Participatory audio content production training with Community Radio stations

Maraa operationalised the first ten community radio stations in the country in 2008. Since then we have been training and mentoring community radio practitioners, specifically young women from rural and peri-urban contexts on producing programs on various dimensions of gender and sexuality. As part of the process, so far more than 400 programs have been produced on bodily changes, puberty and myths around menstruation, gender stereotypes and roles, sexual harassment and violence (including the first programme series on radio in the country on marital rape), themes of love, violence and pressure on adolescent boys and girls and sexual and reproductive health. The community radio stations have been trained using the approach of Community Learning Programme which emphasizes on participatory content production with local context in place. Over the years, we have trained and mentored about 15 community radio stations with their local staff on process of research and planning, designing and production, broadcast and dissemination of content and feedback and evaluation of audio programme series on a variety of issues.

In 2016, we experimented with a blended media approach, linking programs produced on community radio stations, with an IVRS infoline run by CREA (New Delhi). The intent of the national infoline (Kahi Ankahi Baatein) is to disseminate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights to youth in the country. Contextual programs produced by the community radio stations, for the infoline, along with the interactive channel Sawaal-Jawaab, has led to an increase in the number of calls on the infoline. As part of the process, the four community radio stations involved were trained on issues of gender and sexuality and content formats to make 4-min audio programmes in Hindi.

Standup Comedy Workshops

Standup comedy is built upon the experiences, perspectives and critiques of the performing comic. The workshop begins from this idea to use the form as a conduit for different, often marginalised narratives to take the stage. At the basis of this endeavour is to use humour to make such narratives accessible. The workshops are designed to encourage participants to share their own thoughts, experiences and critiques using theatre based techniques which encourage storytelling. These sharing form the basis of the participants’ content. Working with professional standup comedian, participants are given the tools to shape their narratives for a performance in a public space. This includes framing and writing a joke, putting together a bit and eventually forming a set. All the work is constantly rehearsed and reworked through a cycle of feedback in the form of jamming sessions. The workshops are aimed at providing platforms for demographics whose voices have been marginalised to voice their own narratives which will critique dominant discourses on gender, caste, economics, development etc through humour.

These workshops have culminated in shows across Maharashtra called, Kaay Boltay. It is an attempt to break the economic and language barriers in the country and use the form as a means to publicise marginalised narratives made accessible through humour.

We are currently working towards extending the process in other regional languages like Kannada and Tamil.