Khotakpa, Yalang and Denchi Community Radio in Bhutan
Before the community radio was established, the village of Khotakpa was already popular with many youth, women and elders in the area. They visited daily to access resources and share information about local events at the READ Center. But they also raised concerns about the lack of media outlets and relevant, timely information, things they needed to protect their crops from weather damage or learn more about national political conversations.
With this in mind, the community proposed a radio station as a solution to meet the community-wide needs for accessible education, essential health and safety information, broader community interaction, and collective problem solving in Khotakpa.
With funding from Swiss Development Cooperation, and in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Communications, members of the village established the community radio program. READ supported their efforts by providing the equipment and training necessary to launch and run a local radio station. Now, the ownership and management of the community radio station is by the community, for the community, with youth leading the charge on daily programming.
The radio station has been a great success since its installation in 2016.
Memay Penjor, one of the station’s many fans, told Business Bhutan, “I can’t imagine my life without the radio; for now it is my only companion. Had there been no radio, I would have lost my mind.”
KYD 91.1 FM community radio has become a powerful tool to connect remote villagers with the information they need when they need it most. The station reaches over nine neighboring villages including over 500 households in some of the most remote regions of Bhutan. It’s a channel for relevant education about local agricultural and health issues, a platform for sharing timely information widely, promoting vibrant public debate, and revitalizing Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan.
“With the help of the radio, we are able to get information on various issues and important messages immediately,” commented another villager, Dawa Gyaltshen
Now, the radio station is putting practices in place to become financially self-sustaining as it continues to distribute practical information to the community, promote social cohesion, and support efforts to preserve traditional music, language, and other cultural jewels.