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R4D: Remote Radio Reach for Development - Transportable MW Antenna Systems for Rural Villages Inclusion in Pandemic, Post-Conflict and Crisis Responses

Nomadic populations and remote villages can be on an informational "black-out," away from the institutional reach of pandemic, post-conflict and crisis responses. This urban/rural communications infrastructure gap, as well as possible anxiety or mistrusts on crisis situations can lead to these remote settlers being marginalized of coordinated aid responses, as reported in West Africa by the World Federation of Science Journalist, Hirondelle and Amarc, in regards to the Ebola response. A solution to this gap could be the provision of rapid deploy-able transportable antenna systems, to reach out the remote villages and nomadic populations in their own dialects.

Photo of Alberto Blanco
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We have developed transportable Medium Wave Antenna Systems, which can be transported on the back of a pick-up truck, and be rapidly deployed by a crew of 2 or four in an area of 100 ft radius. 

Depending on the application (height, soil, power, frequency), you could reach an area of 40 to 200 miles around.

We are looking to complement our 52 years broadcasting experience with the expertise of health care outreach specialits and nomadic area field specialists to explore a suitable application for development.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

The beneficiaries are people living on remote areas, away from the reach of "traditional" institutional infrastructure. We live in an hyper-connected urban world. Think about the satellite pictures of the world at night, where urban dwellings appear as bright lights. Now focus on the "dark" areas outside these bright spots, particularly in the developing world, and you'll understand what do we mean with "black-out" regions. Zoom even further your developmental look to areas like the "Pan-Sahel" Sahara, or in the case of Ebola affected regions, the remote West-Africa zones where Medium-Wave (as opposed to FM) can serve an effective way of communications. That's the wide zone of the earth surface where we believe our solutions might be applicable.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

1. Understand the main communications challenge that the coordinated global response is experiencing on rural remote villages. 2. Understand what are the current "broadcasting" media being considered to reach these remote areas, and compare it with portable antenna systems. 3. Connect with leading experts in the field of Radio for Development (USAID, United Nations, MSF, Hirondelle, Amarc, World Federation of Science Journalists) to develop a pilot application.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

I'd appreciate contacts with the leading experts on radio for developmental uses in crisis situations.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.

1 comment

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Photo of Guy Viner

Interesting thought starter, Alberto. With the focus of this challenge centering around children in developing world countries, how might you adapt this idea to keep their unique needs and challenges in mind? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!