Empowering People @ the Edge of Information

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An example of a ‘barefoot innovator’ is Raghav Mahto from Vaishali district in Bihar. Only a second grade pass, Mahto was inspired by a cordless microphone to create an FM radio transmitter with which he transmitted for fi ve years from his electronics repair shop, pioneering the concept of community radio with cheap broadcast equipment, empowering the rural masses. Mahato’s station was shut down by the authorities when they realized that he did not have a licence.

The Digital Empowerment Foundation brought Mahato to Delhi, put him through an ICT and computer training programme, and provided him with equipment to run a community information centre. Meanwhile, the concept of community radio was picking up and the Barefoot College (BFC) in Tilonia village in Ajmer district commissioned Mahato to set up a low cost studio, making cheap FM radios, and putting together the digital infrastructure to run a station. Mahato has digitized BFC’s records of folk music, art, and culture. Along with these, he has recorded programmes of local relevance, the Right to Information Act, and the National Rural Employment Scheme. Know more

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