RJ Anita during an interview with the BLO.

Rudi No Radio (RNR) is a community radio of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Sanand, Gujarat.  In 2009, SEWA started its own community radio station, Rudi No Radio (RNR) in Manipur village of Sanand. RNR broadcast eight hours of programme daily on different themes related to the local community.

RNR was selected by the UNESCO Chair on Community Media as one of the 25 partner stations for the Festival of Democracy (FoD) project to sensitise voters on voting rights and elections.

As part of the FoD project, the UNESCO Chair on Community Media organised a three-day capacity building workshop between February 22-24, 2019 to orient the community radio broadcasters to know the ways and means of broadcasting programmes on voter education and electoral literacy. RNR representatives, Anita Ben and Suneeti Sharma participated in the capacity building workshop and led RNR’s FoD programming in the post-workshop period. Team RNR started a voter awareness series called “Loksahi No Tyohar” (means Festival of Democracy in Gujarati) as part of FoD.

The target of RNR was to reach the maximum number of people with their FoD programmes. Team RNR participated in a signature campaign initiated by the District Collector of Sanand. The campaign was then taken to all villages of Sanand taluka to encourage voters to sign an oath form. The oath form read, “I will use my right to vote and should not vote on basis of caste, creed or religion.” Team RNR also participated in a mass awareness campaign organised under the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme. Around 40 students took part in a rally for motivating citizens on exercising their voting rights at Iyava village.

Team Rudi No Radio with first time voters and college students.

To give people an authentic trial experience of voting, team RNR collaborated with the district collector’s office and organised a camp on educating voters about Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and how it works. Team RNR also managed to get hold of local election officials to conduct interviews and broadcast them to educate voters about the important aspects of the election.

Team RNR did a total of five narrowcast sessions as part of their FoD programmes in five villages to reach out to the unreached with their voter awareness messages. It helped in sensitising the communities that are marginalised in terms of getting vital information. In all, team RNR produced 12 episodes and five promos and these programmes reached around 40 villages in Sanand block. The estimated audience of RNR was 2.5 lakhs. On Election Day, team RNR also managed to do a live phone-in program to record the experiences of voters after voting.

 

Suneeti Sharma & Anita Ben, Rudi No Radio 90.4FM