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Radio contact

Meeting people's needs

Practical Action Peru's communication officers believe in a consultative process - they want local people to agree with, and be involved in, setting up a radio station. In Chanta, 40 villagers attended an initial meeting, including up to eight women (notable in a male-dominated society). The villagers divided into groups to discuss life in Chanta from the point of view of communication, transport, production and markets. In a series of lively and involved debates, they identified problems and thought about how to solve them.

As each group reported its findings verbally and diagramatically, it became clear that a radio station would go a long way towards improving people's quality of life. It emerged that there are at leat 60 communities living near Chanta, but that most villagers had never visited them and weren't even sure where they were. As one villager explained:'We want to communicate with each other, especially the people in the villages nearby. They're at least an hour away on foot and we only see them at market.'

Another villager highlighted the importance of improved mass communication; 'At the moment the school is our main source of information, because that's where the most information and news is exchanged on a daily basis. The children come home and tell us what's happened in other villages or other parts of our town. With a radio station we'd be much more widely informed.'

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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