Benor FM: Community Radio as Educational Media and Advocate for Fundamental Rights of the Rimba People

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Benor FM
KKI Warsi is an NGO that attempts to revive the principles of conservation and encourage the development of community management models in conservation areas in Indonesia, especially Sumatra. KKI Warsi's goal guarantee the further development of the principles of a just community: conservation, equality, participation, transparency and sustainability (meeting the needs of the present without threatening the future). To achieve these objectives, KKI Warsi:
  1. Supports various community efforts to gain access and control over natural resources in an equitable, democratic and sustainable manner.
  2. Encourages, develops and strengthens the management of community-based natural resources.
  3. Functions as a center for information, communication, and conservation advocacy.
  4. Facilitates a variety of activities to promote community development.
  5. Strengthens grassroots groups working towards conservation.
  6. Develops and strengthens its position to become more independent and professional.
In carrying out its activities, Warsi has worked with communities in and around forests, including the Rimba, a marginalized indigenous community living in the secondary forests of Jambi.
Official Status
Non-Governmental Organization, registered through the Notary Act No. 89, dated October 29, 2003 by Notary Syarit Tanzil, SH.
Contact person
Grace Hidayat (Executive Director)
Project Leader

Project Description


Giving the Rimba improved access to services such as education, healthcare and economic improvement, as well as making them accepted by the general community without losing their identity.


A. Existence of a studio building and radio transmitter to broadcast in a sustainable manner.

The Rimba are spread throughout the forests of Bukit Duabelas National Park, making them difficult to approach physically and closing their access to information and public service facilities. This "closure" is very detrimental to the Rimba and can be exploited by outsiders to gain unilateral advantages. This condition can be overcome by providing Community Radio. It the following things are therefore necessary: ​​(1) a studio room that serves as a meeting place and broadcast center, (2) a radio transmitter in the studio and transmitter relay at the top of the mountain that can broadcast information to groups in the jungle, (3) human resources that are able to sustainably manage and operate the station.

B. Existence of radio broadcast programs that support educational activities for the Rimba.

The Rimba do not have access to formal education. What education they do receive is limited to what non-formal education Warsi can provide to help them read, write and count. The difficulty of access and the Rimba's scattered nature has heavily limited their opportunities. Currently only 17% of the Rimba are capable of reading, writing and doing basic arithmetic. Through community radio broadcasts, it is hoped that they can be educated more widely and intensively, alleviating their illiteracy.

C. Existence of radio broadcast programs about healthcare for the Rimba .

The Rimba are very susceptible to various diseases, due to their lifestyle which pays less attention to cleanliness and health. This is exacerbated by the difficulty of them accessing health care centers, caused by the Rimba not understanding public health care services and procedures. On the other hand, health workers still stereotype the Rimba as being "magical", and as such are reluctant to serve them. As a result, their life expectancy is still low. Community radio broadcasts will help provide a variety of health information to the Rimba.

D. Existence of radio broadcast programs supporting economic empowerment .

Through radio broadcasts, the Rimba will quickly get information on the prices of commodities, such as non-timber forest gum, and market information. Their traditional economy thus far has been run by their toke. Community radio can function to promote the development of cooperations by spreading information from the head of the cooperation to its members; such communication is traditionally done by relay.

E. Existence of a radio program broadcasts on campaigning to protect the Rimba

The Rimba are often viewed negatively by other communities, which call Rimba communities "camps" and generally degrade them. This misconception has existed for hundreds of years. With increasing conflict over increasingly scarce resource, the conflict between villagers and the Rimba is escalating, killing three people in the last year. Community Radio is very strategic in helping to foster acceptance of the Rimba in villages nearby. This radio will also serve to help eliminate misunderstandings and negative stigma against the Rimba.


A.Topic association: Just and equitable access to media technologies

The Rimba are an ethnic group native to Jambi that live scattered in small groups in secondary forests and rubber and oil palm plantations owned by local villagers. Each group is led by a Tumenggung and usually consists of three to twenty families. In general, the Rimba are dispersed through three major areas in Jambi Province: 1,700 in Bukit Duabelas National Park, 1,800 along Jambi's borders with South and West Sumatra, and 450 in Bukit Tigapuluh.
The Rimba depend on natural resources to live, hunting and gathering forest products. They are semi nomadic and characterized by their frequent relocation. This movement is known as belangun and is usually caused by the death of a member of the group or loss of livelihood. This lifestyle has led to the Rimba being difficult to access; they themselves also have difficulty accessing public facilities, leading to them being marginalized. They are often helpless and considered lower-class by other communities, a feeling that is still strong today; other groups regard the Rimba as a nuisance because of competition for resources after logging, the creation of plantations, and transmigration. As such, the victims are often the Rimba.
Therefore, protection of natural resources and their livelihood region is indispensable. KKI Warsi, along with the Rimba community, has fought for the recognition of the area where they live as a national park; this succeeded in 2000 with the formation of the Bukit Duabelas National Park, which covers 60,500 ha and is home to numerous Rimba.
The next stage in the fight to protect the Rimba is to increase their understanding of educational and health services, as well as economics. Warsi has been providing alternative educational and health services since 1997 to do so, visiting groups of Rimba periodically. Warsi also campaigns other villages to have them accept and coexist with the Rimba, keeping in mind that they are increasingly intermingling-which could lead to greater conflict and misunderstanding. This campaign to facilitate communication between the Rimba and surrounding communities and encourage people to understand the Rimba's norms needs further support.
Community Media Radio and other media activities are viewed as effective and efficient alternatives for reaching the Rimba, including the delivery of educational materials, health information, and permanent agriculture, as well as a means of communication with other community groups. In addition, the Community Radio will also be a tool to mobilize the Rimba and to inform and entertain them and local communities.

B. Problem to address and linkages with activities

1. The absence of access to media facilities makes the Rimba increasingly marginalized.
The project will develop the establishment of community radio studio which can reach and be reached by Rimba groups and serve as a medium to address their needs to access information. The establishment of this radio studio and transmitter will automatically support all broadcasting activities for the Rimba and work in synergy with other Warsi-developed activities.
2. High illiteracy among the Rimba and lack of access to educational facilities.
Broadcast educational programs will help promote the importance of education in Rimba society, especially as it applies to the elimination of illiteracy. Through this broadcast program, learning media will reach scattered groups of Rimba
Educational programs will also be used to bridge gaps between the Rimba and other parties as well as facilitate other parties, such as nearby schools, in supporting the Rimba
3. Difficult Rimba Access to public health facilities and low awareness of healthy living behavior.
Through the radio program, the Rimba will be encouraged to make use of available public health facilities such as village midwives, health centers and district hospitals.
The program will also broadcast a radio campaign on a healthy lifestyle, associated with environmental changes, including ways of preventing diseases such as diarrhea, tuberculosis, and malaria (currently very common among the Rimba)
The radio broadcast program will also campaign for the importance of the role of other parties in assisting the Rimba in receiving better health care. The Rimba's lack of access to public facilities and the widespread perception of them need to be addressed through awareness campaigns.
4. Rimba difficulty in receiving fair commodity prices due to monopolization by toke.
This problem will be solved by creating a community radio program that includes the prices of forest commodities such as jernang, rattan, resin, and latex rubber. This program will also help provide more profitable alternative markets. Community radio will be utilized as a means to assist communities in developing Rimba cooperatives. The role of radio and the campaign is to communicate the benefits of economic cooperation as a means to work together, so that each household joins a cooperative.
5. The Rimba as indigenous marginalized minorities are highly vulnerable to injustice and violence.
The program will help the community by broadcasting about culture and other aspects of their livelihood. Through this campaign the community at large is expected to lose many of their negative preconceptions and attitudes and have greater respect for the Rimba. This radio program will be targeted to the audience, mostly residents of villages where people come into close contact with the Rimba. The radio program will also contain information about life in the villages and the general rules applicable in there. Thus, the broadcast program may eventually help reduce the conflict between the two sides.

C. Relation to Categories: Local Content, Partnerships, Creative Strategy, Action, and Appropriate Technology

  1. Advocacy of education and health information for the Rimba.
  2. Extending people's understanding of products, prices, and current events for greater improvement, training, and development.
  3. Advocating for the Rimba and having them recognized by the general populace without losing their identity.
  4. Advocating for village communities to value and view the Rimba as equals.
Creative Strategies
Increase the Rimba's participation in the preparation of broadcast material and make them active as broadcasters. Audiences will be made more active, both in the Rimba community and in local villages. Educational materials as well as health and economical information will be made more interesting by including information about the diversity of cultures and life styles of the Rimba and local villagers, improving cross-group relations.

D. Activities and linkages with the target

  • Contribution to target A - Existence of a studio building and radio transmitter to broadcast in a sustainable manner
  1. Set up the studio and transmitters, as well as relay stations on Mount Panggang, so that the broadcast can be reached by a broader group of Rimba. (See figures 1 and 2).
  2. Take care of licensing and certification.
  3. Prepare human resources by conducting training and study visits.
  4. Develop a broadcast program in participatory and test broadcasts.
  5. Perform the ceremonial launch with an inaugural broadcast.
  1. There is studio space, equipment, transmitters and relay stations on the mountaintop
  2. There is a community radio broadcasting license.
  3. There are human resources capable of managing the community radio.
  • Contributions to target B - Existence of radio broadcast programs that support educational activities for the Rimba.
  1. Jointly develop educational broadcast material for the Rimba.
  2. Jointly promote the programs to the audience..
  3. Conduct educational broadcasts and talk shows.
- The number of Rimba children capable of reading, writing and doing arithmetic increases from the current 300 to 600 children.
  • Contributions to target C - Existence of radio broadcast programs about healthcare for the Rimba
  1. Jointly develop various radio shows with the Rimba to campaign for healthy lifestyles, disease prevention and treatment.
  2. Conduct broadcasts and talk shows involving relevant agencies to provide health education.
-Occurrences of diseases that attack the Rimba, especially infectious diseases, decrease rapidly. Cases of TB are reduced by 40%, and skin diseases by 95%. At least 75% of Rimba have access to government health services increases
  • Contributions to target D - Existence of radio broadcast programs supporting economic empowerment
  1. Develop broadcast programs that provide information about the prices of commodities.
  2. Conduct talk shows on how to sustainably manage forest and agricultural commodities.
  3. Campaign for the implementation of cooperations to break the toke monopoly.
-The Rimba's revenue jointly increases by 50% through the sale of agricultural and non-timber forest products like rattan, jernang, and resins.
  • Contributions to target E - Existence of a radio program broadcasts on campaigning to protect the Rimba
  1. Develop a broadcast program campaign for the protection of Rimba in Bukit Duabelas National Park.
  2. Perform a broadcast campaign socializing various aspect of villagers' lives to the Rimba, and vice-versa.
  3. Hold friendly meetings at the studio between Rimba and village listener groups.
-Conflict between villagers and the Rimba deminishes. Villagers are willing to receive Rimba as guests.

E. Background and demographics of the project team

Project leader
A man who has been active in social organizations since 1983, with a strong interest in the development of a variety of media, including radio communications.
Project Staff
Four personnel skilled in IT and communications, who are believed to be able to help develop community radio media to advance the Rimba.

F. Demographics of target group

The Rimba in Duabelas Hill National Park, under the auspices of 10 Tumenggung spread across the Air Hitam River, Kejasung Besar, Kejasung Kecil, Serengam and Makekal, as well as Rimba around the Hitam Hulu Transmigration Area and Right of Enterprise Lands belonging to the private companies PT. SAL, PT. JAW, and PT. Emal.
Villagers residing in the Air Black, consisting of Suban Hill Village, Pematang Kabau, Lubuk Jering, Jernih and Dusun Baru. The villages are located in the District of Tabir Selatan Merangin, consisting of SP B, SP A and SP C and Rawa Jaya; these villages are the ones which interact most with the Rimba in Bukit Duabelas.

G. Expected results and indicator of success

The Rimba in Bukit Duabelas National Park should benefit from an improved quality of life through education and information on health services and economic activities, spread through Community Radio. The Rimba are also hoped to better coexist with the villages, with mutual respect based on their identity.
Indicators of success:
  • The total number of Rimba children who can read and write fluently reaching 600, with at least 20 going to middle school
  • A 40% decrease in the number of cases of tuberculosis and skin infections
  • An income increase of 50% from rubber, rattan, and jernang farming
  • At least 75% of Rimba having access to health care facilitiies.
  • Reduced conflict between the Rimba and villagers.
  • Socialization of Rimba norms and laws to rural communities.

H. Project relevancy with media improvement and social justice

Media improvement
Giving the media access to the Rimba, and thus improving their quality of life and knowledge to the outside world. This will help empower Rimba communities to positively compete with others.
Social justice
This project will make the Rimba more competitive, so that their quality of life can be improved and aligned with the community at large. In the end the negative stereotypes about the Rimba will disappear.

I. Project duration:

January 2012-December 2015 (three years and in synergy with the Warsi program). The project is ongoing.

J. Total funds required:

Rp. 765.34 million
Requested from the Ford Foundation through Cipta Media Bersama: Rp. 568 340 000(details attached)

K. Contribution from organization :

  • Staff office and studio space.
  • Salaries for radio project staff and managers.

L. Contribution from target groups:

  • Participation through the time and effort in building the studio, working as radio announcers, and attending community radio activities.