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IPDC Supports Mongolia-Nepal South-South and people-to-people cooperation on community radio

Mongolian community broadcasters are impressed by the vibrant community radio movement in Nepal, said Ms Dash Munkhburen, Executive-Director of the recently-created Community Radio Association of Mongolia (CRAMO), returning home after an experience-sharing mission to Nepal together with colleagues. She also said that CRAMO was inspired by the way the community broadcasters in Nepal are getting feed-back from “Radio listener's clubs” and are organizing training for radio volunteers.

During the week-long trip, Ms. Munkhburen was accompanied by the CRAMO’s Vice President Mr. Chuluunsuren Enkhbayar and by Ms. Chadraabal Otgontugs, manager of “Voice of Hotgoid” located in the rural Tsagaan-Uul County of the Khuvsgul province. On 6-13 February, the Mongolian delegation visited the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Nepal (ACORAB), and travelled to Vijaya FM in Parasi, Lumbini FM, and Gandaki FM in Pokhara. While in Kathmandu, they met with the Regional Coordinator of AMARC Asia-Pacific Mr. Suman Basnet, and joined fellow broadcasters in celebrating the 2015 World Radio Day.

CRAMO’s experience-sharing mission to Nepal was made possible by the IPDC Project “Supporting the Development of a Sustainable Community Radio Movement in Mongolia.” Under this project, consultations were organized with community radio representatives from ten counties on January 2015 to discuss their challenges and recommendations for community media's sustainable development. Based on the consultations, CRAMO is developing an Engagement and Sustainability Plan for community media development in Mongolia. Furthermore, this project has supported awareness-raising activities to sensitize over 100 Mongolian community leaders, local and national decision-makers about the role of community media.

Among the project’s direct beneficiaries, Mr. Ulziisaikhan, radio manager of “Taigyn ayalguu” community radio in the Tsagaannur County of the Khuvsgul province, said he was happy that the training built his capacity to fund-raise with local and development funds. For other radio managers, the exchange was also the occasion to share how tackling daily practical challenges such as heating radio station premises during the extreme harsh Mongolian winters, as highlighted by the radio manager of “Ulaahkhusyn dolgiin” in the Ulaankhus County of the Bayan-Ulgii province. At the same time,  the Chair of the Board of the “Tavan tesiin dolgion” community radio in the Tes County of the Uvs province took the opportunity to discuss with peers from other community media the lack of ICT and Internet literacy among radio volunteers.

UNESCO Beijing Office’s Adviser for Communication and Information Andrea Cairola said that the experience-sharing trip was conceived as an ideal “relay” between one of the countries in the Asia-Pacific where community radio was introduced sustainably and successfully, also helped by IPDC’s support to the first Nepali community media Radio Sagarmatha in 1995 (for more details see the 2008 publication Pioneering Community Radio – Impacts of IPDC Assistance in Nepal.

Mongolia introduced community radio only in recent years, with UNESCO supporting the establishment of ten community radio stations in remote soums/counties targeting ethnic and disadvantaged minorities (in Tolbo, Bayannuur, Buyant and Ulaankhussoums of Bayan-Ulgii province; Tsagaannuur, Ulaan-Uul and Tsagaan-Uul of Huvsgul province; Altai of Khovd; and Zuungobi and Tessoums of Uvsaimag province - for more details see this web-story and reportage). UNESCO also provided capacity building for the establishment of CRAMO, and assistance to the development of community media friendly legislation in line with the recommendations of an assessment based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators.

Learning about these activities, the IPDC Chair Albana Shala said that: “such South-South cooperation and with a focus on long-term sustainability are examples of what the Programme would like to foster.”  

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development.