On March 25, 2016, READ Bhutan inaugurated its first community radio in Pema Gatshel Dzongkhag. KYD (Khotakpa Yalang and Denchi) Community Radio 91.1FM can be heard in some 9 villages. KYD unofficially also stands for Khotakpa Youth Development! (Shh... that's what I made up.)
The community radio was established with funding from Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) Bhutan and in partnership with Ministry of Information and Communications.
Speaking at the launch, Lyonpo D.N Dhungyel said that the community radio will provide an excellent platform for people to participate in social discourse. “The Community Radio will provide opportunities for people to discuss social issues,” he said. “It will also provide an enhanced access to educational information and resources.”
The Minister urged the people to use the station meaningfully to benefit the community fully.
The Country Director of READ Bhutan, Ms. Karma Lhazom said that the main objective of setting up a community radio is to inform rural farmers. “The Community Radio will promote civic participation, enhance education, provide access to useful information and build an informed community,” she said. “It will also increase local awareness on democratic values and principles and connect the far flung villages of Pema Gatshel valley, which are otherwise fairly isolated from each other.”
The Country representative of SDC Bhutan Mr. Mathias Meier said that concept of community radio is “a radio of the people, for the people and by the people” and that, he said, “is the real essence of democracy.”
Villagers are really excited. 41-year-old, Khotakpa Tshogpa, Bopo Drukpa said that the community radio will bring about immense benefit. “The radio station will both inform and entertain us,” he said. “My work as a tshogpa will become much easier now as we would be able to use radio to inform people about various meetings and disseminate other important messages immediately; I am really happy.”
Namgay Wangdi, 37, another villager said the community will reap a lot of benefits from the newly established community radio. “Ours is a very remote village. I see the radio airing important agriculture and health-related information. Because it is coming from a local and our own station it will be helpful to us.”
Situated in Southeast Bhutan, Khotakpa is a remote farming community cultivating maize, rice and oranges. READ Bhutan opened a READ Center in the community in March 2014 in partnership with Druk Satair Corporation.