Little bird, conveying big messages

Vientiane, 13 February, 2018

In remote communities where access to mass media is difficult and limited, community radio plays an important role in providing rural populations with relevant development information that addresses their common needs. A joint project of the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Lao PDR, helps improve access to information and public services for marginalized rural communities. The stations are entirely run by volunteers from the communities, a diverse bunch of inspired, mostly young people, eager to learn and contribute their time and energy. They know the communities, people and various ethnic languages.

Nokna Douangpanya is a National UN Volunteer who is responsible for mobilizing local volunteers, training them, and running the radio programmes.  Ricefield bird, that’s the meaning of Nokna’s name, has been serving as a UN Volunteer in a remote Thatheng district, Sekong province of southern Laos for more than two years. 

Photo: UNV in Lao PDR/Aijamal Duishebaeva

Thatheng station is one of the eight community radio stations, reaching more than 300,000 people and broadcasting in 11 different languages/dialects. The station covers a range of issues like agriculture, disaster preparedness, health, gender, migration and others.

Nokna says: “My work includes helping Community Radio Volunteers from many villages and ethnic groups from remote areas to learn new skills and to produce quality broadcasts. This assignment allowed me to visit many remote places, meet people from different vulnerable groups, and give them a voice.  I have learned so much about equality, real equality where ethnic people get the same access to services as people living in the city, for example”. 

Nokna proudly says that the project has remarkable results. Not only does the project serve as a source of information and education for unprivileged Lao communities, but it also contributed to increased vaccination rates, more women using health facilities, and improved natural disaster preparedness and recovery.

The assignment has also been a great step forward in Nokna’s personal and professional development. She has been invited to various events to represent the project and share its results with donors, partners, and the public. She has also had a privilege to attend a three-day long radio broadcasting workshop, organized by the Lao National Radio. 

 “I am very happy that I am following my dream – to work at the radio, and I am learning a lot from my colleagues-volunteers. Volunteerism made me understand how important it is to develop your own community, doing everything possible to help yourself and others to create a future worth living.” 

Photo: UNV in Lao PDR/Aijamal Duishebaeva 


Nokna is a National Volunteer, Community Mobilization and Coordination Officer, serving for UNDP Lao PDR’s “Enhancing People’s Participation through Community Radio” project in Thatheng district of southern Laos. 

For more information, please contact: 

Ms. Aijamal Duishebaeva

UN Volunteers Programme in Lao PDR

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Tel.: 021 267 757 







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