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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
Outlook.com

Waves Of Local Changes

Past experiences of three community radio stations in three different states prove health communication has to be grassroots, not national, and collaborative and participatory, not top-down

Waves Of Local Changes
Photograph by Getty Images
Waves Of Local Changes
outlookindia.com
2019-10-16T22:30:49+05:30
  • 57% of CR listeners preferred good music
  • 60% listened to local stations daily
  • 42% heard CR for over a year
  • 80% rated content as very good or excellent

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a dream. Using grandiose welfare schemes, and implementing them across the country is his way of effecting behavior changes at the local and communities’ levels. But there is another way of health communication. A bottom-up approach, rather than a top-down one, can work wonders in most areas. One in which, according to researcher Devi Leena Bose, the “lived experiences and shared stories of learners and other community members” can be combined “with expert information”.

Such an approach needs to have the following crucial ingredients:

  • It should be local, i.e. restricted to a small geography or a cluster of villages;
  • It should be collaborative, i.e. use regional community networks, media, local experts, and district and village-level officials;
  • It should be participatory, i.e. include local stakeholders in decision-making, planning, research, health messaging, and evaluation;
  • The messaging has to be story-based, where unique experiences of the locals and communities become important and relevant;
  • The content has to be blended with cultural formats, technology, and face-to-face interactions.

In such a system, local platforms, like mobile, community radio (CR) stations, and local TV channels have to be involved. Three experiences from CR stations in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand, reveal that radio can prove to be an effective tool for effecting behavior changes in specific communities. This...

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