Vinaya Kumar Kasajoo

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Article

Gives voices to the poor

Vinaya Kumar Kasajoo has devoted his life to give voices to the poor. He works as a journalist, media Trainer and media Consultant.
Vinaya Kumar Kasajoo is widely experienced in media development in Nepal.

First he set up the first rural paper in South Asia, Deurali - based on barefoot journalists - teachers, farmers, housewives, etc.

Since he only reached the literate, Vinaya expanded his activities to accommodate illiterate residents, using mobile audio towers and community radio stations that provide local information to rural villagers, ignored by mainstream media.

Futhermore Vinaya is director of RDP (Rural Development Palpa) a NGO, he founded in 1993, which trains barefoot journalists and encourage fonds to support local media.

By spearheading the development of print and electronic media in Nepal´s small towns and villages and training of a growing cadre of "barefoot journalists", Vinaya Kasajoo is empowering and giving voice to people in rural area. The development of community media enables them to participate more effectively in decision-making processes, and equipping them with knowledge that addresses their everyday needs.

Although the IT revolution has certainly reached Nepal it has to overcome several impediments to be useful for he rural and poor people of Nepal. Access to IT and peoples´ capacity to utilise it is one of the biggest problems.

Vinaya believes that access to information relevant to villagers´ pressing needs is key to the development of civil society, the effective functioning of democracy, and the economic advancement of ordinary citizens, most of whom live in small villages or other rural settings and the majority of whom are illiterate. Therefore Vine has dedicated himself to the strengthening of community media.

Around the world, one of the most pressing issues in development is that of the "digital divide". NGOs have developed numerous programs that aim to bring information technology to rural residents. Very often, however, these programs ignore a critical issue - the fact that rural residents need access to information that is particularly relevant to their lives. It does little good to provide international satellite news to a villager whose greatest need is for information about the prices of goods in nearby markets or a new farming technique.

There is a great digital divide within the country - between Kathmandu valley, where the capital city is situated and outside the Kathmandu valley. 68 % of Nepal´s telephones are based in Kathmandu valley when 55% villages of the country remains untouched by telephone lines. The teledensity of Kathmandu valley is 23 % whereas the teledensity outside the valley is only 0.14%; i.e. 14 persons out of 1000 have access to telephone lines.

Vinaya envisages that since rural and underprivileged people do not have access to Internet, the combination of Internet with the community radio and other community media can create amazing effect for those people to access useful and relevant information and knowledge.

Access to information is vital to the promotion of development and the effective functioning of a democratic system. Nepal, like many other developing countries, provides access to information to a small minority of the general population. The inability of village residents to access relevant information is a significant obstacle to the development of civil society and the economic advancement of the majority of Nepal´s citizens.
Author: Karin Bergquist

Bio

1947: Vinaya Kumar Kasajoo was born in Nepal.

Education:
B.A. in Nepali and English literature, Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu.

Professions:
Journalist, Media Trainer and Media Consultant.

1983:
Vinaya started his own weekly paper "Satya".

1993:
Vinaya introduced modern printing press in Western Nepal, and the first weekly rural paper in South Asia, "Deurali".

He founded the NGO RDP (Rural Development Palpa).

Present positions:
Director, Media Services International.
Chief Editor, Gaunle Deurali, Rural Weekly Newspaper.

Works

Palpa As You Like It And Palpa Revisited

Published Written,
2001

Suchana Prabidhi ra Bikas (Information Technology and Development)

Published Written,
2001
Kasajoo was editor of the scientific book, with the subtitle "IT Policy and Strategy Paper for Nepal 2001". In Nepali language.

"Thopa Thopa"

Published Written,
2000
Collection of 80 short stories

"Community Radio for Empowerment of People"

Published Written,
2000
In Nepali language

Merits

AWARDS

"Prakash Human Rights Award 1995" First Human Right Award in Nepar established in 1995.

"Gopal Chandra Gautam Journalism Award 1995".
Ashoka Fellow since 2001.

Projects

This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)

Www

Official website of Vinaya Kasajoo

This website provides free access to his books and articles on Literature, Media and Information Technology.