Sudha Gooty, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, talks to Khoun Community Radio

27 Jul 2012

During her recent field visit to Xiengkhouang Province, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Ms. Sudha Gooty was interviewed by volunteers of the Khoun Community Radio, Lao PDR's first multi-lingual community-run radio station. This is the English language transcript of the programme recorded and broadcast on July 4, 2012.

Q: Welcome to the Community Radio. How do you feel about your visit to Khoun District? Could you tell our audience something about the purpose of your field trip?

A: Sabaidee, thank you very much for the opportunity to talk on this forum. My name is Sudha Gooty, as I have just been introduced; and my colleague Vatlana Boupha is going to translate for me. The objective of coming to Khoun District is to understand how the Khoun Radio is working, what are the successes, and what are the areas that we can further improve, so that this initiative can grow. Personally, I have been very impressed about what the community radio has achieved over the last 5 years.

I also had the opportunity to visit a village today, and heard from the communities themselves how the radio is benefitting them. I was very happy to note that various topics are being discussed by communities. Several new topics are being added on. We would encourage that this continues. The other aspect that I have been very impressed about is the spirit shown by the volunteers who come and make this community radio a success. We would encourage more and more volunteers to join this initiative.

Q: Could you also tell us something about the way UNDP provides support to Lao PDR?

A: UNDP is very proud of this initiative and the way Khoun Radio is helping communities, and in the current phase of our programme we have extended the project until 2014. Initially, it was going to end last year. And we have a new project now that has started. So we will continue our support to the community radio. Khoun District is a key district for us, and we will continue to do that.

In addition to the financial support, we are also documenting the success from Khoun Community Radio and we are spreading the word, so we can bring in more support, as well as replicate this initiative in other parts of the country.

Q: Could you please tell us how the community could provide additional support to the radio? And could you propose ways to improve it?

A: I think they are already doing a great job in spreading awareness. If I could just add a couple of points: first, we already see that there is a lot of district, provincial and national support for this initiative, but I would urge that there is more coordination between central, provincial and district level in providing and sharing information through the community radio setup.

I would also urge communities to contribute the best practices from their villages. I know that some of the villages are already doing it. I would encourage more and more communities to come out, share their practices, share their stories with the rest of the communities. And my last message is really to encourage more and more volunteers to come forward, and to join the initiative. And I would like to just conclude by thanking the District Administration, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, and all the colleagues who worked on the project and who gave us the opportunity to work on this initiative.