Strengthening of Ak'kutan FM: Radio for the Maya of Southern Belize
The communities in the south are isolated and indigenous ? Mopan and Q'eqchi' Maya. Unfortunately, radio cannot reach many of these villages due to the terrain. This is particularly problematic because these villages also are home to poor, marginalized indigenous people who need access to information and communications technologies. It is imperative that local Maya receive accurate and up-to-date information. Given its accessibility and cost-effectiveness, community radio represents a democratic and participatory medium. People can be united by community radio. Tumul K'in Learning Center already has a satellite dish for internet communications which will allow for the convenient development of multimedia presentations. One reason that these communities are isolated is the terrain. Southern Belize is karst, jagged limestone hills, and Tumul K'in lies in a valley. Currently, Ak'Kutan FM, a small radio radio station set up with the support of UNESCO, is broadcasting to about 200 households. If the transmitter could be placed on a nearby ridge with a wireless link to the station, the audience could be expanded to about 4,000 indigenous households. This project seeks to strengthen the broadcasting capacity of Ak' Kutan FM to provide access to information for an additional 3800 indigenous families of 58 indigenous villages in the Toledo district. The project also aims at enhancing the capacity of the community media practitioner who operate the radio station in radio programme development and sustainabilty of Ak'Kutan FM.