Henvalvani Community Radio
The roots of Henvalvani Community Radio, Chamba, were laid in September 2001 when a group of young rural youth came together in an attempt to find a distinct voice of their own. The Himalaya Trust, an NGO based in Dehradun conducted a radio training with the group, teaching them basics of recordings, specially focused on highlighting the needs of their local communities. For the groups members, making topical programs and airing them back in the hill villages in their vicinity was a first step towards an information revolution, and they have never looked back since.
Not having any steady platform to air back their programs from, initially Henvalvani (or the voice of Henval, a name derived from the valley where the initiative is located) used to narrowcast its programs, its members traveling from village to village encouraging people to come and listen, contribute or join in the discussions. Recently, Henvalvani has also begun to broadcast some of its programs on satellite radio World Space (Asiadev channel) and has distributed digital radio sets to some villages in an attempt to build steady listenership (this was done through collaboration with another development agency). The All India Radio, Najibabad has also aired some of their community- based programs, thus ensuring a larger reach to the group. In 2006, Henvalvani set up its own low cost studio in Chamba and today about twelve young members work out of this space.
Since its inception, Henvalvani has worked on various kinds of programs, all contextual and community centric in nature like awareness campaigns, programs promoting local talents or documenting traditional practices, environmental history and people’s movements in the valley, health capsules, stories of migration to the cities and so on. In partnership with a local NGO of the area, ASTHA, Henvalvani has also organized community melas and youth programs, in an attempt to bring together diverse voices of the hills on one common platform.
Its members have participated in several trainings and meetings on community media in and outside of India. Committed to spreading the community media movement in the country, some of its members have also shared their own skills and knowledge with communities elsewhere by conducting trainings and workshops for other radio enthusiasts.