Indigenous people communicate through community radio installed by Saúde e Alegria

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April 26, 2022 / Education, Culture and Communication / Community Networks

Located in the Tapajós Arapiuns Extractive Reserve, the Solimões village started broadcasting information during local programming with community news, music, and bulletins. The region is part of the Connecting the Disconnected project, which in Brazil is carried out by Saúde e Alegria and encompasses five countries coordinated by the Association for Progressive Communications

“I am very happy with life. I thought I wouldn’t see this in my village” – said Maria Suzete, a shaman from the Solimões village, during the first transmission of the region’s community radio. Solimões has 55 families and 185 inhabitants who can now communicate via Modulated Frequency (FM) waves within one kilometer.

With a power of 15 watts, the radio station installed last Saturday (April 23) is the fulfillment of a long-time desire of the Kumaruara families, who now tune in to 88.0 FM, according to Jardson Assunção, President of the Solimões village Association: “It is a great pleasure to receive this community radio in our village. We started with a newspaper in 2004 with Saúde e Alegria, which has always given us support in communication”.

The village houses the indigenous school of the Solimões Village, Nossa Senhora das Graças, which offers kindergarten through ninth grade and indigenous modular education. In the school, since they are children, the children are stimulated to use technology to defend their territory. For the unit’s manager, Aurenice Fernandes, integrating the initiative made it possible to fulfill a long-held dream of the residents: “It was our dream to have a community radio station. We have several young people who have already worked with community radios in other communities” – she said.

Before installing the equipment: sound table, two microphones, cables, headphones, microphone support, speaker and return, and FM 15 watts transmitter with antenna, the technician Juscelino Filho held a Workshop on Community Management and Community Radio.

In the training, they reflected on communication, the context of community radios in Brazil, media monopoly, social networks and communication, freedom of expression and fake news, citizenship, radio programming and script, and criteria for choosing the group responsible for the radio. The highlight of the meeting was the broadcasting of the first live program of Solimões FM Community Radio: “This is the moment to celebrate the donation term” – commented Juscelino.

Leaders participated in the community radio workshop in the village and first screening. Photos: Dailon Alves/ Solimões village.

Community Networks

The project “Connecting the Disconnected”, promoted by the organizations APC and Rhizomatica and executed in Brazil by Projeto Saúde e Alegria, has as its pillar for education and training the School of Community Networks in the Amazon, which seeks to connect disconnected communities through the development of models, capabilities and forms of sustainability for populations with a focus on technical assistance, training, advice for advocacy and community mobilization.

The school will have 21 students in three states of the Legal Amazon (Acre, Amazonas and Pará). Classes will start in June 2022, based on thematic contents collectively designed to strengthen the community networks involved.

The selected communities that have members who will take part in the training are: in Pará, the projects Ciência Cidadã in Aldeia Solimões and Guardiöes do Bem Viver in PAE Lago Grande – both in the municipality of Santarém – and the Rede Águas do Cuidar/ Casa Preta in Ilha de Caratateua, greater Belém. In the state of Amazonas, the Marajaí Village, municipality of Alvarães – Middle Solimões; the Formigueiro Group of Vila de Lindóia in Itacoatiara; and the Wayuri Network in São Gabriel da Cachoeira. In Acre, the Puyanawa Village in Mâncio Lima.

The board of experts is formed by Beatriz Tibiriçá (General Coordinator, Coletivo Digital), Georgia Nicolau (Director of Projects and Partnerships Pro Comum), Jader Gama (Researcher – UFPA), Doriedson Almeida (Professor – UFOPA), Karina Yamamoto (Researcher – USP and Jeduca), Guilherme Gitahy de Figueiredo (Professor UEA – Tefé – AM) and Carlos Afonso (Executive Director – NUPEF Institute).

“This project seeks to strengthen community communication initiatives such as community radios, telecenters, public and free internet access points in the communities for a better and more qualified use for health, education, and family agriculture. It indicates an accumulation of experiences of PSA, where these communities will exchange with other institutions that integrate the project in the Amazon. This project is part of an initiative executed in five countries, supported by the Association for Progressive Communications” – clarified PSA’s coordinator, Paulo Lima.

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