Bhumiraj Chapagain has a simple enough objective for participating in this year’s Diploma in Development Leadership program at the Coady International Institute; he wants to enhance his leadership skills.
“I think the Coady course will support me in becoming an effective leader for my community,” Chapagain, from Nepal, said.
“In previous days, my senior officers and other friends from the organization came here and learned more about leadership … they recommended to me to come here.”
The organization he refers to is Community Radio Vijaya FM. Chapagain, with close to a decade working in media – including seven years in senior management positions, is the secretary for the organization.
“It’s a key position where I get a lot of chances to make policies, to make strategies, plan activities for the year,” Chapagain said, noting this is his second position in terms of an executive role.
“There are three key positions in our organization; one is chairperson who leads the organization, one is treasurer who is directly involved in the financial – maintaining the financial behaviour, and the other is the secretary who plans activities, strategies and other things to run the organization.”
Community Radio Vijaya FM first aired in August 2004 and, as noted in online material about the organization, “is promoted by Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC-Nepal), a social development organization working for 35 years in the field of social development and run by Vijaya Community Information and Communication Co-operative Ltd. (VICCOL).
It’s further noted; “Community Radio Vijaya FM is the common endeavor of peoples from different socioeconomic, religious, cultural and professional backgrounds (i.e. farmer, small and local entrepreneurs, local community members, women, Indigenous peoples, development experts and practitioners, teachers, journalists, advocates and professionals), local development organizations, community forest user groups, schools, colleges, hospitals, co-operatives, different religious and other social institutions. Thus its unique structure and mix-up setup, represents the entire community.”
Chapagain said their goal is to “raise” the voice of “voice-less people.”
“The excluded, the marginalized … the people who don’t have access to the media,” he said.
“We go to the communities, particularly the rural communities, and give voice to their concerns, issues, make programs and air it.”
Chapagain emphasized the diversity found in Nepal and how that also plays into the importance of his organization.
“In Nepal it’s multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-linguistic … there are more than 120 languages spoken,” he said.
“The organization reflects the whole cultural background of the country as well.”
If there is a specific issue he would like to address, and hopes the Coady will help him with, it’s the outmigration of youth from their home communities.
“Young people are rarely informed to do creative, innovative and constructive things over there,” he said. “Thousands of young people are trying to go about in search of good opportunity, education, and other things.
“I think, myself, if you lose your youth in the community you lose creative ideas, innovative ideas, no constructive works can be carried out … this is the measured challenge over there.”
Chapagain sees community radio, which he notes is often run by folks just past their youth days (“20 to 30 years age-group”), as being able to reach the young generation and inspire them to stay and work in their communities.
“I want to learn how we can retain the people in the country using community radio, the media,” he said.
“Make them aware of their community and want to stay and develop their own community and society. Use my community radio power, my strength, to retain the youth.”
Chapagain noted this was his second time applying to attend the Coady.
“I tried in 2007 and Coady accepted me but, unfortunately, I didn’t get the Visa … this time, luckily, I got the Visa.
“So this is my first time in Canada and it’s very exciting.”