Fellow Since 2003
RADIO KANCHA PARLASPA
This profile was prepared when Fernando Andrade was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Fernando is fostering democratic participation and organization among Bolivia's poor by starting self-sustaining, community-run radio stations. His first station–Kancha Parlaspa ("the market speaks")–encourages market-goers in the city of Cochabamba to express their opinions publicly, a first step in organizing themselves to engage effectively with policymakers on issues of urgent concern to all–water rights, police abuse, and the use of municipal facilities, to name a few. Broadcast from the city's largest marketplace, the station attracts a diverse audience from among the 50,000 who gather daily. Fernando not only invites participation from all, but also teaches the locals to manage the station, to design programming that informs listeners, and to inspire productive dialogue among those who are least likely to engage in the democratic process–vendors, street children, and migrants from the countryside. In a country where democracy has not yet reached most poor people, participants not only speak up, expressing their opinions openly, but also design and broadcast their own programs. In cooperation with a major university, Fernando plans to bring to many poor communities throughout the country a participatory radio station–and the advances in democratic participation that it promises.