Him Jo Goonje
Concept and Proposal for Community Radio in Trans Himalaya region
Design Conceptualization | Research | System Design | Illustration | Layout | Web Design | Community Welfare | Sound Field Recording | Sound Edits
Thesis StudioProject as a Secure Himalaya Project by UNDP and GEF
The Trans Himalayan region paints a stunning canvas of a myriad human cultures, linguistic diversity, several indigenous communities, and multitude species of flora and fauna. The daunting roads that lead to this austere beauty along with six months of absolute snowfall are some factors for relative seclusion and remoteness that has made them the bastions of globally significant indigenous knowledge and cultural heterogeneity. UNDP and Moef’s joint venture “Secure Himalayas”postulates securing livelihoods, conservation and sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems while enhancing the conservation of biodiversity, land and forest resources along with the lives and livelihoods of the local communities. This project, “Him jo Goonje,”proposes the initiation of community radio stations at the four project sites that are Pangi, Lahual, Spiti and Kinnaur. The mandate of the project is to invoke the new age practices of Citizen Journalism and Citizen Science amongst the local communities and also encourage them to actively participate in cultural conservation, archival and documentation of traditional knowledge. It aims at promoting the niche idea of conservation through participatory policies and actions.
These days most of the content is on the mobile phone, both in creation and consumption.
With rapid digitisation and with smartphones and internet services becoming affordable, there is a high penetration of new media (anything that can be accessed through mobile over a broadband connection, which lead to new interactions) in such landscapes. While they enjoy their morning tea along with their favourite folksong being played on the radio, they also love connecting with each other through Whatsapp and Facebook. Amalgamating both the traditional radio and the new media, the proposed system gives an opportunity to the locals to assert cultural identity and self-expression in another realm, that is the digital space. The proposed system targets on the local communities taking onus of the content creation and disseminating content and stories through diverse media channels.
How does the System Work?
The volunteers, individuals, groups gather information, local tales, folk songs, grievances, ecological findings, oral history from their specific locale.
At the Community radio station, a group of local and professional participants work as Publishers/ Moderators to generate tailored content for the radio. The content makers can range from different ethnographic groups. The creation of content will follow a certain regulations/ code of ethics which abide by the government laid guidelines and does not hurt the sentiments of any individual or communities.
From the four proposed Community Radio Stations the content will be disseminated to an online web portal which acts as a dynamic database for the archival of content and also allows the locals to locate themselves on larger media platforms.
Indigenous people have had a long tradition of storytelling, and with this method it continues on the Internet. With upcoming tools like the “Social Media Aggregator tool,” it allows driving traffic to the web portal and can boost awareness and sensitization about the landscape and cultural diversity of the Trans-Himalaya Region.
Citizen journalism offers a vital avenue for telling on-the-ground and under-told stories. Both the local and global voices can find a space to share their stories, comments, feedback on the web portal through methods like- report writing, Geocoding via images, and with an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) service.
Voice in its multiple registers gives particular insight into the intimate, affective, and material/embodied dimensions of cultural life and socio-political identity. An individual’s particular speech patterns, vocabulary, language, volume, pace and habits. The aim of content creation is to not mutilate the originality of the voice and preservation of
interviews/traditional knowledge in its’ original form. With the approach being anthropological, linguistic, and based on memory, it is poignant to record stories of interactions within the community and with the landscape. Therefore, creation of content is a highly crucial step and some proposed forms of content are- Radio diaries, Radio Plays, Audiowalks, Soundscapes, Soundportraits, Audio narratives.
Once an independent radio station establishes itself as part of a community, it becomes part of that community’s culture. Promoting grassroots communication, local media aims to speak with a truly local voice when they are open to participation and inclusion. Enlarge the plurality of opinion of decision making, dialogue and discourse and opinion in local space. Along with educating and training the locals with new skills and methods, it also proves to be a well-defined livelihood shift in the non-productive winter months. The proposed community radio system works to engage, interact, and build community capacities and Him Jo Goonje’s logo is a holistic representation of the voices of the Trans Himalayan communities. The hills symbolise their dynamic landscape. The small hill personifies the power of discourse that rises like the sun enlightening and empowering the communities. An image of a person with rising arms along with the coming of digital age can also be read in this logo. It’s an amalgamation of the community radio and the New Media, which intends to make the community voices heard globally. The harmony of colours used, portray the harmonious relationship the communities have with the Himalayan Landscape.