Young members of Radio Naxme 89.5 FM, an Indigenous community radio station broadcasting in San Miguel El Progreso, State of Guerrero, Mexico. Photo Credit: Radio Naxme
Following four years of fruitful collaboration, WACC and Boston-based Indigenous rights organization Cultural Survival have decided to renew and enhance their ongoing partnership.
Starting this year, WACC and Cultural Survival will concentrate their efforts not just on supporting individual Indigenous community radio stations, but also on helping to establish networks of Indigenous broadcasters. These networks will have an impact beyond their immediate local communities and will be encouraged to tackle structural issues, such as undemocratic broadcasting legislation and policies that systematically undermine the communication rights of Indigenous people.
Since 2016, WACC has partnered with Cultural Survival to support Indigenous broadcasting in several developing countries. Together, they have provided technical and financial support – as well as access to knowledge-sharing opportunities – to dozens of community radio stations in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Nepal, and South Africa. This partnership has enabled thousands of Indigenous communities to exercise their communication through greater access to information, enhanced communication platforms, and increased leadership capacity.
In 2020, WACC and Cultural Survival will support seven Indigenous broadcasting networks in Nepal, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. Support will include access to financial resources, technical advice, accompanying measures to enhance public recognition of their work, and access to training on communication rights.
Furthermore, WACC and Cultural Survival will work to enable their project partners to participate in international conferences on Indigenous and Communication rights, such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and the meetings of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).
The work of all partners receiving support from WACC and Cultural Survival will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 16-Peace, Justice, and Institutions, and to the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
WACC and Cultural Survival believe that the communication dimension of Indigenous rights is critical to realizing such rights, and that access to Indigenous community media, especially community radio, helps Indigenous people to exercise their broader human rights and to shape sustainable development agendas.
Originally from Colombia, Lorenzo Vargas has worked as a media producer, communications consultant, teacher, researcher and facilitator with organizations in the non-profit and education sector in Toronto, Montreal, and southern Brazil. He holds an Honours BA in International Development from York University, and an MA in Communication Studies from McGill University, where he studied the relationship between media production, active citizenship, and peacebuilding among youth in Latin America, with a special focus on Colombia. He currently sits on the Board of the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.