February 28, 2015, was a red letter day for Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8. The community radio (CR) station celebrated its third anniversary by increasing its broadcast time to 13 hours. Alfaz-e-Mewat FM 107.8, established with the support of Sehgal Foundation and the Union Agriculture Ministry, began with only two hours of daily broadcast. Its programmes highlight themes such as agriculture, gender equality, and women and child health, nutrition, free legal services, and other social and cultural issues.
With the support of other NGOs, corporate foundations, and the government, Alfaz-e-Mewat successfully completed its three- year relationship with the listeners. During this period, it has completed its first radio series based on Community Learning Programme (CLP), titled Shauchalay Mere Angana (Toilet in my house), and moved ahead to launch the next CLP series. The programme took the CR team closer to the community and helped it explore other underlying issues, thereby also deepening the relationship between the CR station and the community.
The Alfaz-e-Mewat team prepares programmes on different issues concerning the community, using different programming formats, peer learning and sharing, as well as interactions with experts. This has been a part of its programming and organizational strategy. The CR team makes use of the learning opportunities through various trainings, workshops and conferences. These have included conferences of India Development Coalition of America; trainings on Community Learning Programme and on mainstreaming gender in community radio; FREE/DEM project training. Its growing popularity is evident in an increasingly interactive relationship it has built with listeners. Thus far, it has received over 29,000 listeners’ calls from 183 villages.
The Alfaz-e-Mewat team has also helped villagers overcome challenging situations. It helped a lost child meet its family, motivated villagers to monitor the delivery of government schemes, and informed citizens on grievance redressal mechanisms so that they could demand their rights.
The CR station continues to strive to expand its programme reach through content exchange programmes, knowledge platforms, Integrated Voice Response System (IVRS), and interactive mobile apps.
Charu Khanna and
Arti Manchanda Grover
S M Sehgal Foundation