Not only have new houses appeared on the scenes of destruction, so have schools, a meunasah (community building) and a health center. What makes the village special though, is its new radio station...
Aceh, Indonesia, November 23, 2006 – Two years after the tsunami, rehabilitation and reconstruction is slowly changing the face of devastated areas in Aceh including Meunasah Kedee village in Aceh Besar. Not only have new houses appeared on the scenes of destruction, so have schools, a meunasah (community building) and a health center. What makes the village special though, is its new radio station.
Youth activists and MKe FM staff
Appropriately, MKe FM (MKe: Meunasah Kedee) broadcasts all day from the reconstructed community building on 107.8 FM.
This ARRnet (Aceh Reconstruction Radio Network) member radio gives a new purpose to the community. Says Adi, 25, head of MKe radio: “This radio has helped us heal by giving us something to do after the tsunami.”
With eight announcers, the station reaches eight villages - not just with songs and entertainment programs but important information on the reconstruction process. “From the start I have used this radio to announce village meetings,” he says and the head of the village Syahrizal, agrees “it has been a most effective means of invitation.”
Another MKe announcer, Rika, says “Some NGOs working on rebuilding this area have also used our service to inform villagers about aid donation,” and there is another plus for her, “I get to meet new friends, people recognize us as radio announcers. we are now quite famous! ” Most of the radio crew are youth activists devoting their spare time after studies or work to developing programs. In the early days, the station broadcasted talk shows about sex among youth and invited a psychologist to discuss behavior changes after a trauma. “We also have special programs for children in the morning, it is not only adults who suffered from the tsunami” Adi explains. During the last Ramadan, the radio had special talk shows with religious leaders as the impact of Syariah is a key factor in Aceh today.
Talk show in MKe FM
ARRnet, funded by the Japan Social Development Fund, has built 19 community radios to date; five are under the umbrella of its earlier avatar AERnet (The Emergency Radio Network). AERnet was established soon after the tsunami to meet people’s information and communication needs. In 2007, some 15-20 new radio stations are planned to strengthen the link between donor and the community.
Network website in Bahasa Indonesia
Community building activities are a direct result of the work of radio stations in other areas too. A community expo was reported by Kuala Gigieng FM (Baitussalam sub-district), a festival of children’s singing was reported by Suara Ukhuwah FM (Masjid Raya sub-district), and a special program on aid distribution to victims living in barracks was reported by Sukma FM (Suka Makmur sub-district).
In Sukma FM, Tampok Blang village, Suka Makmur sub-district, a PEKKA member is the announcer. PEKKA, an empowerment program for single women who are heads of their households, is funded by the Japan Social Development Fund and administered by the World Bank. “This radio helps build the network of women members, we broadcast information on meetings and activities that build leadership – we even used it once to distribute questionnaires to PEKKA members in this district about their program interest,” says Maryani (30), PEKKA member who is also a radio announcer.
“This radio has helped us heal by giving us something to do after the tsunami...”
Adi, 25, head of Mke Radio
In the near future, the Bank is planning to develop training in the use of radio and production of different types of programs and formats for village facilitators working in projects such as KDP, RALAS, SPADA and UPP.
COMBINE is the local NGO that implements the community radio program in Aceh and Nias. They are now starting to provide training and education to improve community capacity in operating community radios in the village. “We now have two main focuses, radio journalism and programming. We hope, will improve broadcast quality and the substance of our programs,” says Henky Satrio, ARRnet program manager.
PEKKA members who actively join
Sukma FM Radio
“Through this radio, we also hope to facilitate a two way dialogue between communities and aid organizations,” says Imam Prakoso, Director of COMBINE.