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

Circle of Rights

Circle of Rights is a series of 30 modules in a training program for activists about economic, social, and cultural rights.

It is published by the International Human Rights Internship Program, University of Minnesota.

Circle of Rights is aimed “primarily at trainers who are or will be engaged in training human rights activists as well as development workers, members of organizations represent­ing dis­advantaged groups and others who are addressing economic, social and cultural issues.  The hope and expectation is that trainers working with these various groups will be able to take the material in the manual and, if necessary, adapt and expand upon it to con­duct training programs on ESC rights and ESC rights activism.”

I first came across this site as I was trying to understand better issues around cultural rights, which is the focus of Module 17. The content of this module is relevant to Indigenous cultural rights.


However, Module 6 focuses only on the “perspectives, experiences and standards” of Indigenous peoples.


In the modules I have looked at, case examples are given from different parts of the world. Other modules may interest you.  See the Table of Contents at


October 13, 2010   No Comments

Participatory video

Participatory Video is an experiential learning tool for individuals and groups to grow in self-confidence and trust, and to build skills to act for change. Participatory Video methods value local knowledge, build bridges between communities and decision-makers, and enable people to develop greater control over the decisions affecting their lives.

On this site, many of the communities involved are indigenous communities. The viewer can choose to view videos by issues (includes indigenous rights) or by category (e.g. advocacy, training). These are videos made by community members for themselves. Often indigenous languages are used with English subtitles.

October 12, 2010   No Comments

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources describes itself as a worldwide network of “concerned social scientists, activists, scholars, laypeople, indigenous people, and others who all share a combined goal: to provide resources, news, articles, and information on current issues affecting indigenous and tribal peoples around the world.”

Founded in 2007 by Peter N. Jones, Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources has been fighting continuously for the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.

There are links to weekly news, regions of the world, issues, resources, and books. I have gone to resources – Indigenous Peoples Videos, Movies, and Audio Recordings and found about 340 on the range of issues. The videos I have viewed have been informative.

October 12, 2010   No Comments

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

Milgate, Gina (2009). “One Laptop Per Child Initiative and Indigenous Communities” by Gina Milgate. Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

It is still early to evaluate the educational impact of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative on indigenous peoples around the world. The above article is a positive review of the program in a remote area of Western Australia about 11 months after the laptops were introduced.

While some researchers like Charles Ess (Drury University and leader of the Association of Internet Researchers) has said that the OLPC initiative is “foundering on issues of culture,” most reviews from host countries and organizations are very positive.

See also:

September 27, 2010   No Comments

Education and the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Champagne, Duane (2009). “Chapter IV: Contemporary Education” in The State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (SOWIP). Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York.

This chapter was written for the first UN publication on the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples which includes statistics and information about issues of health, poverty, education and human rights.

The chapter begins with a review of international agreements that recognize education as a fundamental human right in general and specifically of indigenous peoples. Champagne then provides statistics and stories from indigenous communities worldwide to document the existing education gap, formal school experiences and barriers to education of indigenous young people. He ends with a discussion about the search for alternatives.

The chapter does not discuss the role of IT in education but does make references to teacher attributes, educational materials, curricula design, and teaching methods including the use of radio and mobile schools in remote rural communities.

September 27, 2010   No Comments