Radio Benziger tunes into development

Radio BenzigerComing from a densely populated coastal area, Radio Benziger, with a tagline – ‘To Love is To Serve’, has come up with various initiatives to empower the community and keep it engaged with the radio.

Being the first Community Radio in India to broadcast marine weather forecast and marine safety tips on a daily basis, Radio Benziger has now established 25 radio clubs in Kollam in Kerala.

These clubs function mostly in schools and residents’ associations, and engage the community in creative activities.

Since the radio station serve for the fishermen based community and the hospital situated in the area, so most of the programmes are dedicated for safe drinking water, water-borne diseases and other communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Ferdinand Peter, Station Director of Radio Benziger said, “We try to avail students working in the hospital and from some other resources, free-of-cost.”

The radio station has come with some special effects for the differently abled by extending a hand of friendship and provided them a platform to speak.

Sobha Jayan – a victim of bone cancer – found a friend in Radio Benziger. She shared her special moments with the Community Radio Station and extended gratitude for giving a platform to interact with the people.

She has been listening to it since she started the treatment in 2011. After taking voluntary retirement at the age of 47, she spends most of her time tuning in to Radio Benziger.

Radio is also a consolation for the bed-ridden. It caters to the most ordinary and marginalized people. It also encourages the right to communicate for the impaired people.

Differently abled Akshay said, “I tune in to radio every evening at 8:30 pm. The programmes produced by the radio station helps me in the preparation of SSLC exam.”

Seventy-six per cent people accepted that they have listened to the programmes of Radio Benziger, says a survey. Forty per cent people also felt the ownership of the radio.

For the Hindi listeners, it broadcasts a programme once in a week. The Community Radio Station has also started enrolling members of the community and they call them Community Participants. The total number of enrolled members has exceeded 300.

Started with the broadcast of four hours a day, it has now extended to 15 hours a day covering more than 25,000 listeners.

The Radio Benziger cooperates with many healthcare projects of the government like pulse polio vaccination, prevention of Tuberculosis and Filaria.

Situated in Tsunami-hit and earthquake prone coastal area, the potential of a two-way communication is also used to empower people through exchange of information and experience enabling the participatory process of development.

Author: Ruby Rani/OneWorld