Harman lo­cal ra­dio in Barzan area as Voice for change

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Dr. Anwer Ahmed Ibrahim

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is no longer seen as a one way, top-down trans­fer of mes­sages and in­for­ma­tion through the me­dia. In­stead, when ap­plied to devel­op­ment, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is used to pro­mote a two-way process of shar­ing and par­tic­i­pa­tion. The ex­perts at the FAO in­di­cated that, “Peo­ple-ori­ented and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment can only re­al­ize its full po­ten­tial if ru­ral peo­ple are in­volved and mo­ti­vated and if in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge is shared. Shar­ing is not a one-way trans­fer of in­for­ma­tion; it rather im­plies an ex­change be­tween com­mu­ni­ca­tions of equals. On the one hand, tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ists learn about peo­ple's needs and their tech­niques of pro­duc­tion. On the other, the peo­ple learn about the tech­niques and pro­pos­als from the spe­cial­ists” (FAO, 2004:9-10). “This means that par­tic­i­pa­tory com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­forts with ru­ral women should be­gin with devel­op­ment plan­ners and tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ists lis­ten­ing to them. Lis­ten­ing goes be­yond a sim­ple ap­praisal of needs. It in­volves lis­ten­ing to what women al­ready know, what they as­pire to be­come, what they per­ceive as pos­si­ble and de­sir­able and what they feel they can sus­tain. Although of­ten il­lit­er­ate, ru­ral women have wis­dom, knowl­edge and prac­tices based on deep­rooted cul­tural norms, tra­di­tions and val­ues, as well as gen­er­a­tions of ex­pe­ri­ence. This in­dige­nous knowl­edge should be taken into ac­count, and tra­di­tional meth­ods of in­for­ma­tion ex­change and com­mu­ni­ca­tion should be har­nessed to­gether with mod­ern means” (ibid).

Pre­vi­ously in the Kur­dis­tan so­ci­ety, the main source of in­for­ma­tion for women in ru­ral ar­eas was at water sources and other tradi- tional cer­e­monies ‘Women from spring water plat­form dur­ing fetch­ing water to the lo­cal ra­dio plat­form’. They had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss var­i­ous is­sues at th­ese places. Women could ex­change in­for­ma­tion while fetch­ing water and at other tra­di­tional cer­e­monies. How­ever mass me­dia, es­pe­cially the ra­dio, is the cur­rent means of ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion. Harman ra­dio is the most pow­er­ful mass me­dia in the Barzan area, and also an im­por­tant source of in­for­ma­tion es­pe­cially in Shri vil­lage, be­cause there is no ac­cess to tele­vi­sion there.

Lo­cal ra­dio is the main me­dia for reach­ing many peo­ple in the Barzan area, even in the re­motest vil­lages, since they have ac­cess to lo­cal ra­dio, which builds on the oral tra­di­tions of Barzan pop­u­la­tions. Although men own the ma­jor­ity of ra­dio re­ceivers, women can lis- ten to pro­grammes at home. Harman ra­dio is an im­por­tant tool for the dif­fu­sion of mes­sages on new ideas and tech­niques as well as on health, nutri­tion, fam­ily plan­ning and other so­cial and cul­tural is­sues. The Harman ra­dio was used for train­ing and the trans­fer of new ideas about women’s rights and at­tempted to change the at­ti­tude of com­mu­ni­ties about the role of women.

Dur­ing the field work on 2th May 2007 at Harman in­sti­tu­tion the re­searcher ob­served that there was a pro­gram for train­ing peo­ple who work in the me­dia. The train­ing pro­gramme was or­ga­nized in co­op­er­a­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion of News­pa­pers with­out Bor­ders, and the num­ber of par­tic­i­pants was 24 train­ers, 10 of them be­ing fe­males and 14 males. This was clear ev­i­dence of the im­por­tance of the par­tic­i­pa­tion of fe­males in the Barzan area in ca­pac­i­ty­build­ing as a start­ing point to­wards par­tic­i­pa­tion in de­ci­sion-mak­ing and to­wards en­hanced devel­op­ment.

Lo­cal ra­dio can pro­mote di­a­logue and de­bate on ma­jor is­sues of ru­ral devel­op­ment as well as pro­vide a plat­form for the ex­pres­sion of ru­ral women’s needs, opin­ions and as­pi­ra­tions. Ra­dio en­ables women to voice their con­cerns and speak about their as­pi­ra­tions with Barzan pol­icy-mak­ers and devel­op­ment plan­ners. Fi­nally, Harman ra­dio is a vi­tal tool that can be used to de­velop com­mu­nity co­he­sion, sol­i­dar­ity and chang­ing at­ti­tudes about women. The re­searcher ob­served that the com­mu­nity has suc­cess­fully used the Harman ra­dio es­pe­cially the ru­ral pop­u­la­tion of Barzan area.

Harman ra­dio pro­grammes are most ef­fec­tive since it is pro­duced with au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion both fe­male and male, in the lo­cal lan­guage and with con­sid­er­a­tion for the cul­tural tra­di­tions of the Barzan tribe. It seems that Harman ra­dio is an im­por­tant chan­nel for mo­ti­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion of women since it raises con­scious­ness of gen­der is­sues as well as in­form­ing women about their rights. It of­fers women in the Barzan area to tune in to many is­sues that in­ter­est them. More and more young women are re­ceiv­ing train­ing in the pro­gram­ming and man­age­ment of com­mu­nity-based ra­dio so that the pro­grammes can re­flect their real needs.

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