Community Media/MARAA/Community Radio/Participation/Village Walks
The team was divided in to three groups and were asked to go to a chosen village at 8 am. Each group was given the following activities:
- Observe all the activities which take place in the village in the morning; collect 10 story ideas around these observations; identify 2 or 3 appropriate locations which could serve as a satellite studio
- Look for water sources in the village and the different kinds of people which gather around these sources; 5 story ideas around these observations; identify 2 or 3 locations for satellite studio
- Look for and follow the colours of the rainbow, i.e. Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red, be it in objects, places or people; establish contact with people around these colours and collect story ideas; identify 2 or 3 locations for satellite studio
Case Study for Radio Bundelkhand
The first group was not really able to diffuse their presence in the village because as soon as they entered, a crowd gathered in the village and started talking to the team about all their problems like misuse of NREGA, domestic violence, lack of water and electricity, lack of transport, corruption in mid-day meals, corruption in animal husbandry, lack of road safety etc. Women also expressed that they had to work much harder than men, like drawing water, cooking, cleaning, farming etc. They also expressed that men are lazy and do not support them in domestic work. This group did manage to record some programmes from the crowd and promised to return and record more programmes about their problems. The village was keen about producing their own programmes and local school was identified as a possible location for satellite studio The second group entered the village in a car, and this shifted the perception of the community about them. Here too the people gathered around and started talking about local problems faced. However, this group assigned different roles amongst themselves. One of them walked around inconspicuously and found that only 2 of the 6 water pumps in the village actually worked, and therefore no community gathered around 4 of these pumps, save an old man, who complained about lack of rainfall. The rest interacted with the community who expressed their problems like old age pension, no school, migration, employment. Of a population of 700, only 4 or 5 were availing ration cards. Girls could not access free bicycles as per the government scheme. One of the reporters talked to the women around a hand pump, where they discussed women’s issues. A couple of programmes were recorded and follow up was promised. A couple of homes were identified as suitable satellite studio spaces. The third group could not find all seven colours. They found orange first, wherein the ex-Sarpanch (local government chief) was wearing an orange vest. He was open to talking about his village on the radio. Next they found green in a neem tree and found some one nearby who talked about the medicinal benefits of this tree. They also saw women around the water pumps wearing yellow and blue saris who talked about their problems – similar to the ones expressed with other groups. They ran out of time and had to return, but said that they would like to go back some time and find more about these villages. However, they did manage to identify 2 or 3 locations, like schools and houses as satellite studio.
All groups presented their experiences which led to a discussion on how much more they could explore within their community and how they had only scratched the surface till now. We also raised the issue of how it was that only problems were being reflected in their observations and no other perspectives were being observed. On visiting the village more frequently and building a better rapport, it would be possible to extract other kinds of content like village histories, personal narratives, philosophies, etc.