PATNA, 6 March 2006 - A unique “community radio” programme titled “Hamaar Sab Ke Baat” ("our issues") was launched by UNICEF on Sunday, 5 March 2006. The programme, aired on the Vividh Bhararti channel (102.5 FM) of All India Radio, will be broadcast every week on Sunday at 6.30 p.m. The programme will be produced by Village Reporters in Vaishali district of the state of Bihar. UNICEF has partnered with Cencorded, a non-governmental organisation, for producing the programme.
Vaishali is one of the 16 "convergent districts" where UNICEF is implementing a unique project where knowledge and awareness hold the key to development.
Describing the initiative, UNICEF State Representative Bijaya Rajbhandari said that Vaishali was one of the 16 "convergent districts" where UNICEF is implementing a unique project where knowledge held the key to development. “The project aims to bring about major changes with regard to health and hygiene issues, sanitation, consumption of iodised salt, girls’ education, immunisation, safe motherhood, and so on. This will happen when people are empowered with knowledge, which in turn generates the demand for the schemes which are available to the communities and demand for better services" he said.
The radio programme will play a vital role in getting the community to discuss and deliberate on their issues. In this programme, village people will write their own scripts, act out parts, play musicians and singers.
In the first programme to be aired, people discussed illnesses arising out of consumption of water from unsafe sources.
The first episode was aired on 5 March and it discussed water-related issues in the Biddupur block of Vaishali district. In the episode, people discussed illnesses arising out of consumption of water from unsafe sources – such as handpumps that have unhygienic syrroundings or open wells. The programme also has a news section “Biddupur Samachar” in which people talk about their real-life situations. There is a quiz at the end of the programme.
The programme, currently being produced in Biddupur block, will be extended to the entire district in a few months. A similar community radio programme is being produced in the state of Jharkhand's East Singhbhum district, which is another of UNICEF's convergent districts.