Several community-oriented democratic media that civil society

communication studies have proved the contribution of community based media in community
development. Community radio is one of the best ways to reach excluded or
marginalized communities in targeted, useful ways, and in giving them a ‘voice’
that matters most in development communication (Dagron, 2001). Community radio
is one of the genres of community-oriented democratic media that civil society
organizations are struggling to develop for facilitating more people centered
development and as a means for empowerment at the grassroots (Pavarala & Malik,
2007). Community radio provides a mechanism for enabling individuals, groups,
and communities to tell their own stories, to share experiences and, in a
media-rich world, to become creators and contributors of media. A community
radio station is that which is operated in the community, for the community,
about the community and by the community (Tabing, 2002).


The power of community radio lies in its ability to be a voice for
everyone, including the marginalized and impoverished, offering a channel to
speak for those who don’t have anywhere else where they will be heard (Jallov
2012, p. 20). In grassroots media, information and messages are
generally produced by the same people whose concerns they represent through
direct engagement and participation. In the context of community radio the terms participation and empowerment are
discussed simultaneously and can be understood in the organizational context. Scholars
believe that notion of empowerment emphasizes local ownership and participation
which is crucial for community radio to serve as a development tool and to
fulfill its purpose of empowering individuals. Jallov (2012) defines
empowerment as processes and action
which generate the self-confidence, power and insight needed for persons and
communities to take control of their own lives (p. 23).

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 An empowered community is the key indicator of
developed society. Empowerment of individuals and communities lead to a
developed nation. Empowerment is the process of developing and building
capacities of individuals, communities to make them part of the main stream
society. Empowerment is interpreted as a process, which is made of slight and
subtle changes and involves four different dimensions: consciousness and self?confidence;
access to information, networks of people, economic resources and skills;
improvement of power position within households and community; engagement for
the empowerment of others (Mayoux, 2005; Rowlands, 1997). Gaining power means
acquiring ability and opportunity to participate and contribute in the social
development process creatively and meaningfully. Marginality affects millions
of people throughout the world. People who are marginalized have relatively
little control over their lives, and the resources available to them.


The participatory
communication approach of community radio can lead to the process of
empowerment through radio production skill development. Capacity building
programmes like sensitization workshops, community radio production and
presentation skill training workshops encourage the volunteers to participate
in programme production. Regular participation and practice in community radio
can make the participation longer, which is imperative for the survival of a
community radio station. Longer participation and continuous engagement gives
confidence of self expression and presentation. Development of technical skills
is also an important aspect of the study which makes the volunteers employable
in the community media sector.


This is to investigate that
how these skills can improve the livelihood of volunteers.
Linkage between participatory communication process
and skill development process of community a radio can be understood through
the following figure (See Fig. 1.1). The figure shows that raising
awareness through dissemination of information and imparting knowledge is a one
way communication between radio station and the community. In such communication
physical participation of participants is not required. On the other hand the
community participation reveals a two way communication which requires physical
participation. The physical participation of participants in community radio
station lead to the development of production & presentation skills and
ultimately it lead to the empowerment.










Community Radio Station




        Skill Development


/Presentation skills






Technical skills






Linkage between participatory communication and skill development process of a

empowerment through community radio has been explained in terms of an excellent
medium of communication at grass root level but is community radio limited to a
powerful medium of communication? Is it playing an important role in empowering
the village volunteers through skill development process? Does it provide
employment opportunities to the participants representing underprivileged and
marginalized groups of community? How the participatory communication processes
make the volunteers employable? These questions are the driving force behind
the study which will explore how and at what extent the community radio
initiatives in India are empowering the marginalized communities through  self expression and production skill
development process.