Nepal: Voice of a Valley

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Name of project: Radio Sagarmatha

Organisation: Radio Sagarmatha

Country : Nepal

Organisational type: Media organisation                  

Year in which it was started:1997

Brief description:

Radio Sagarmatha had long been involved on media advocacy for Education of Sustainable Development. Accordingly, Radio Sagarmatha has pro-actively endorsed and supported the initiative of the UN after designation of the decade of 2005 - 2014 as the 'UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD)'. Sustainability is the goal. It is a goal that requires commitment from across the community, a commitment that can only be developed through education. Radio Sagarmatha, therefore, has used its years of radio journalism experience towards making the station as a reliable information, education and empowerment tool on ESD, accessible to all and meant for all, whatever their social or economic status to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future.

Radio Sagarmatha has contributed to the UNDESD by enhancing public understanding of the principles behind sustainability, sharing knowledge about how to engage people in sustainable development, raising the profile and practice of education for sustainable development, advocating for the integration of educational approaches consistent with ESD, mainstreaming ESD into all sectors, transforming Nepalese societies into learning societies, making thrust of ESD relevant to Nepalese context, fostering individual responsibility towards sustainability and playing watchdog role. Since Radio Sagarmatha has networking with FM radio stations across Nepal, this has further helped to keep the citizenry informed about the ESD, educate the citizen and policymakers and create a "public space" for discourse that imparts knowledge, values, and perspectives that encourage and support citizens to lead sustainable lives through necessary changes in values, behaviour, and lifestyles.

Principal target groups covered by the project:
Adult learners
Children (from 5 to 15 years)
Community-based organisations
General public
Government officials
Indigenous people
Law enforcement officers (police, Customs, etc.)
Media practitioners
Non-governmental organisations
Primary and secondary school children
Primary and secondary school teachers
Religious leaders and teachers
University and other tertiary students
University teachers
Youth groups

Main education and communication methods used:
Small group discussions or workshops
Radio programmes
New media (web, email, wiki, blogs, etc.)

What is exceptional or unique about this ESD initiative:
Primary functions of most of the radio stations of Nepal are “to entertain” and “to inform”. The function of 'to educate' is the one least attended to. Radio Sagarmatha, the first independent public radio station in South Asia, played a vanguard function of “to educate” and “to empower” so that sustainability issues are neither neglected nor marginalized in all sectors of development. The station has been playing a pivotal role in educating and shaping public opinion as well as influencing the policy decisions on ESD.

Radio Sagarmatha has been working hard towards being a potential agent for social change, and an engine for sustainable development.

Visually interesting places, people or activities/events that can be filmed in this project:
Firstly, Radio Sagarmatha had started a pilot radio project to overcome digital divide between rural people and online communities of Mountain Forum. Under the project Radio Sagarmatha had prepared and broadcasted radio programmes, while the transcripts made available to the online communities of Mountain Forum. The radio programme stimulated a dialogue between local community and tourism entrepreneurs to integrate sustainable development practice for sustainable development of tourism in Nagarkot, the most visited resort town in the Kathmandu valley rim. Prior to the dialogue, conflict between two parties was latent but both parties were not ready to have dialogue.

The pilot project demonstrated that it is not necessary to rely on donor funds for pilots, and that existing resources can be leveraged to carry out these small-scale activities.

Secondly, Radio Sagarmatha had organized a series of policy dialogue in its radio programmes prior to Johannesburg 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. The radio programmes provided inputs to Nepalese government to set agenda for sustainable development. Radio Sagarmatha proudly claims that its initiative was successful to incorporate many issues, including ESD, for policy formulation on sustainable development. Radio Sagarmatha had also played a key role to establish Network for Sustainable Development.