Yeralavani carried out the Festival of Democracy (FoD) campaign with a series of shows titled, ‘Matadan Mahotsva’ to spread the voter awareness messages. They also adopted a unique way to leverage voter participation through the FoD Express.
Yerala Projects Society’s community radio, Yeralavani 91.2 FM joined the FoD project intending to spread voter awareness messages through its radio programmes. The FoD programmes of Yeralavani Radio were an outcome of followed the three capacity building workshop organised by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media in collaboration with the Election Commission of India (ECI) at University of Hyderabad. During the workshop, the community radio broadcasters were oriented and urged to produce community -based programmes on voter education and electoral literacy to increase voter participation in the elections.
Community radio Yeralavani was established in Sangli Maharashtra, to cater to the communication needs of the underprivileged people and to have better communication within the community members. Yeralavani is playing a significant role in providing vital information to local people for the last seven years. Yeralavani broadcasts programmes in the local languages; Marathi, Kannada, and local dialects. The radio broadcasts for 11 hours daily. The reach of Yeralavani is around 70 villages and hamlets around Jalihal including Karnataka state as well. Yeralavani is the sole radio station in the area that broadcasts programmes in Marathi and Kannada.
As part of the FoD campaign, Yeralavani radio conducted three outreach activities. One of the outreach activities was the gathering of the women voters of the Jat block. In this outreach activity, around 40 women from the project area participated in discussion with election duty officers. Their doubts on voter registration and corrections were addressed, and the election officials also elaborated on the important aspects of voting and election to them.
Team Yeralavani also organised a demonstration camp of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine. Officials from the District Election Department demonstrated how VVPAT functions and explained the need for it. The last outreach programme organised by team Yeralavani was the FoD express, which travelled from village to village inspiring people to go and vote in large numbers. FoD express proved to be a unique and effective way of spreading the message since it was able to reach even the remotest villages and to the last voters. Team Yearalavani was able to produce two radio spots, five promotional songs, twelve episodes during the project time period.
Team Yeralavani was able to spread the voter awareness messages using its own specific localised means. The programmes which were aired as part of its ‘Matadan Mahotsva’ series gained popularity, support, and encouragement from the community members.
Uday Godbole and team, Yeralavani Radio 91.2 FM