the VOA Special English Development Report.
developing countries, weather reports remain trapped in the capital. National
weather services have the information, but no way to get it to farmers and other
people in rural communities.
the job of an international project called RANET -- Rural Communications using
Radio and the Internet. RANET works with national weather services to improve
Sponberg at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United
States is the program coordinator. He says that although there is a lot of work
at the national level, RANET really happens at the community level.
project develops networks of satellite receiver systems, community radio
stations and other technologies. Communities often are provided with some
equipment, but the systems are locally owned and supported.
uses the WorldSpace satellite system and will soon be on GEONETCast. This is a
network of satellite-based systems that provide environmental information.
also works with nongovernmental groups and others to make sure information
meets local needs. In addition to weather, broadcast time can be filled with
advertisements, local music and reports on farming and market conditions.
began in the year two thousand. Kelly Sponberg says the project has set up
several hundred local stations in Asia, Africa and the Pacific. RANET is also
moving into Latin America.
project does not just involve community radio stations. For example, RANET
helped the Indonesian government develop ways to broadcast warnings of tsunamis
and severe weather.
has a yearly budget of about seven hundred fifty thousand dollars. Money comes
from donors including the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the United
States Agency for International Development. And technical support comes from
groups including the First Voice International, Wantok Enterprises and the Freeplay
working to improve communications in countries with limited power supplies.
And, in the next month or two, it hopes to launch a community reporter program.
Local citizens will provide weather reports and other information through text
The RANET Web site is ranetproject.net.
And that's the VOA Special English Development Report,
written by Jill Moss.