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Shefali Chaturvedi's blog

Making friends with Mehendi

To: The Children and Equity Network with The Communication Initiative

From Shefali Chaturvedi - BBC Media Action on radio relevant for girls aged 10 to 15 in India.

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Making friends with Mehendi

It was my first foreign trip. My first international conference. And my first chance to talk about our radio programme Khirki Mehendiwali on the international stage.

As an associate producer for BBC Media Action, I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka for the three-day Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Conference to represent our weekly show whose title means "Mehendi opens a window" and which aims to improve the health of mothers and babies in India.

The conference hall had been abuzz with discussion about modern technologies and marketing techniques, but after I hit play, everyone was drawn in by the story of Mehendi, a feisty young woman who dreams of becoming a radio DJ, and her friend Dr Anita, who offers life-saving advice to families in two Indian states, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Mehendi's story is one of reaching the unreached in India through "listener villagers" and "self-help groups" in remote "media-dark" villages with no radio or TV reception. Everyone was all ears!

As the questions poured in from the Australian, Taiwanese, Japanese and Bangladeshi broadcasters in the hall, I knew that our beloved Mehendi had found some new friends.

Children and Equity