develop the students' public speaking and writing skills and offer distance learning train- the-trainer programmes.
<li>Develop economic and socio-cultural activities by encouraging the participation of the region's inhabitants, cooperatives, associations and organizations in improving the quality of life of the population concerned.
The second laureate was also a radio-based project. For the past ten years, the Quispillacta peasant community, situated to the southeast of Lima in the Peruvian town of Ayacucho, has been using the Quechua language to revive ancient Andean culture and know-how, particularly farming practices, via the airwaves of the eponymous radio station Quispillacta. The radio, which broadcasts music programmes, information features, advertisements and messages, has been successfully campaigning to safeguard agricultural techniques, structure community life and restore the sense of dignity and self-confidence of the rural population. It has also managed to captivate listening audiences in urban and surrounding areas, thanks in particular to its "contact programmes". Its audience rating (between 80 and 85%) in a catchment area of 450,000 inhabitants (the department of Ayacucho) is proof of the success of this unconventional approach.
The IPDC-UNESCO Prize, which includes the sum of US$20,000, rewards individuals, groups of persons, one or several institutions or organizations for "their particularly meritorious and innovative actions aimed at improving communication and facilitating the participation of rural populations, especially in developing countries, in the economic, cultural and social life of their countries". Candidates must be nationals of UNESCO Member States, or belong to institutions or organizations with headquarters in the Member States. In the two years preceding the submission of their candidature, they must have been responsible for one or several "particularly remarkable initiatives for the development of rural communication... by fostering the use of local newspapers, films, radio programmes, television and/or multimedia... by fostering the use of traditional forms of communication and contributing to the improvement of these techniques and means adapted to the rural environment".
Since its creation, the prize has been awarded successively to the Indian literacy project Kheda (1985), a Congo-Brazzaville rural radio project (1987), Popular cultural action of Colombia and the Cuban Small Farmers Association (1989), the Jordanian journalist Mazin Al Qubaj (1991), the Collège des Ondes of Mauritius (1993), the Filipino community radio project Tambuli (1995), and the Tanzanian radio RTD (1999).
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