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Bangladesh Hatiya: Finally Started! Radio Sagor Dwip

Long-awaited community radio station has finally marked the official opening in Hatiya island, Bangladesh.
Hatiya island is formed by alluvium that soil is carried by running water and accumulated. Because of this, Hatiya is as low as around five to six meters of its sea level, which makes the island vulnerable to cyclone. Adding to this, infrastructure is underdeveloped in this area. Electricity is accessible only in the central part of the island. Despite disadvantaged condition, approximately 300,000 people are living in Hatiya island. Nevertheless, major radios and TVs mainly broadcast news relevant to the people in the capital, Dhaka, and it’s very rare to find news about Hatiya. Therefore, people in Hatiya put great hopes in community radio to bring local news to them.
As of December 2015, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, safety level in Bangladesh was level 2; discontinuation of non-essential travel. Under such a circumstance, our travel wasn’t allowed until last minutes, but we were fortunate to be able to eventually travel. Inauguration ceremony was held on November 12th with BHN president’s participation.

It was such an exciting news for people in Hatiya that Home Minister and Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh will be attending the ceremony. With no VIPs foreseen to be present at the ceremony, it was initially planned to be a plain one, but now the story became different. People got suddenly busy to clean around the village and to welcome VIPs with posters and flags.
The ceremony under heavy guard started with speeches of Home Minister, Secretary of Information and Chief Representative of JICA Bangladesh. After that, official opening of Radio Sagor Dwip was announced. A number of villagers gathered to see this commemorable scene.

Along with Inauguration Ceremony, Signing Ceremony of Equipment Delivery was also held. From now on, Local partner NGO, DUS, takes responsibilities on proper use and maintenance of the antenna tower, broadcasting equipment and solar panels.

Radio Sagor Dwip is finally launched after a preparation period of a year and half, but this is the real start for the project. We continue working with local volunteers to bring quality information and to gain confidence from villagers with the aim of saving lives in disasters.

Tomoko Uchiyama
Project Coordinator
English translation by Mami Takahashi
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