Addressing taboo issues using radio – “Chatting with My Best Friend”

EAI’s award-winning “Chatting With My Best Friend” radio program provides information and support to Nepalese youth on pressing issuees. Orlando Bloom played a guest role on the award-winning program. The show was featured CNN.

A Project of
Nepal

Listening to your program and going through the booklet you sent me, I have felt a lot of changes in my life. To solve my upcoming problems, I go through my life skills booklet and find out how I can be successful and differentiate right from wrong. I have not only solved my own problems but have also tried to solve problems arising among my friends. I have given the booklet that I received from you to my friends as well and I also shared stickers with them. They say that the “Saathi Sanga Manka Kura” program has made a big impact in our lives and in our way of thinking as well.”

– Excerpt From a Listener Letter

Every week, more than 7.2 million youth in Nepal turned to their friends on the radio program Chatting with My Best Friend (Saathi Sanga Manka Kura), making it one of the top five most popular radio programs in the country. This program empowered youth provided them with crucial information about health, livelihoods, economic opportunities, and basic life skills to deal with the difficult issues they face in their daily lives.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES:

The young hosts’ frank youth-to-youth on-air discussions about the realities and responsibilities of adolescence helped young people to rise above daily conflicts, misguided expectations, and peer pressure. Teenage listeners – often with no other sources of reliable information – learn skills for negotiating relationships, continuing their education, HIV/AIDS prevention, STDs, pre-marital pregnancies, trafficking, vocational training, and grappling with issues related to Nepal’s conflict and peace restoration.

Each of the weekly hour-long broadcasts highlighted the story of a teen grappling with a particular issue such as gender or caste discrimination, girls’ education, conflict, sexual and reproductive health, or careers. Through discussions between the hosts, short serial dramas, and interviews with experts, listeners gain the knowledge and support to make informed decisions.

Inspired by the radio show, listening clubs also conduct their own activities, such as HIV/AIDS training and prevention, or programs on gender discrimination and caste discrimination in collaboration with local health centers and village development committees. These clubs exemplify how Nepali youth are positively changing their behaviors to live healthier and more productive lives.

The Indreni Bal Club from eastern Nepal was brave enough to start a campaign where young members instigate informal conversations in public places, like bus stops and public water fountains, on issues like safe sex, the importance of reproductive health, and other topics they learned about from Chatting with My Best Friend. The network of listener clubs has started the publication of regional bulletins and national magazines to promote the many club activities carried out all over Nepal.

"Many people in our country don't even know what AIDS is. They've never even heard of it. So how can we expect them to know about the safety measures?"

Impact & Reach of this Project

8,000

letters received only in 2005

6 Million

Nepalese youth (under 29) followed the program

1,200+

formally organized listening clubs throughout the country

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