Thursday, February 22, 2007

Community radio to premiur Feb 23

Community radio on disaster management to go on airtomorrow
CHENNAI: Two years after tsunami battered it,Nagapattinam may finally have the solution to empowerlocal communities to cope with disasters. On Friday, when the country's first community radio ondisaster management, Kalanjiyam, is launched fromChennai and starts operating from Vizhundhamavadivillage in Nagapattinam, `technology for thegrassroots' will no longer remain a slogan. A partnership between the local community,Madurai-based Dhan Foundation and Bangalore-based techforum Voices, the radio station is financed by theUnited Nations Development Programme.

The Foundation will build upon its experience inrunning information kiosks in all tsunami-affectedcoastal hamlets and services of trained `radiovolunteers' from among the local educated youth. "Apart from being a home-grown warning system, theradio station will seek to inform the local communityon coping with disasters, seeking and mobilising helpand accessing locally available livelihoodopportunities. Initially, we will narrowcast up to atwo-km radius.

Once our application with the UnionInformation and Broadcasting Ministry is cleared, wewill switch over to broadcast, covering a 15 to 20 kmradius," says a Foundation spokesperson. A state-of-the-art production studio has already beenset up at Vizhundhamavadi. Initially, Kalanjiyam willbeam for about half an hour everyday and will shortlyincrease this to one hour. Once the licence comes, thestation will function six hours a day. The total costof the project, including operation and management,works out to Rs. 13 lakh. In the initial stages, the Foundation will provide theexpertise and Voices the tech support. Kalanjiyam is designed to become self-reliant in twoyears.
(Source: Sakthi Vel, India)