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READ THE LATEST FIELD REPORT ON RADIO SALAM (09/2004)
Foundation for Tolerance International
Batken, Kyrgyzstan (rural)
The whole Batken region, a very unstable and sensitive area in
the south of Kyrgyzstan, did not have a single independent media
outlet until the Radio Salam project. The area, which has been subject
to a number of militant incursions since 1999, remains a hotspot
in the Ferghana Valley.
Aims and objectives
The project was tailored to educate and entertain young people
in Batken, to give them hope for a better future and to involve
them in actively building civil society.
The staff of the radio station consists of eight
people. More than 40 volunteers help the staff to develop audiences
with them. For example, volunteers travel by bicycle around the
region to collect the feedback that children can put in special
boxes installed in their schools. In general, the participants
are young people aged 9-18 from in and around Batken.
The whole area benefits from the radio station. It has lifted the
morale of the population, and the station has proved to be an important
tool for education and information. Young people, who are the main
target group, are also the main beneficiaries.
Involvement of children
The young audience is actively involved in the content of programmes.
Summary of project
The radio station now produces 18 hours of programming every day,
including music, news, documentaries and feature stories. The end
product is a better educated and better informed youth.
The overall funding for the first 1.5 years of the station's existence
is around US$80,000. About US$30,000 was spent on start-up equipment,
the rest on training, salaries and other operational costs.
Strengths of project
The greatest strength of the project is its identity-building component.
The young people of Batken were given a common issue to debate and
have developed a certain drive to carry the project along, helping
out wherever they can.
The station is likely to have problems in sustaining itself because
of the very bad economic situation in the south of Kyrgyzstan.
Impact reports will be available soon.
The most important lesson we have learned is the fact that this
project was and is necessary to boost the morale of a whole region.
Future projects of this kind could work well in similar regions
with similar effect.
Publicity in the form of donated T-shirts with logos, baseball
caps and bicycles for volunteers are not luxuries but necessities.
This is money well spent and helps to give a station the identity
and support it needs to make a real impact.
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