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Radio helps cut poverty, says Panos London

The global economic crisis will plunge a further 64 million people into extreme poverty this year *, threatening to destabilise the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As the UN calls world leaders to a 20-22 September summit on achieving the MDGs by 2015, international development charity Panos London’s information pack Wave power highlights that community radio programmes can help to cut hunger, and improve education in even the most impoverished settings.

From teenage sex, domestic violence, and agricultural advice, Wave power showcases four successful community radio projects in India, Nepal, Malawi and the Caribbean. These radio programmes have helped listeners tackle poverty, hunger, poor education and climate change. They show how powerful radio, which is targeted to the needs of its listeners, can help poor people to fight illiteracy, disease and discrimination.

Our information pack contains exclusive features written by southern journalists on MDG targets issues including maternal health and primary education. It includes the usually unheard perspectives of poor and marginalised people themselves. Information, quotes and images are available for the following projects:

  • Choti Choti Batein – youth radio dealing with child rights, adolescent health, social development and the environment in India;
  • Samajhdari – female reporters raising awareness of the links between HIV and violence against women in Nepal;
  • Mwana Alirenji – farmer-to-farmer radio addressing food security in rural Malawi
  • My Island – My Community – the first soap opera to address climate change in the Caribbean

Sean Southey, director of training organisation Media Impact ** says, “My Island, My Community is effective in encouraging lasting behaviour change as dramas help establish social norms and provide positive role models that encourage audiences to take action. Through a fictional story, reality is represented in a less confrontational manner.”

Wave power is part of Panos London’s mission to raise awareness of how open communication is essential for improving the lives of the world's poorest people by giving them a voice in their own development.

Panos London’s Executive Director, Mark Wilson says, “MDG targets won’t be met unless people’s information needs are served and they can push for change. These examples show clearly that community radio has the power to help people do that. It is a cost-effective means of giving a voice to young people and the rural poor, who are usually ignored by mainstream media.”


Notes to editors

To receive Wave power and for media enquiries, please contact: Emily May, External Relations Assistant, Panos London,, tel: 020 7239 7609

Panos London promotes the participation of poor and marginalised people in international development debates through media and communication projects. It is part of the worldwide Panos Network of independent institutes working to ensure that information is used more effectively to foster debate, pluralism and democracy.

Voices from the ground is a new Panos London website dedicated to blogs from people affected by extreme poverty. The blogs will also feature on the Guardian’s new global development website, with the aim of including more journalists and people at grassroots level talking about the MDGs that affect them.

The MDG Review Summit will take place during 20-22 September in New York and is hosted by the UN Secretary-General. The objective is to take stock of proven initiatives that made progress on the Goals and for governments to commit to a concrete action agenda to achieve the MDGs, as well as other internationally agreed development goals. The Summit will comprise six plenary meetings and six closed roundtable sessions over the course of three days. For further information, visit

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
  • Goal 5: Improve maternal health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

* Beyond the Financial Crisis, Panos London media brief, September 2010

** Media Impact works with governments, non-governmental organisations and foundations on media and social marketing campaigns in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, environmental conservation and sustainable development, and human rights and democracy

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