Added value and importance
The community media fellows reach to the remote locations and collect information on the lives of women and children and prepare their news and programs. They are contributing in development and changes of their own community lives by their programs and reports on protection of early marriage, promotion of education and other important issues of mother and children. For the first time, the unheard voices of the rural women are coming up through the works of youth women journalists. One woman feels comfort to talk and disclose the facts with another woman of her neighborhood. Through the reports, many untold stories have been brought into light. Parents and social elites became sensitized and in some community radio station areas they have collaborated to immediately stop the cases of child marriages.
The youth women fellows have earned prestige and recognition in the rural community through this program. Some of the parents now show interest to push their young daughters to engage in community media and journalism. It is encouraging 22 fellows are continuing their service support with Community radio stations. With her radio station-radio Naf, Hla Hla Yee Rakhaine is also working as district correspondent of a popular weekly newspaper. Mentionable that, she is the only women journalist the area has ever produced. Some other fellows like Sanjita Kaochar Sopnil of Radio Bikrampur, Shahrina Jui and Hoimonti Mou of Borendro radio, Samia Akhtar of Radio Mahananda, Humaira Parvin Hena of Radio Chilmari , Abida Sultana of Lokobetar -all are working in their radio stations as full-time producers.
Momena Ferdousi, a 24 year student from north-western district of Chapainawabganj working for Radio Mahananda in remote Shibganj said, “I would have never made it to the position of senior programme producer today unless they (BNNRC) had created opportunities to give preferences to female applicants.”
“The road to my employment as a female employee was designed to encourage and promote females like myself. Many of my fellow colleagues who I work with are highly educated and are very challenging. In fact, BNNRC saw the potentials in the female journalists and since joining I believe we have substantial changes through addressing the ‘gaps’ for women’s rights to information.”
Shammi Akhtar, a community media fellow of the 2nd batch, now working with radio Borendro told: “I have learned and explored many new areas of journalism while working as community media fellow, which made me confident to take up this as full-time profession.”
A proud and confident voice of Sharmin Sultana of Radio Pollikontho, broadcast from north-eastern district of Moulvibazaar since 2012, said, “It is an amazing feeling that I conduct programmes, interact live with guests and also respond to our audience requests for dialogues on health, women, human rights, social injustice, education, agriculture and many more issues. When we began we had only one programme on women issues, now there we run five programmes a week exclusively dedicated for women.” Sultana added, “Most of our audience are poor and they either don’t have access to television or cannot read newspapers. So (FM) radio, available even on the cheapest mobile phone, has been very popular and the demand for interactive live programmes is increasing by the day.”
Station manager of Radio Naf, broadcast from south-eastern tip of Bangladesh’s Teknaf, said, “Of the daily five hourly programme most of them are on women like the local Rakhine tribes who are our top listeners.”