Friday, June 29, 2007

Women’s newspaper clubs help programme community television in rural India.

The discussions of women from Andhra Pradesh (South India) is feeding into the programming of a newly launched community television initiative called “Ankuram”.

Women could not afford and access newspapers. It was arranged for newspapers to reach the Anganwadi centre (early childcare and development centre) in the hamlets. As a result, newspaper readers clubs were formed and the women meet to discuss issues like poverty, women's empowerment, literacy, sanitation, community information needs etc.

In the clubs women, actively engaged with Ankuram, discuss, debate and localize issues features in newspapers, which in turn become topics for programmes on community television.

Ankuram community TV is an initiative of Byrraju Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO. The project combines a TV studio and a wifi network with a local cable TV facility enabling people to access the services and programmes in their homes. The local programmes reach about 69 villages through the cable network.

The women, who are largely from lower castes, are not usually allowed to go to facilities in the main village like the panchayat or the library. The formation of the clubs has helped in: increasing media literacy, triggering debate about local needs, building rapport with community members and creating awareness about the community television initiative.

Veena Yamini, Project Coordinator Byrraju Foundation and Srinivas B, EAR researcher.

Source : UNESCO Facilitating TV content creation in India