Community connections deep in the Heart of Borneo

Posted on 21 February 2013

WWF in Muller Schwaner area installed a community radio in Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan. A non-commercial radio station provides services to local community by distributing local information around them. Now 8 villages are within the outreach, but the radio needs support to build and maintain the capacity of the local community to run the radio for their benefits.
Difficult access in several villages in Gunung Mas District, Central Kalimantan has made it an expensive transportation for people in those places. Poor infrastructure services can cause social and communication isolation, where access to media and news streams is limited. As an effort to bridge gap of information, WWF-Indonesia Central Kalimantan established community radio "Sandukui FM", a non-commercial radio station, in Tumbang Napoi, Miri Manasa Subdistrict. The radio has been airing since January 2012 within frequency 102 FM.

The name "Sandukui" itself is taken from a hill in the Muller mountain range. Powered by 100 watt transmitter, the radio iniatially reached out three villages in Gunung Mas District, Rangan Hiran, Mesukih and Harowu. Now in 2013, the radio has been able to cover now eight villages with two transmitters placed in Rangan Hiran and Mesukih.

After two years in operation, Sandukui FM is still struggling to survive. In January, WWF visited some villages to familiarise the radio to local community, explaining the advantange and how community can maximise the benefit of the radio to help distribute local information around them.

"Not only to fulfill the information needs, the locally-produced content that is relevant to their culture and daily lives. Sandukui FM is also expected to become effective media to educate the public, especially local community about enviroment." said Nina Nuraisyiah, Communications Coordinator of WWF-Indonesia Central Kalimantan Program.

In Tumbang Apoi, the community enthusiastically welcome the presence of Sandukui FM community radio. The young people were actively participated in the first radio broadcast training held by WWF-Indonesia and its partners of Central Kalimantan Communications Network on various basic skills, from broadcast techniques and how to establish a program or material.

"Community is really supportive. They have early-started announcers who are really interested to learn more about radio broadcast. They discussed content of radio program they want and believe that it is the required content. However they still need to leverage their new skill," said Erwan Asbun, a local professional announcer who assists the establishment of Radio Sandukui FM.

Support is needed to build long-term capacity such as provision of training on the basic electronic skill, the how-to-become announcer, including creating good, fun, educational radio production, and how to do self-fundraising for daily running cost.

Community radio station is limited in raising funds especially from advertising or sponsorship, therefore they have to be creative and equipped with necessary knowledge to source the potential funding properly.

Sandukui FM is getting assistance from WWF Central Kalimantan communications unit to develop program and material. Everyday, the radio will be airing from 6am to 9am, and from 5pm to 9pm. The time arrangement is basically run on the electric availability sourcing fully from solar power.

Sandukui FM is not the first WWF-initiated community radio. Previously, more than two years ago, WWF Central Kalimantan assisted the establishment in the Sebangau NP area, Mendawai FM and Sebangau Kuala FM.

"We also encourage local community to produce their own radio program, currently WWF assists production of PSA, radio drama, and other for the radio to deliver the environment message. It is hoped that the with the presence of the radio, building awareness of environment will be more effective," Nina added.
Sandukui FM radio station
© WWF-Indonesia / Saipul SIAGIAN
The mountains area of Muller Schwaner, in Central Kalimantan
© WWF-Indonesia / Masayu VINANDA
WWF Finland team when visiting Sandukui FM. WWF Finland supports the non-commercial radio station as a bridge of communications for people in the area.
© WWF-Indonesia / Saipul SIAGIAN