UNICEF’s programme on Early Childhood Development (ECD) or Aarambh is an intervention that focuses on disseminating messages that positively influence early years of childhood and nutritional behavior in communities. As community radios are a hyper-local medium they engage with the community directly. The messages conveyed through radio programmes are centered on the concerns of the community. In an attempt to engage with communities, UNICEF Maharashtra and SMART have worked in partnership with 10 community radio stations across seven districts in Maharashtra to promote ECD.
10 community radio stations involved were: Aurangabad- MGM Radio, Ahmednagar: Radio Nagar, KVK Pravara, Jalgaon: Radio Manbhavan, Nandurbar: Vikas Bharti, Nashik: Radio Namkeen, Radio Vishwas, Washim: Swaranant CRS, Radio Vatsagulm and Wardha: Radio Wardha
Extensive research and development were conducted to create scripts based on the themes and key messages focused on early childhood development and nutrition. Capacity-building workshops were held in Mumbai from June 22–25, 2022 for representatives from the 13 community radio stations, where they were trained by experts from UNICEF and Aarambh on early childhood development and nutrition, content development, community engagement, and monitoring of related issues.
As a result of these efforts made through radio programs, communities were successfully engaged and dialogues on early childhood development were successfully initiated.