Community radio reporters acting as climate change communication agents in Central India

Bundelkhand (Madhya Pradesh), June 19 (ANI): Climate change is real. For an emerging economy like India with a large population directly dependent on natural resources for their sustenance, the changing climate is causing severe economic, environmental and social challenges.

Bundelkhand, a semi - arid region comprising of 13 districts in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh is one of the most climate sensitive areas in India.

An erratic rainfall pattern coupled with increasing frequency of droughts is posing a growing threat to the livelihood security of the rural community herethat mostly comprises of small and marginal farmers. Reducing crop yields and incomes are pushing people into extreme poverty.

Research shows that simple adaptation actions such as changing planting dates and crop varieties could greatly reduce the impacts of climate change. However, scientists and policy-makers are often poorly linked tocommunities. This is partly due to challenges of communicating scientific research in ways that are easily understood by the farmers.

Development Alternatives, a civil society organisation working to create sustainable livelihoods in Bundelkhand is running the ShubhKalcampaign (a campaign for a better future) to inform and educate the rural community regarding climate change adaptation options.

The uniqueness of this communication model is that it is using existing community radios in the region (Radio Bundelkhand, LalitLokwani, Radio Dhadkan and Chanderi Ki Awaaz) to disseminate information to more than 6,00,000 rural folk in 400 villages.

Reporters being from the community make radio programs in the local dialects making the content easily understood by the farmers. These radio reporters are thus forming an effectivecommunication link between communities, scientists and policy makerson climate change issues. By Neelam Ahluwalia (ANI)

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