Following a workshop earlier this year, our partners in West Bengal are exploring radio as a platform for women to share their life stories and make their issues known.

Through interviews, stories and poems, women are contributing to the radio programmes and helping to effect change in their communities.

The workshop, which Feba UK helped run, introduced our partners and other local organisations to the Amplifying Community Voices process. This process starts not in the radio studio but in the community as teams visit households, providing local people with the opportunity to share their stories, hopes and concerns.

The radio programme producers draw programme content from these community conversations including interviews with local people as well as community leaders.

Providing a platform to voice and address women's experiences is important when many women in North India face a variety of issues including gender discrimination, low income, poor health, limited access to education and a lack of personal security. 

Read more about Feba's Women's Initiative project: Sharing God's love through radio

*Odoti’s story.

*Odoti lives in West Bengal and leads a ‘transformation group’ where women from a poor neighbourhood work together to improve their situations. As part of their meetings they discuss the topics raised in our partner's radio programmes.

By participating in the radio programmes, communities not only share their experiences but together are motivated to bring change in their locality.

Earlier this year, *Odoti’s sister was murdered and, with a history of domestic violence, her husband and other family members have been arrested. *Odoti, a single mother with two children, is now caring for her sister’s children – two girls both under the age of five. The local church and the transformation group are helping provide food and milk for the family.

As well as her concerns about how to manage with the two extra children to look after, *Odoti is worried that there will be no justice for her sister. The husband’s family are relatively affluent and in a position to bribe the police.

Rather than give-in under the weight of it all, *Odoti has real emotional strength and has shared her story with the radio team. They have produced programmes based on her experience, amplifying her voice in order to raise awareness in the community and help other women living in difficult circumstances but also to trigger a response in those in authority so that the course of justice is more likely to be followed.

Listening, contributing, participating, finding solutions

By participating in the radio programmes, communities not only share their experiences but together are motivated to bring change in their locality. As others hear the programmes, they realise they are listening to people they identify with; that solutions can come from among them, at grassroots level, and not necessarily from the powerful authorities, and they can hold those in authority to account. This empowerment not only increases respect as the voices and ideas of people are heard, but also brings hope.

Support this project and find out more: Broadcasting rights: radio for women in India