Community Radios for Sustainable Development Goals

Community Radio—truly considered the medium of the people, by the people and for the people, has a significant role to play in communicating and furthering the Sustainable Development Goals. The community media becomes more important during a crisis situation, like the one we are facing today following the outbreak of COVID-19.  

The Webinar series on ‘SDG Toolkit for Community Radios - Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals from the Perspective of COVID-19’,  launched jointly by UNESCO New Delhi and Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation (SMART), aims at initiating a dialogue on significance of the SDGs for communities in the times of COVID. 

On 3 June, Eric Falt, Director and Representative, UNESCO New Delhi kick-started the series with his remarks on the crucial role of community radios (CRs) in creating awareness in terms of access to information and knowledge, enabling community participation and facilitating an active development process.   Archana Kapoor from SMART and Pinky Chandran from Radio Active, the key figures behind development of the toolkit, took the discussion forward and spoke about the relevance of toolkit in effective programming during the health crisis. The launch webinar saw participation from 125 community media practitioners.

With these webinars, we aim to integrate the underlying themes under the Agenda 2030 into the day-to-day programming by CRs, keeping in view the challenges posed by COVID. We are certain that this exercise will help familiarizing the CRs with the toolkit and form the basis of creative programming to address the issues relating to the health crisis. We strongly believe that the toolkit will strengthen the communication on this front by conveying the message in a language and context more agreeable by the communities.
Eric Falt, UNESCO New Delhi Director

The webinars series will be based on Communicating the Sustainable Development Goals: A toolkit for Community Radio, developed by SMART, with the support of UNESCO and UNICEF. The toolkit, launched earlier this year on the World Radio Day, has been designed keeping in view the importance of CRs in propagating the message to the last mile and support community reporters, community media practitioners and volunteers in programming effectively. The toolkit also contains a wealth of tips, recommendations and guidelines for undertaking community engagement activities and developing radio programmes that encourage local action vis-a-vis the SDGs.

This toolkit is a valuable tool available with us and it would be important for all of us to know how the toolkit is being used. Through these webinars, we should also focus on stories and implementation from the ground.
Hezekiel Dlamini, UNESCO Adviser for Communication and Information
The SDGs are people’s goals and community radio is a media by the people. Therefore, they are best placed to not only communicate the essence of the goals to the communities but also ensure action on the ground. The global spread of COVID-19 has made it clear that the response to the pandemic cannot be de-linked from the SDGs. This series of webinars is important as community radios have a reach of 8-10 crore people across the country.
Archana Kapoor, Founder-Director, SMART and Radio Mewat