Community Radio Support Centre (CRSC)

The establishment of Radio Sagarmatha, the first non-government, non-commercial radio station marked a breakthrough in NEFEJ’s struggle to promote community radio. Yet potential community radio broadcasters in are facing a host of challenges in terms of legislative indifference, bureaucratic hurdles, resource constraints and human resources shortage. Once Radio Sagarmatha was well-established, it was natural for NEFEJ to continue to work for promoting community radio in rural areas across the country where such stations are even more essential. It assisted, in more ways than one, the few community radio stations that were in embryonic stage. But to work in a more focused way to help the community radio movement grow, NEFEJ had to have a full-fledged wing. And thus was born Community Radio Support Centre (CRSC) in early 2000.

For community Radio Support Centre (CRSC), the tasks were and are many. CRSC with support from FreeVoice The Netherlands, has been actively promoting and supporting the growth and strengthening of community radio with help desk, grant fund, technical and management inputs, producers capacity building, reference materials development, advocacy and lobbying, radio knowledge centre etc.

Close Cooperation: This is where CRSC’s close cooperation with various community radio stations has yielded fruits. Almost all the present community radio stations in operation have worked closely with CRSC/NEFEJ. After a decade long efforts of CRSC now more then 100 community radio stations are on air and about 80 other new licenses in the country. Its own resource constraints notwithstanding, CRSC has done what it could to sustain the interest of potential community radio broadcasters and to bolster those already in operation.

CRSC has been the contact point for hundreds of organisations at the grassroots level that wished to explore possibilities for establishing radio stations in their areas. It is no exaggeration to say that for all of Nepal’s prospective community radio broadcasters, the road first led to CRSC/NEFEJ. CRSC has been working as an epicentre to create a wave of community radios across the country.

The main objectives of CRSC are following:
To assist those interested in setting up community radio with technical and professional expertise as well as in securing funds for them.

To strengthen networking among community radio stations, community radio promoters and independent community radio producers, and to facilitate exchange of radio programmes among them.

To assist communities to establish community radio in different geographical areas keeping in mind the linguistic, cultural, ethnic and social diversities.

To strengthen capabilities of established community radio stations with professional and technical assistance.

To organise periodic trainings for community radio managers, producers and technicians.

To identify appropriate places, from technical and resources points of view, for encouraging establishment of radio stations.

To produce manuals and reference materials for community radio practitioners.

To undertake community radio audience research/studies.

To be active in lobbying and advocacy in order to mould public opinion in favour of making laws that are conducive to the growth and expansion of community radio.

To establish and promote contacts with like-minded international organisations for world solidarity in favour of promotion of community radio broadcasting.

Functioning as a special wing of NEFEJ, CRSC has drawn expertise from NEFEJ members who have worked or have been working with Radio Sagarmatha and NEFEJ’s other radio teams of the past who ran radio programmes on community forestry and gender equality on the national broadcaster, Radio Nepal.

NEFEJ’s Radio View
Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) was established in 1986 with the objective of raising public awareness and forming public opinion in favour of environmental protection and sustainable development through different programmes and activities using various mass media channels.

With 28 years of work in the field, NEFEJ has well established itself as a serious, committed and a democratic organisation. NEFEJ activities can be divided into four categories by target groups: General public; Journalists; Parliamentarians, policy- and decision-makers and political leaders and workers; non-governmental organisations.

Best Medium: Be it in raising public awareness or advocating policy changes or lobbying for greater political actions in the fieldof environmental protection and sustainable development, NEFEJ has attached a great importance to the medium of radio. When NEFEJ was struggling in the mid-1990s for licence for Radio Sagarmatha, that was to be the first public interest radio station in South Asia, the objective went beyond establishing just one radio station. The purpose was to open the doors for a community radio movement in Nepal where radio is the best medium in view of the whopping rate of illiteracy and topographical challenges of amountainous country.

More than half of the people are illiterate and two-thirds of the country is mountainous. Given the limitations of print media and the other electronic medium, television, promoting radio in effect meant promoting media pluralism in tune with democracy that arrived in the country in 1990. NEFEJ has always believed that a cheap and accessible radio medium could positively change the media environment of the country and earnestly advance community communication.

All those who are interested in promoting community radio in Nepal are CRSC’s partners. It joins hands with all. But resource constraints of NEFEJ/CRSC meant that it had to seek external support in order to undertake what it desired in pepping up community radio movement. Its efforts were rewarded as some like-minded donor organisations, who believe in the importance of community radio for Nepal, have come forward to cooperate with CRSC.

Support from aid agencies to CRSC has helped it to undertake some of the crucial tasks. CRSC has worked with Danida, Danish International Development Assistance, since 2000 on promoting community radio through activities aimed at strengthening networking, producing radio resource materials and prompting debate on community radio. At one of the interactions on community radio was born an alliance called the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB). CRSC is the founder of ACORAB as a founding president .

From early 2002, Free Voice (Then Communication Assistance Foundation), the Netherlands, has become a major partner of CRSC which has, under the Free Voice (FV) grant, established a Community Radio Grant Fund that seeks to assist existing and future community radio stations. The CRSC-FV project, besides operating the Fund, will in the next couple of years undertake a range of activities including trainings, resource material development, networking, radio programme exchange, radio Koowledge centre, lobbying and advocacy.

For more information on community radio, please contact:
Raghu Mainali
Coordinator Community Radio Support Centre (CRSC)
Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ)
POB 5143, Bhanimandal, Lalitpur, NEPAL
TEL : 977-1-5153342
E-MAIL: [email protected] or [email protected]