Popular Media & Folk Theatre

“The jury was impressed by Rupantar’s creative approach of using cultural performances to address sensitive social issues. Rupantar is truly working at the grassroots – mobilizing the most vulnerable in Bangladesh, including women and youth – to help build a vibrant democracy.”

                                                                                                                              – Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada and Chair of the Global Pluralism Award Jury.

In 1995 Rupantar launched popular media and folk theatre program by reviving folk and cultural heritage. Through this program the organization’s first field activities commenced in Khulna and Bagerhat districts. Rupantar, as a pioneer has been working for restoring and cultural heritage by observing the traditional medium of popular methods, once that was practiced by the traditional healers among the less educated. This was controlled by groups that oppressed women and suppressed human rights. Now, Rupantar’ is the largest awareness and social mobilization organization in Bangladesh performing cultural activities mainly theaters and popular folk music to address pressing social issues. The program carries out interactive communication through stage performances with target audience.

The connection between culture and development works at least in three ways Rupantar. First, cultural diversity can be used as a national asset for developing the tourism industry. It is essential to restore and preserve heritage, various traditions, folk songs, dances, dramas, theatre and more. Second, culture can be used as a means of awareness building among people, especially among disadvantage people through theater, folk songs and other indigenous forms and Third, culture can be used to counter the negative forces or impacts that prevail as social customs, norms and beliefs.

AIM : The program aims to connect culture and development for communicating social messages to masses.

OBJECTIVE : We use cultural platform to disseminate various social issues to enable the grassroots people to access to information and claim their rights.

FOCUS :The program focuses on grassroots theatre approach for development called development communication in short Dev Com method. Dev Com method depicts community life, cultural, beliefs, and attitudes with development pressing issues related to child marriage, domestic violence, sexual harassments, community learning, violence against women, human rights and more within a cultural framework.

PROCESS : The process of performances starts with location selection then disseminating social messages performance through advertisement. Social messages and performances depends on communities’ demand on folk forms. The interaction with audiences are carried out through quiz competition, award and leaflet distribution. At the end of each performance, feedback is taken on the learning’s from performances of a social messages.

STRATEGIC APPROACHES:

  • We address need based communication
  • We make clarify the ideas before communication
  • We examine the purpose of each communication
  • We bring into account the access, mindfulness on the local context and issues during communication
  • We are inclusive and encourage collective and target group participation
  • We strive to use credible actors and action
  • Identifying potential barriers

HIGHLIGHTS:

Since 1996 till 2023

  • 200 Potsong productions were carried out were produced with 11,383 performances
  • We have reached 11,290,857 audiences through Potsong performance
  • 106 drama production were carried out, with 11,155 performances
  • We have reached 11,196,502 audiences with our dramas

 

Our current project

Uphold community voice to public health-related policy and practice in Bangladesh and Nepal

It is an exchange project involving Bangladeshi youth volunteers from Community Radio Stations (CRs) exchanging experiences and skills of Bangladesh public health facility in Nepal for 14 months including training and follow-up. Similarly, Nepali youth volunteers exchanging experiences of Nepal’s public health facility experience in Bangladesh. The goal of the project is to transfer knowledge and skill to strengthen and deliver better services to local community. The objective is to send and receive young people on work placements between partners in different countries to learn and share knowledge and skills.

The first round of first phase of exchange project started on 1 February 2017 and it phased out successful through completing round 1, 2 and 3. The second phase of round 3 started on 1 February, 2023 and will end on 31 March, 2024.

Our reach

  • Beneficiaries 7,298,885 with 3,967,385 direct and indirect 3,331,500 beneficiaries. (The numbers are collected by the counted of radio listeners)

Our stakeholders

  •  Rupantar, Bangladesh as coordinating partner and AMARC-AP, Nepal as Partner organization.

Partner

  • Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (Norec)

Highlights

  • Through Norec exchange program, 4 participants learnt the different methods on productions of radio programs and Public Service Announcement (PSA).
  • The participants from Bangladesh and Nepal have completed 40 health and hygiene related radio programs and 40 public service announcement (PSA).
  • During exchange program the participants had attended 8 workshops, 6 trainings, 7 meetings, 1 campaign with 6 projects activities.
  • The Nepali participants in Bangladesh participated in Nari Kotha radio program of Rupantar’s Aparajita project and Bangladeshi participants were engaged in Nepal at Radio Sindhu 105 MHz at Chautara Sindhupalchok and Radio Dhading 106 MHz at Dhading with radio programs related activities. 
  • Participants participated in Norec project learning and sharing sessions at home and host organizations.
  • Participants are working to contribute for communities on public health related awareness programs and human rights activities on prevention and protection of health problems of Bangladesh and Nepal community people of respective country.  

To learn more about Norec exchange project activities please visit www.norec.no 

Radio program for community development

In 2009, The Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) in collaboration with Rupantar, as lead partner has been promoting  meaningful, relevant and appropriate use of media to serve in education and training. Since 2019, Rupantar has been involved with radio program. Rupantar’s radio program, or radio show broadcasts various social message content on radio. This can be one-time production, or periodically recurring in series based on a subject. We follow rigorous steps in developing a radio program content for community. We also provide support to our thematic program areas based on requests.

From July 2022 till June 2023, 39 Community radio programs were aired reaching 5 million people on various topics.

Overall key achievements

The program has held 400 performances on comprehensive counter trafficking to address human trafficking in Bangladesh, created awareness on expanded program on immunization (EPI) vaccination program supported by UNICEF in Khulna city corporation with 41 performances. Through promoting peace and justice program 16 performances were carried out. Our community awareness program on eye health held 14 Pot song performances. Through collective responsibility, action and accountability for improving nutrition (CRAAIN)- we held 319 performances. We carried out 33 special performances on various activities with an overall reach 168,666 of those 85,237 female and 79,425 males. 100% achievement achieved during the project period.