Community Radio for Development reaches Lakhonepheng

Oct 13, 2015

Community Radio volunteers broadcasting from new equipment at the launch of Lakonepheng Communty Radio Station. Photo: UNDP Lao PDR/Chelsey Parish

Stakeholders gathered in Lakhonepheng District on Tuesday 13 October to celebrate the launch of the newest Community Radio Station in the country and the first for Saravane Province.

The first Community Radio for Development station in Lao PDR was established in 2006. Community Radio coverage in Lao PDR has significantly increased in the past year with seven stations now broadcasting to more than 220,000 people in Saravane, Xiengkhuang, Sekong and Oudomxay provinces. In Lakhonepheng District, Saravane Province, more than 45,000 people can now access the Community Radio broadcast.

The launch ceremony was attended by H.E. Savankhone Razmountry, Deputy Minister Information, Culture and Tourism, H.E. Mr. Phouthong Khammanivong, the Vice Governor of Salavan Province, Mr. Antonino Faibene of Oxfam Novib and Mr. Gerry O Driscoll of the United Nations Development Programme Lao PDR, with participants from central and local levels of government, development partners, community radio volunteers as well as local community representatives.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Razmoutry acknowledged the achievements of the initiative and its, “significant contribution to the development in the country,” through reaching remote and rural populations with informative messages.

He also stressed the importance of community engagement for sustainability of the Community Radio stations, “It is important for the people to have a voice so the community must build a foundation of good management and financial support to ensure the future of this community radio station… we must ensure the station is sustained as a tool for information sharing for development and also for preserving the rich culture of the region.”

Mr. Gerry O’Driscoll of United Nations Development Programme applauded the commitment of the government, under leadership of Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, local authorities, and community volunteers in making the initiative successful. Currently the radio stations broadcast informative programmes on localised topics such as education, maternal and child health, UXO awareness and climate resilient and sustainable agricultural practices amongst others.

The Community Radio for Development programme in Lao PDR is jointly supported by Oxfam Novib. Mr. Antonino Faibene, Oxfam Associate Country Director, spoke at the launch and stressed the need for community and government partnership to ensure the success of the radio stations.  

 “As Oxfam we strongly believe that the success of this community radio lies not only in its infrastructure and technology, but in the ability of the community and authorities to work side by side towards a common goal for the benefit of the people of Lakhonepheng.

H.E. Mr. Khammanyvong, Vice Governor of Salavan Province, thanked United Nations Development Programme and Oxfam for the contribution to community development in the area and assured that the community radio stations would be used as an effective tool for socio-economic development, education and to celebrate and preserve local culture in the province. The Lakonepheng radio will broadcast in Lao language and the local ethnic Khteng language.

The Community Radio stations are driven by local volunteers who volunteer their time as broadcasters, technicians, editors and for community mobilisation. Speaking at the launch, Mr. Thongmy Keothongdam, Vangkhaed Village Chief and volunteer broadcaster, spoke of his experience as a volunteer and his hopes for the future of his community.

“My experience as a Community Radio for Development volunteer has been very good as I have learned many news skills to help my people, the Khteng ethic group, as well as the wider community.”

“We must all use this opportunity for sharing information to help each other develop our region and our nation together.”

The overall objective of the Community Radio for Development programme is to ensure people in rural areas have increased access to information on aspects that will help in improving their quality of life. The programme’s final Community Radio station will be launched by the end of 2015, bringing the total number in Lao PDR to eight, therefore increasing access to information to over 220,000 people in rural areas, including marginalised groups such as women and ethnic monitories.  

For more information, please contact:

UNDP: Ms. Oraxone Vissapra, Programme Officer

Tel: 021 267 729, Email: oraxone.vissapra@undp.org

 

UNDP Public Information Unit: Ms. Chelsey Parish, Communications Officer

Tel: 021 267 723, Email: chelsey.parish@undp.org

 

MICT: Mr. Bounhap Souligno, CPCS Programme Manager Deputy Director General, Mass Media Department, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism 

Tel: 021-254 601, Email: cpcs.programme@gmail.com