Project Duration: January to December 2017
Budget : 22,95000 BDT
The majority of Bangladesh’s population is overwhelmingly rural. Yet stories in the national news revolve around the urban area that represent only one tenth of the area. Such bias against rural areas is also reflected in the limited women’s access to rural media. Very little attention has been given to the role of the news media in presenting issues related to rural areas in general and participation of women in rural media in particular.
In a poor country where gender disparity still exists on many fronts, despite laudable progresses in some MDGs, it is no surprise that women and women’s issues in the mainstream media are undermined. Women comprise 49 percent of Bangladesh’s population. Like the vast majority of people here they are concentrated in rural areas, where 111.2 million people – or 72 percent of the population – live. Their distance from policy-making urban centers casts a double cloak of invisibility over women. The absence of women and women’s issues in the media is a dangerous trend in a country that ranked 142nd out of 187 states in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s most recent Gender Inequality Index (GII), making Bangladesh one of the worst performers in the Asia-Pacific region.
In spite of the social and religious barriers such scenario in gender disparity, particularly in media, has been gradually changing. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) under the banner of ‘voices of the rural people,’ has been in the forefront in breaking the traditional biased focus towards urban areas. The organization, since 2000, played a leading role in bringing media’s focus on rural areas. Community Radio, being the only broadcasting media in rural Bangladesh not only broke the traditions but also spearheaded in creating a platform for women journalists from grassroots to raise their voices to be heard in the community. Because of their empowerment majority of the programmes of the women friendly community radio stations are designed for the most marginalized people of the society – women.
In Bangladesh now 17 community radio stations are on air in the country aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. They are broadcasting a total of 125 hours program per day on information, education, local entertainment and development motivation activities. Around 5.6 million people are listening the programs. A total of 1000 broadcasters are now working with those stations throughout the country; half of them are women.
Fellowship and capacity-building initiatives adopted by BNNRC have resulted in a flood of women filling the posts of producers, anchors, newscasters, reporters and station managers in 17 community radio stations around the country.
Objectives of the Project:
- to facilitate in creating an enabling environment for the young women to be enrolled in the media and journalism to develop as professional community media journalists and
- to encourage youth skilled women to be enrolled in the media to work for the development of rural communities.
- The number of Young women professionals will be increased in community media, which eventually contribute in braking the social discrimination and women empowerment process.
- Issues of rural women and children will be reflected in journalism that will contribute in drawing attention of the policy and decision-makers of the state.
Achievement so far:
- A total of 87 youth women received fellowship on Journalism under the program and 60 of them came of marginalized Dalit communities.
- This program has created opportunities for the women Fellows. At present, 36 women Fellows are working in different Community Radios in Bangladesh.
- Dalit women are getting more space in social recognition.
- Reflection of the disadvantaged communities especially the sufferings, challenges, opportunities and success of rural women and children are highlighting in the mass media.
- Fellows have proved their quality and commitment in developing reports, features and articles. Example- they have won the prestigious UNICEF Meena Media Awards and other national awards too.
- In the meanwhile, Fellowship for Youth Women in Community Media and Journalism program has achieved the global recognition too. In 2016, the project has won the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Winner 2016 award of the United Nations. This prize is the first international achievement for community radio stations too.
Ms. Protiva Banerjee
Program Officer , BNNRC
Tel: 88 02 9130750, 9138501, 9101479
Cell: +880 1814847780