Radio to the Rescue

Friday 12 February 2021

More than 60% of Nepal’s household own a radio set (Nepal Media Survey 2019), the inclination towards radio listening has further increased post-COVID, as people in the hardest to reach communities consider radio to be trustworthy in terms of news, views and opinions related to COVID-19. A critical review of media habits also proves a shift in radio listening, as people prefer individual radio listening to be more effective than group listening. Similarly, with the evolution of information technology, most people listen to the radio through their mobile phones. Understanding the evolution of radio listening, and its influence during humanitarian crisis, Save the Children activated a series of radio messages and shows to educate, inform, and inspire communities, especially children and parents to understand the concept of home-based learning, and sensitize caregivers of their critical role in continuation of education even during the pandemic, including imparting crucial health messages.  



Public Service Announcements (PSAs) were produced in close coordination with the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MoEST) and the Education Cluster to advocate for the continuation of learning and education during the pandemic. The PSAs were designed to provide critical skills and knowledge on the concept of education at home, positive parenting skills, and life-skills for children and parents to cope with the ever-changing fluid situation, which has triggered fear and anxiety in many. Messages in Maithili, Awadhi and Nepali languages were disseminated through local and national FM stations, reaching to approximately 15 million listeners. Similarly, Save the Children also partnered with the Community Information Center (CIN) to broadcast the messages through 300 community FM stations to strengthen reach, resonance, and impact of the messages.  


Identifying the need to address the critical learning gap in children, and sensitizing both stakeholders and caregivers about their role to continue education through innovative digital tools and approaches, Save the Children developed a series of ‘radio-based learnings’ aired through national and local FM stations. The radio-based learnings were curated in the form of ‘radio schools’ led by local teachers and media practitioners with technical backstopping from Save the Children. The radio schools developed in local languages included chapters on early childhood care and development, early grade learning, catch-up classes from primary to secondary school students, Secondary Education Examination (SEE) preparation classes, and information on caregiving and positive parenting. 


Early Literacy and Math (ELM) at Home : 10 radio sessions targeted to children age 3 to 5 years was developed by Save the Children. The radio episodes aired from local FM stations of Jajarkot, Saptari, Sarlahi, and Mahottari are designed to strengthen early literacy and math skills in children by using innovative and locally available resources. The radio series are available in both Nepali and Maithali.  

“Hamro School” : Radio series, ‘Hamro School’ targeted to parents and caregivers to hone their skills and knowledge on step-wise self-learning materials to continue children’s education at home was produced and aired in line to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology/ Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (MoEST/CEHRD) and Nepal Education Cluster endorsed self-learning materials. The radio series was piloted by Radio Roshi in Kavre, covering 15 adjoining districts. A total of 135 radio lessons were produced for grades 1 to 3 covering 405 activities.  

“Ramaundai Sikdai” : ‘Ramaundai Sikdai’ – an edutainment based educational radio program to build the capacity of parents and caregivers in conducting various family learning activities to support their children’s learning and wellbeing at home was produced by Save the Children. A total of 10 radio programs was designed and produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) was aired in 300 + community FM stations via Community Information Network (CIN). 

Radio series for parents having 0-3 years old child: A specialized radio series targeted to parents and caregivers of 0-3 years old children was developed under the ‘Shubhaaramha’ project in Kalikot. The radio series included integrated messaging on early stimulation, health and nutrition, and positive parenting. Through a co-creation process, the program content was designed by trained social mobilizers and local FM producers, and was aired twice a week to strengthen reach, resonance, and impact.  

“Bal Chautari”: From 17 April 2020, Save the Children supported the production and airing of Bal Chautari, a weekly radio show aired from FM stations in Karnali. Created with child friendly format in mind, it fostered children’s creativity while imparting messages of COVID-19, violence against children, and mental health of children, among others. So far, 79 episodes have been aired.  


“Swastha Rupantaran” 

To continue the project during the unprecedented situation brought on by the pandemic, Save the Children explored alternative ways for project continuity and the radio was identified as one of the most effective mediums for project adaptation and continuity. ‘Swastha Rupantaran’ (or, Healthy Transition), a 15-minute capsule model radio drama series based on the Healthy Transition for Nepali Youth curriculum was produced focusing on humanized narratives and commentaries on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues, twinned with COVID-19 messages to make the program more relevant and contextual. These capsule-based radio dramas were aired from local FM stations of project working areas and cascaded to adolescent and young women groups of the project to further diffuse the content, and to initiate evidence-based discussions and dialogues on SRHR topics.  

Download learning document on Save the Children's education adaptation and innovation during COVID-19 here

Download learning document on Swastha Rupantaran here