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Prometheus International in Nepal
This is a quick report on our participation in the AMARC Conference which just wrapped up yesterday. AMARC is the World Association of Community Broadcasters, and a few hundred of us met for the past 6 days. I have barely ever been out of the United States, and I am still reeling from the thousands of solar panels on the rooftops, a city without stoplights where it takes three police to manage a single intersection at rush hour, and the cute monkeys that climb through the dumpsters outside the temples...
The gathering was like being in the United Nations, with simultaneous translation in English, Spanish, French and Nepali. I met some incredible broadcasters from every corner of the globe, and learned just how small a part the US is of the world community radio movement. There are thousands of stations around the world, and they are on the move in the service of the social movements against war, domination, and corruption.
Prometheus managed to purchase and bring to Nepal two transmitter kits, a compressor/limiter kit, and a small amplifier, to be assembled during the conference and given away to stations in Asia. Through several days of hard work, several dozen people had a hand in constructing this equipment. We partnered with Vickram Krishna of Radiophony.com, an India based organization which builds tiny (50 milliwatt), unlicensed transmitters for villages for $2 worth of all locally available parts.
The equipment was given to women representing two groups. The first was given to Anchal Gardia, of Jan Jagrity Kendra. This group is a human rights advocacy and social service organization for many villages in the Raipur region of India, and the transmitter will be used in one of the vilages. They are best known for their work freeing and rehabilitating bonded laborers.
The other woman was Manisha Aryal, from the radio production organization Antenna in Kathmandu Nepal. Antenna produces news, public affairas and radio drama for the state radio network of Nepal. They will use the transmitter for training for now, but one day hope to get one of Nepal's very hard to obtain radio licenses.
A compressor limiter was also built, and will be given to Koshi FM, a community radio station about 300 km outside of Kathmandu.
We also want to raise money for equipment for groups who can not afford to buy their own, and acct as a clearing house for donated gear.
I found that there are many people with great skill working in these places, but even the most commonly available parts available in the United States are kept out of their markets with 100% and 200% import tarrifs! Western volunteers can provide material aid, intellectual exchange, technical skills for groups that do not yet have them, and a personal connection to people in the resource rich United states.