Isis International and community radio training on the island of BoholThe great thing about radio is that people at the grassroots and in marginalised communities can produce and broadcast their own programmes. In rural areas and small towns, most people have radios rather than computers and other high tech devices. Radio programmes produced in their own communities provide them with information that is geared to their needs.
In early November 2011, Isis International brought their basic radio production training to the island of Bohol, in central Philippines to help a Community Radio improve their skills.Bohol, while famous for its white-sand beaches and “chocolate hills”, is largely agricultural and the average income of farmers and fishfolk is low. Bohol also has a Community Radio with an enthusiastic volunteer staff bringing much needed information to the people of the island.
Jagna Community Radio DYJP (100.1 ) in Jagna, Bohol, Philippines, Radio DYJP began in 2008 with the support of PhilosHealth, San Francisco, USA, as a medium that could respond to health concerns of the community. Since then its pool of volunteers has expanded to include representatives of the different sectors of the community. Their volunteers are made up of local government workers including a Barangay (barrio or district) captain, students and young people, teachers, nurses, and NGO workers.
Besides health, Radio DYJP now covers many other issues that concern the community. Its programmes include Youth Tube, Women’s Time, News and Public Service, Education Sector, Agrikultura sa Kahangin (agriculture), Persons with Disability, English Classics, Tagalog Classics, Muslim Programme, and more.
It has been a long standing plan of DYJP to have a training for its staff and its old and new volunteers to provide them with the skills and knowledge not only to be able to run the radio station but to also understand the role of community radio, as a medium that is for and by the people, and community radio as the voice of the voiceless.
The Isis International Activist School three-day training on community radio was saw the participatation of 25 volunteers and staff of DYJP and catered to the needs of the station. The training covering the topics: medium radio and programme format; interviews, studio techniques and digital editing; and power relations in media. The training also analysed the issue of gender sensitivity and the role of women in media. It discussed how media productions and the role of the journalist can be enhanced by being conscious of the gender aspects of issues, reflecting a different perspective that provides the audience a holistic report of issues and events.
The radio manager, Oneil Berro, also one of the participants, takes care of the news programme. At the end of the training, he said that he has been thinking of getting a co-broadcaster for the news programme and that he now realizes that this co-broadcaster should be a female.
During the training, the participants divided into groups and produced four 10-minute features on the topics: 1. illegitimate children, 2. senior citizens and pensions, 3. promoting the forth-coming medical mission and 4. computer addiction among the youth.
In the Radio Café portion of the training on the last day, the participants listened to all the productions discussed further improvements. The features will be revised and they aired as part of their respective programmes on Radio DYJP.
Participants were enthusiastic. Having had some broadcasting experience as staff or volunteers of DYJP, they learnt quickly and worked on their productions efficiently. Many made comments on how they appreciated the hands-on in broadcasting and other radio techniques. They also appreciated learning about the “radio clock” and “running sheets” that they see will help them organise their programmes. Most enjoyed the Radio Café, where they and their colleagues constructively criticized their productions and discussed ways and ideas for improvements.
At the end of the workshop, participants gave the following feedback:
“I realize the important role of community radio and how as journalists we have responsibilities and need to be sensitive. Often when we hear of crimes such as shoplifting committed by men, there is no reaction and it is just accepted. But if we hear about the same crime being done by a mother or a daughter it is talked about and is considered scandalous. We need to change this type of thinking. Also we need to be careful of the terms we use. For example we often use the term, “taga bukid” or mountain people. Yet we know that this term has a negative connotation of such people being ignorant.” Malou Jumawan, coordinator for PhilosHealth
“I always felt the radio to be a burden, but after the training I don’t feel that way anymore. You provided us with the essentials to produce our programmes. We are now more confident to run the radio splendidly.” Rufa Pajo, President of DYJP Community Radio.
“We had previous radio training but this gave us a deeper understanding of community radio and easier to understand because of the “hands-on” experience.” Ma. Lovella E. Acebes
“I expected to learn the basics of community radio but I have learnt more than that. I also realize that the challenge for community radio is to be different.” Deborah Y. Tre-inta, Nurse, PhilosHealth
“I’m 85 years old and I felt this experience was a transformation for me. I am now motivated to run my weekly programme.” Alberto Y. Café, retired Local Government Unit employee.
“I take care of the Agriculture Programme and with this training, I know now how I can bring the actual voices of the farmers and fisher folks on air.” Cecile A. OpadaIsis International has conducted and/or provided trainers for many community radio training workshops including:
Women Making Airwaves for Peace (WMAP), a 6-day seminar attended by 28 women community radio broadcasters mainly from Central and South Asia. Focused on the themes of engendered peace building, disaster mitigation and climate justice, this seminar was held on 13 -18 February 2010 in Mysore, Karnataka, India, in collaboration with Isis’ local partner organisation, IT for Change in Mysore.
SEWA (Self-employed women’s Association) Community Radio, management and Advanced Radio Production, Gujarat, India
Sagada Radio Strategic Planning, Mountain Province, Philippines
Rainbow Rights Radio Production, Manila, Philippines
Thateng Ethnic Community Radio for Development, Sekong, Laos