The Another Option team in Nepal has recently finished a whirlwind of interviews of leaders and leaders passionate about promoting the importance of reading to children and their families. The radio program is a continued partnership with the government of Nepal’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (Modest) and the USAID-funded Early Grade Reading Program that began in September 2016. The six new radio programs targeted to parents and teachers of students in grades one and two will begin broadcasting in early 2019.
For this season, the program team interviewed two Nepalese leaders: managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority, Mr. Kul Man Ghising, and community activist for the blind, Ms. Sita Gyawali.
Mr. Ghising has played an instrumental role in the past few years in addressing national challenges with electricity. His work within the Nepal Electricity Authority has contributed to a significant reduction in load shedding across the country.
The second guest, Ms. Gyawali, was the first visually impaired woman in Nepal to complete her Master’s degree. Since returning to her home after her studies in the US through a Fulbright scholarship, she has created a library and community center for the visually impaired.
Each guest shared their experiences with reading as a child, emphasizing how it has helped their careers and how parents can help their children learn to read. After each interview, they each also read a short story provided by curriculum specialists (and project partners) at Nepal’s Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology.
This is the second round of radio based programming coordinated by Another Option in Nepal as part of the Early Grade Reading Program. The first round of programming, broadcast nationally, was found to have had significant reach across Nepal. Overall key findings identified that 57.1% parents and 81.9% teachers had listened to radio PSAs, and 39.1% parents and 50.5% teachers had listened to the radio program "Ramailo Padhai, Digo Sikai" (in English, Reading is Fun). . A study also showed that 24% parents and 34% teachers had listened to the radio drama "Ujjwol Bhawishyako Suruwat" (in English, Beginning of a Bright Future), and 21.9% parents and 49.2% had listened to the 'guest reader' segment of the radio program. Parents from Banke, Saptari and Kanchanpur districts said that they had listened to the radio PSAs in their local languages as well.
The Early Grade Reading Program is a five-year project to support the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology to improve the foundational reading skills of Nepali primary school students in grades one through three. Another Option provides technical assistance in social and behavior change communication with an emphasis on mass media, advocacy and public awareness to increase family and community support for early grade reading.