Maraa designs and facilitates workshops with community media practitioners towards re-imagining sound and storytelling on radio. We also support in designing research based participatory audio programmes. We have worked to build a strong network of women reporters in community radio that continue to work together. Through our trainings we aim to broaden the imagination of terms such as gender and sexuality, caste, labour and identity and work with intersectionality. We work with adolescents, students, women workers, geographical communities, rape survivors and media practitioners.
Participatory Learning Programmes towards Healthy Communities:
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 to produce programs on various dimensions of gender and sexuality. As a part of the Healthy Communities initiative, launched in 2008 by Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Maraa in collaboration with a range of Commonwealth partner agencies developed a methodology for local, low-cost, participatory learning to address critical unmet community health and development needs. The process is based on the principles of being local, collaborative and participatory using story based programming which includes blended media and gathering evidence of behaviour change in the community. As part of the process Community radio practitioners produced over 200 programs on bodily changes, puberty and myths around menstruation, gender stereotypes and roles, migration and gender, sexual harassment and violence, love, violence and sexual and reproductive health. Many of these issues were articulated for the first time in the culturally conservative communities of the radio stations. It led to a practice of research based programming series on community radios in the country which was participatory at all stages of programme production. The process resulted in building an active listenership at the radio station and strengthening relationships with the community.
Gender programming through blended media approach
In collaboration with CREA (Delhi based feminist organisation), we experimented with a blended media approach, linking programs produced on community radio stations with an IVRS national infoline. The intent of the national infoline (Kahi Ankahi Baatein), run by CREA, is to disseminate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender based violence to youth in the country. As part of the collaboration more than 100 episodes were produced by community radio stations across rural and urban contexts on issues including adolescent mental and emotional health, sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender based violence, and the first radio series in the country talking about marital rape.These programmes were played on the infoline along with broadcasting on the CR. It led to opening up of discussions and exchange of ideas on the infoline, radio and within the community. Contextual programs produced for the infoline by the community radio stations along with the interactive channel Sawaal-Jawaab, has led to an increase in the number of calls on the infoline and has influenced the nature of queries by listeners on issues like consent and pleasure.