Launch of an edutainment radio channel to address child marriage in Rajasthan

8 March 2019

Marking International Women’s Day, the Government of Rajasthan and UNFPA launched a cloud-telephony based, radio channel Naubat Baaja to address issues of wellbeing, empowerment and health of adolescents. The state Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister, Ms. Mamta Bhupesh officially launched the channel and applauded this innovative initiative to tackle pressing issues around adolescents, especially young girls.

Funded by the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) Foundation, the radio channel working on the principle of missed call technology aims to leverage the rapid proliferation of mobile phones in media dark areas of Rajasthan, especially among young people. On giving a missed call on the number 7733959595, the user gets a call back with a 15 minutes long, packaged capsule of free infotainment. Along with information about government schemes, especially pertaining to adolescent reproductive health, the capsule also includes popular songs and light hearted humor such as Shaayra Bano that raises social issues through comedy and satire, Chuppi todo which includes change agents sharing their journey of overcoming social odds of child marriage and gender discrimination, and Manmauji, an energetic girl who speaks against harmful practices.    

“Although Rajasthan is progressing at a fast pace in terms of most development indicators, the state is still grappling with challenges linked to reproductive health and wellbeing, particularly among young people and women”, said Mr. Sunil Thomas Jacob, UNFPA State Programme Coordinator. As the initiative takes off, strong emphasis is being given on publicizing the mobile radio channel in districts such as Chittorgarh, Bhilwara and Dausa, where the incidence of child marriage remains high. 

As the mobile radio channel especially emphasizes on tackling child marriage, Naubat Baaja is being seen as a key advocacy tool to raise awareness about various manifestations of gender discrimination.