1. Workshop at the Second national Rural Youth Convention, Bhilwara (Rajasthan) on February 21-22, 2009
The Inclusive Media for Change team participated in the two-day Second National Rural Youth Convention organised by the MKSS Rajasthan, School for Democracy, Josh (New Delhi), Rojgaar va Soochna Ka Adhikar Abhiyan and Loktantrashala. It was held in Sanmati Vatika, Bhilwara, Rajasthan (almost 505 km. away from Delhi) on 21st and 22nd February, 2009. Participants came from different parts of India (both rural and urban), and also from abroad (New York City, United States, Germany et al) with commitment to rural concerns. The presence of students from reputed colleges and universities such as Lady Shri Ram College, IIM Indore, London School of Economics etc. and youth groups from remote Rajasthan villages and Delhi slums made the Convention a special one.
The convention was divided into 12 sessions on the following themes: RTI and Youth, NREGA, Dalit, Adivasis and Migrant Labourers, Election Inspection, Law, Justice and Police Force, Forest Rights, Right to Education, Gender, Globalisation, Agrarian Distress and Displacement, Career, Security, Terrorism and Minority and Human Rights, Media, Mask and Puppet, Drama, Film and Photography, Cartoon and Posters, Dance, and Karate.
The workshop on media was taken by the Inclusive Media for Change (im4change) team of Vipul Mudgal and Shambhu Ghatak. The participants were rural and provincial reporters from Bhiwara and other parts of Rajasthan and civil society activists. The workshop started with a discussion on the relationship between media and democracy, India’s internal emergency and elections. It subsequently moved to a session on public and political sphere, PR and spin industry. There were also presentations by Bhanwar Meghwal and Pramod Tiwari. The workshop ended with a long question answer session in which local journalists and civil society activists discussed problems faced by them with the im4change team. The participants of the session coined a slogan: ‘Media Ko Khabar Den, Media Ki Khabar Le’ to signify citizens’ monitoring of the media.
2. Media workshop and Interactive Session with Pratham Associates at Solan (Himachal Pradesh) on June 19-20, 2009
The Inclusive Media team was invited by the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) team of the education NGO Pratham to conduct a session with about 40 of their associates whose job is to conduct quality of education surveys at rural schools throughout the country in order to determine the ground reality about the standards of learning in rural schools. The associates were mainly graduates and post graduates and were drawn from colleges and universities all over India.
The Inclusive Media team of Vipul Mudgal and Chandan Shrivastawa spent two days with the ASER associates led by Dr. Rukmini Banerjee and Vasundhara Chaauhan at Solan in Himachal Pradesh. The schools visited by the team were also in the outskirts of district Solan. The main media workshop continued for several hours in which a presentation was given by the Inclusive Media fellows, followed by an extremely animated question-answer session. In the end the associates were given the tasks of writing some ‘real stories’ about the ‘real people’ they interacted with so as to create a resource bank of real-life examples of those who are making a difference in rural India against all odds. Some of the earlier write ups by the associates, which were shared with the Inclusive Media team by the senior ASER staff, were also discussed separately to see if they could be used for propagating the issues concerning rural education. The process of exchange with ASER continues.
3. Vividha rural reporter workshop at the Barefoot College, Tilonia, Ajmer (Rajasthan) on July 15-29, 2009
A Rural Reporters Fellowship Programme in the form of workshop was organized by Vividha in association with UNDP, MKSS and Im4change. Four different sessions spread over two days were taken by the Inclusive Media team comprising Vipul Mudgal, Chandan Shrivastawa and Shambhu Ghatak. The focus of the workshop was rural empowerment and MDGs.
The workshop was led by Mamta Jaitley, the head of Vividha feature agency and the presentations included Aruna Roy and Nikhil De from the MKSS, Sriniwasan Vasu from the barefoot College, SWRC, Tilonia, Shikha Wadhwa and Radhika Kaul from UNICEF and UNDP, respectively, among others. The im4change team stuck to their objective of making the participants aware of many ways in which news reports about development, citizens’ participation and intervention can be made readable and how to sell them to the editors of regional papers. Most participants were apprentices working with social or media organizations with rich experience of participating in peoples’ movements.