COVID-19: Adaptation Priorities - Objectives & Broadcast Contents through Community Radio & Community Visual Radio in Bangladesh

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) has been struggling for the last 20 years for opening up and strengthening the community media sector including Community Radio and giving focus on its vital role as voices of the voiceless rural people from 2000.


BNNRC is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) accredited with World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) of the United Nations and UN WSIS prize winner 2016, Champion 2017, 2019 & 2020!


BNNRC has been mobilizing all community radios for developing and broadcasting awareness building programs on COVID-19: contamination to protect lives and livelihoods since March 1, 2020 to 31 May 2020.  


During March 1, 2020 to 31 May 2020 BNNRC has been working on COVID -19 covering with the following issues: 1. Animate CSOs, Government, health service providers and communities for reinforcing collective action in pre and during COVID-19  2. Response for achieving keeping community people’s daily life normal and livelihood function, 3. Mobilize further cooperation among government, CSOs, local market and communities’ response


In times of crisis, information saves lives.  In the response to Covid-19, we see how vital it is to get accurate and trusted messages to people so that they know what they need to do and where they can get help when they need it. Now 18 Community Radios stations in Bangladesh have been broadcasting 165 hours Coronavirus prevention education with the active participation of community people. There are 1000 community youth and youth women community radio broadcasters broadcast program for 6.5 million listeners and watcher.


From 1st June, 2020 BNNRC has developed COVID-19: Adaptation Initiatives and Interventions according to Technical Instructions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on COVID-19 Pandemic to Protect and Control Social and Institutional Contamination that can help to look at the response through an equity lens, focus on people’s enhanced capabilities & follow a coherent multidimensional approach for achieving of the four specific objectives below:


Objective -01

Enhance the capabilities of affected communities through an equity lens for adapting/coping/surviving with the new normal situation 


Broadcast Contents:

  • Follow and exercise of Technical Instructions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on COVID-19 Pandemic to Protect and Control Social and Institutional Contamination


  • Develop and Broadcast programs through an equity lens for Dalit and disadvantaged community (like Barber, sweeper, shoe shiner, blacksmith, fishermen, transgender/hijra, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable communities including unattended people and people out of the attention of the society etc.) of Community Radio Broadcasting areas


  • Analysis impact of social safety net program of government and highlighted further steps for deprived people through virtual/online social dialogue with the participation of communities


  • Promote better health governance to sensitize health interventions to reduce inequity and incoordination for equal and quality health services in line with communicable and non-communicable disease


  • Program should be given on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) with the participation of community people through multi-generation reach and multi-media presence



Objective -02

Focus on enhanced capabilities of Broadcasters and Stakeholders for exercising new normal and building resilience


  • Follow and exercise of Technical Instructions of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare on COVID-19 Pandemic to Protect and Control Social and Institutional Contamination.


  • Rethinking to build knowledge of community broadcasters through massive open online course (MOOC) by effective access to present day technologies


  • Transform community radio stations to address the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic through online presence like Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter in line with reskilling, upskilling and deskilling


  • Develop new skills for program development and behavioral change for pre & post production and broadcasting with creative and innovative way among the stakeholders


Objective -03

Accelerate of ICT applications for benefitting community people in all aspects of life

  • Develop and Broadcast integrated programs on education, primary health care, nutrition, employment and disaster shocks adaptation in a creative and innovative way.


  • Develop program and broadcast about use of ICT applications for maximizing health, social and economic benefits for community like E-government, E-business, E-learning, E-health, E-employment, E-environment and E-agriculture


  • Develop and broadcast program on access to local medical knowledge and locally-relevant content resources for strengthening primary health care and promoting reproductive health


  • Develop and broadcast program to promote collaborative efforts of governments, health professionals, and stakeholders for creating a reliable, timely, access to quality and affordable health services and information for protecting citizens’ livelihood and right to privacy


  • Develop and Broadcast program for continuing flow of income of rural community people focusing the multiple interconnected dimensions (economic and several social aspects and violence free family)


  • Programs develop and broadcast on the role of ICTs (positive and negative impact) and media/social media on community people’s daily lives and works for combatting challenges caused by COVID-19


  • In order to make the transition from the physical classroom to the virtual class room, community radio broadcaster/teacher need to 6 main areas of skills and knowledge (1. environmental 2. Technical 3. Interpersonal 4. Pedagogical 5. Behavioral 6. motivational


Objective -04

Effective access to reliable information through ICT and media for countering infodemic and keeping lives & livelihood easy

  • Develop and broadcast programs using multimedia platforms for countering traditional myths, misinformation and disinformation through providing scientific information for helping prevent the spread of false information


  • Encourage community people to strategic use of computer, mobile phone and social media (Facebook, You Tube, Imo, Viber etc.) to protect their income erosion/disruption and building knowledge, education and to find accurate information


  • Program develop and broadcast on inequal access to present day technology and media of community people and organize virtual/online and studio based social dialogues between supply and demand side to reduce inequality


Community Radios stations, as one of the sources of information, helping to raise awareness on COVID- 19 and reinforcing Behavior Change Communication (BCC) by CSOs, Government, health officials and locally elected bodies (LEB). Community Radio stations are building awareness to change attitudes among community people at different points in their daily lives. Community Radio stations, as a platform for those who involve in COVID -19 responses to update rural communities. They are also providing a channel for two-way communication with community people where listeners are sending SMS or call in with questions. Community Radio stations have been coordinating with the District and Upazila level Coronavirus Prevention Committees. Community Radio stations have assigned one broadcaster in each radio stations as the focal person to coordinate COVID – 19 programs.


Community Radio stations are broadcasting programs on COVID -19 in local languages or dialects. Community Radio stations are producing contents which speaks directly to localized issues and concerns, and features trusted local people in a way that nationally or regionally produced content cannot. It is really working and having a very positive effect at the rural communities. Community Radio stations help to reduce the panic of COVID – 19 gradually by broadcasting awareness programs. Now the community people are taking precautionary measures to prevent contamination of COVID – 19.  People now understand more about the COVID – 19. Community Radio stations have already been established a well-trusted source of information for rural people of Bangladesh.

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