Not far from the Nepalese town of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha,near the Indian border, is a town called Kapilvastu. The town isbuzzing at the moment, as word has got out that a new community radiostation is on its way.
In mid-December 2007 we had the chance to visit the SSDO (SunshineDevelopment Organisation) headquarters in a small village outsideKapilvastu, where plans are afoot to set up Radio Kapilvastu 104.2 FM,the first station in the area to broadcast in Madesi, the nativelanguage of 87% of the population.
Without a source of information in their own language, the Madesipeople have never had access to the national news. This in turnexcludes them from full participation in their democratic process.
Radio Kapilvastu 104.2 will provide a source of local information and aplatform for community discussion and debate. It will be a focal pointfor community developmen The station will be run by local communitymembers with the support of the SSDO, a 10-year old NGO set up by localMadesi community member Shivlal Yadav. The SSDO has worked on manysocial issues to support the Madesi people, including setting up over40 farmers' cooperatives in the area and coordinating the distributionof microloans amongst them to promote the local economy.
RadioActive gets involved
During our visit we spent two days working with the SSDO, visitingtheir project sites, giving radio workshops and assessing whattechnical solutions will best suit the needs of their station.
The workshops focused on 3 areas: community participation, ideas forprogramming content and discussing social issues through a simple talkshow structure.
Radio Kapilvastu is already in a good position with regards to community participation, following the model they used to start farmers' cooperatives to encourage interest inthe station from their local community. They have built up a membership of 28 members (groups and individuals) from different communities who will be within the coverage area of the station, who collectively helped to raise sufficient funds to build a community centre where thestation will be based.
We are looking forward to providing more support for RadioKapilvastu as the station development gathers pace. We will be updatingthis page as the project progresses.
Latest News - September 2009
Radio Kapilvastu are now on the air, broadcasting on 104.2 MHz. We have two volunteers going to work with the station in October. If you would be interested in volunteering at the station, and have relevant experience, please fill in our volunteer application form.