Radio Broadcasting, Indigenous People and Education

Indigenous people living in rural and remote communities in countries of the South not only have poor access to ICT and no television broadcasting, but also very unreliable electricity. With the development of wind-up and solar radio (, I have wondered about the use of community radio broadcasting for educational purposes. In particular I wanted to hear a broadcast.

I found articles like the one below describing the effective use of radio broadcast. In this case it followed the distribution of solar radios to indigenous people in four remote villages in Cambodia. Since development of the radio system in 2007, the Cambodian government has begun “to acknowledge the importance of addressing a lack of information among indigenous communities and of promoting the use of Cambodian indigenous languages, some of them at risk of disappearing forever.”

Finally, I did find a broadcast and from a country I’ve lived in – Malawi, in sub-Sahara Africa. The broadcast is available through the media link of Farm Radio International The script and audio is in English, with some exclamations and singing in one of Malawi’s indigenous languages, Chichewa. (Also available is a clip in Chichewa.) In the opening, presenter Gladson Makowa identifies the work of indigenous farmers as “research,” saying

“Do you know that farmers are good researchers? Imagine how useful it can be to you to discover a thing on your own, on your farm. Why don’t you start researching one of the issues you hear on the radio?”

What follows is a broadcast about a research project demonstrating one way smallholder farmers can adapt to climatic changes.

November 4, 2010   No Comments

Radio Broadcasting, Indigenous People and Development

Indigenous people living in rural and remote areas in countries in the South not only have poor access to ICT, but have no television broadcasting. I have wondered about the use of community radio broadcasting in community development initiatives as a means of literally giving voice to people in their own languages. I have found the following websites interesting.

Community Radio

Community radio stations are operated, owned, and driven by the communities they serve. Community radio is not-for profit and provides a mechanism for facilitating individuals, groups, and communities to tell their own diverse stories, to share experiences, and in a media rich world to become active creators and contributors of media. In many parts of the world, community radio acts as a vehicle for the community and voluntary sector, civil society, agencies, NGOs & citizens to work in partnership to further community development as well as broadcasting aims…Community radio has historically developed differently in different countries…”

AMARC (Association Mondiale des Radiodiffuseurs Communitaires or World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters)

AMARC is an international non-governmental organization serving the community radio movement, with almost 3,000 members and associates in 110 countries. Its goal is to support and contribute to the development of community and participatory radio along the principals of solidarity and international cooperation.


Exploration of this site led me to the following two documents:

Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media in a Digital Age – Practitioners’ reflections from an interactive roundtable at the World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD) October 2006. Published June 2008, by AMARC, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, SDC, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in collaboration with CFSC, Communications for Social Change Consortium.

This report addresses inclusion of indigenous people and languages. It includes stories particularly from Nepal, Francophone Africa, and southern and eastern African

Radio and Development in Africa: A Concept Paper Prepared for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, Mary Myers, Final Draft, August 2008,_a_concept_paper.pdf

This report describes the present status of radio in Africa with comparisons to TV, Internet and mobile phones. It looks at its potential capacity to promote development and future prospects.

Examples of other articles found as a result of such searching “Indigenous people” on the AMARC website:

Indigenous peoples and electronic media

Peru: Ancient culture in the blink of an eye –  “Ñuqanchik” – Quechua language radio programs in cyberspace

Nepal: Broadcasting the writing on the wall – Nepal’s shift to community radio

November 4, 2010   No Comments