Strong communication and ensuring communications rights is an essential part of the development process. Realizing the same fact RDRS Bangladesh has established ‘Radio Chilmari’ at Chilamari in Kurigram District, one of the most vulnerable area, where RDRS is working . The radio went on air from January 2012. The main goal of Radio Chilmari is ‘empowering marginalized community, especially of the char (sandbar islands) areas’.Poor and geographically vulnerable people who live mainly in sandbar islands with very little access to the mainstream broadcast media will benefit from the broadcast of the Radio.
Radio Chilmari focuses on different development issues giving emphasis on community necessity. The programs include reducing the risk of natural disasters, climate change, agriculture for food security, health, education, women and child welfare, youth development, development news, market price etc. The simple language and local dialect is given priority in the program. It can be an effective media tool for advocacy, as it is much easier to draw people’s attention and focus on the issues through the radio. It can play a quick and effective role in emergency response.
At the moments Radio Chilmari is broadcasting its program for 2 hrs a day, which will be increased gradually. It has formed 85 listeners’ clubs and 3 Children’s clubs so far and they are actively participating in the radio program (discussion, performing, event organizing etc). There are a total of 14 Community radios in Bangladesh. Radio Chilmari, operated by RDRS, is the only community radio station in Rangpur Division.