Communications for development

Farmers use TV and radio shows to share stories about climate change and its impacts in Nepal

South Asia

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has been working with local partners Panos South Asia and the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists to increase awareness in Nepal of how climate change affects poor people, especially women.

A media project in Nepal seeks to create broad societal awareness of how climate change affects the poor and women in particular

A media project in Nepal seeks to create broad societal awareness of how climate change affects the poor and women in particular. S. Mojumder (CIMMYT)

Two national NGOs, the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies and the Nepal Madhesh Foundation, facilitated discussions on climate change and its effects on the lives of farmers and the working approaches of policy makers. The discussions held at the village, district and national levels provided opportunities to  farmers, technical advisors, policy makers and journalists to voice their opinion and spell out issues that were conspicuously missing in national and research discourse.

Radio and television shows were used to disseminate IWMI–CCAFS research about climate change and the feminization of agriculture. Falling farm yields are forcing large numbers of men to leave the countryside in search of work, which is seeing many households and farms become female led. Women are making decisions that were traditionally the responsibility of men, but are constrained in this by a lack of formal land entitlement and access to finance.

Based on films made by IWMI-trained farmers in 2013, a 30-minute video compilation was aired 4 times in 2014 on Kantipur Television (KTV), a private Nepalese television station. The films gave voice and visibility to the experiences of poor farmers in Nepal.

In December, 2 discussions about climate and social change between farmers, local officials and policy makers were aired on 5 FM radios in 7 districts through the Ujyyalo 90 Network (UNN). UNN is a private media agency with a network of 150 FM radios across Nepal and an estimated audience of 18 million. The shows allowed listeners to feedback through SMS and telephone. A 30-minute version of the radio programme was then produced to share with farmers of Terai-Madhesh, local and national planners, and policy makers.

These communication channels were chosen because of their credibility, popularity, coverage and accessibility to the target audience. Adverts in prominent newspapers like The Kathmandu Post, Kantipur and Janakpur Today, as well as social media and email actions, were used to encourage project stakeholders as well as policy makers and experts on climate change, water and energy to listen to the programme, watch the video and provide feedback.

After showing the videos, things began to change. A culvert featured in one video that had been left abandoned for 5 years was finally completed.

The men and women farmers who directed the films say they now feel more confident about raising their concerns with local officials. The authorities also report that it has been a valuable experience. An important dialogue has begun.

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