The Integrated Rural Development of Weaker Sections in India (WIDA)



The first year of our work equipped us with fair amount of knowledge on realities and to identify relevant messages and missing information of the rural poor. At this juncture, a cultural troupe was organised from among the staff. The team members were able to contribute their ability in a creative way. The team in general plays an important role of information sharing and consolidation of relevant information and dissemination. The communication programme is not a separate activity as it works with health, nutrition, women literacy awareness, plantation and other related development programmes. As most of the villagers are illiterates, flexible means of communication will be adopted on the basis of the existing media. As we when talented field staff (including musicians, singers and actors), songs and dramas were composed for the people and these are now taped and played to the people during out visits. This we found very effective to communicate with the rural people. In general the materials try to focus on poverty, liquor exploitation, superstition, organisation, health consciousness and cooperation.

In 1982 the team visited the villages once a month and staged the drama and also studied the reaction of the people where they experienced solid response from the villagers.

In 1964 the project trained the youths and PO members on communication techniques so that they themselves can perform dramas in their own village in their own style and language to suit their culture. The some traditional methods we adopted but a new content of programme was in use.

As of 1985, 8 songs and 2 dramas had been produced The communication worker was also trained on puppetry.

In 1985, we were able to form an audio-visual team and rural communication unit. We carried out regular audio-visual communication programmes by screening films, sides relating to health, water, immunization, ecology, untouchability and unity In the villages. The mobile team visits the target villages once in a month and with additional films at regular intervals. As most of the audio-visual materials are in English, efforts are being taken to get them translated into Oriya so that the local people can understand the pictures along with the visuals. As of 1987. 49 villages were covered, and in 1989 the programme was carried out in 20 villages covering 6000 people. 12 sets of slides covering 16 issues were prepared in the project area by the team.

The rural communication unit was in the beginning of its formation doing Preparatory work on puppetry and story writing. Two members underwent a three-month training on low cost communication techniques so that after training the team could organize programmes on training the villagers on street theatre, poster making, puppetry and drama.

The development educator, after formation of communication groups in each of the selected villages, train them in the village. Further, they are sent to a rural communication center situated in Pakajhola. The coordinator of the communication unit at the center give further training to these groups for one week in puppetry, drama, dialogues and songs. The important aspect of the training includes identification of their problems, ability to highlight the issues formulate the message on the theme and identification of media.

In 1986, 12 communication groups had been trained at the centre as well as 523 communication members had been identified and trained at field level.

In 1989, 95 songs were recorded in a studio, based on local issues. and these songs are available in Audio Cassette " the reflection ". The songs were also printed and published
Four communication groups were in 1997 trained in communication. During the training, issue based themes were used in the role-play, songs and mime. The training was for a period of seven days for each group. After the training, communication materials were provided to continue the programme to the trained groups. The communication team has followed up three communication groups, who were trained earlier.

Communication documentation was prepared in four villages in 1998, Date was collected on village history, traditional drama, cultural drama, , forest protection, forest animals and birds, herbal medicine, clothes, ornaments and articles, agriculture, marriage system, domestic animals in the villages and on literacy.

Media Assistance

In 1998, 6 radios were given in 3 villages. This assistance is basically for the people to get news and information of the state and outside the country. The PO and WG members selected 6 leaders to be responsible of the radios, the people pay 50 % and the rest is assisted by the project. In 1999 yet seven persons from 4 villages was provided with media assistance radio, to get information and share among the people in the villages and outside.

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