Radio–over–phone ‘Gramvani’ aims to eliminate child marriage

‘Gramvani’ – a radio–over–phone platform in rural hinterland of Bihar and Jharkhand aims to set a perfect example of technology leading to social change, more specifically eliminate the social evil of child marriage.

Breakthrough, a global human rights organisation came up with the project as part of its ‘Nation Against Child Marriage’ campaign in August 2013.

Encouraged by the response during its pilot stage running, the organisation has reintroduced the popular radio–tie up in Jharkhand and Bihar from January to March this year.

Built on an interactive voice response system, ‘Gramvani’ allows people to call into a number and leave a message about their community or listen to messages left by others.

Shobha S V, the project’s multimedia manager says the project is aimed at involving the people in a dialogue that is crucial for bringing in any social change.

“In tune with how technology can be used to bring about social change by reaching wide sections of people, we have designed the mobile radio Gramvani that caters to the rural populace of Jharkhand, Bihar and other areas.

“It is important to engage people to bring about any real change. Through this start up, they listen to the various audio interviews, radio drama and discussion programs related to child marriage. They can also record their suggestions and queries and get back to us, thus making the conversation two–way and more effective,” she explains.

Such a program comes in the wake of a recent report by Unicef stating that in South Asia, nearly half the number of girls who married early belonged to India. The figures claim that twenty–three million girls in India face the imminent threat of child marriage.

Child marriage in the country has been estimated to be decreasing at less than one per cent a year.

Working on a range of issues like health, infant mortality agriculture, domestic violence and gender issue, ‘Jharkhand Mobile Vani’ or ‘Gramvani’ aims to expand its ambit of broadcast and is currently working on a mechanism that allows the system to report cases of child marriage to the authority.PTI

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