After the barber, it is the turn of Rehan Tailors. The village tailor has advertised on Gaon Ki Awaaz inviting villagers to visit their shop in Raja Bazar, Rampur-Mathura village to get clothes stitched at low rates.

Listen to the ad broadcast on May5noon.

Get a facial? In a village?
Yes. That’s right. A village barber has released an advertisement inviting fellow villagers to get a facial.

The advertisement was released by Riyaaz and Sartaj, owners of the Pappu Hair Cutting Saloon and Gents Beauty Parlour, on Gaon Ki Awaaz, (Village Voice), a mobile phone-based news service launched in Rampur-Mathura village of Uttar Pradesh in December 2009.

The message, which is a great example of hyperlocal advertising on mobile phones, was targeted at villagers living in and around the village, who till last year had no medium to communicate information.

The ad exhorted villagers in Avadhi, the local dialect: “Kyon shaadi ya baraat ki tayyari karni hai? To aiyee Pappu Hair cutting saloon and gents beauty parlour near Rampur-Mathura thana aur fashionable haircut aur facial karaye.” (Are you getting ready for a wedding or a Baraat (wedding) party? Then come and get a facial and fashionable hair cut done at Pappu Hair Cutting Saloon and Gents Beauty Parlour.)

This is the fifth advertisement to be released on Gaon Ki Awaaz, and another 15 have been sold. Clearly, the Indian villagers have found a channel to reach out to their fellow goaonwallas (villagers).

Says Satyendra Pratap,  the local pradhan and an ex-journalist, “The psychology is the same. Just as powerful netas (politicians) and celebrities want to see their name in newspapers or be seen on television channels so also the village merchants want their name to be heard on Gaon Ki Awaaz.”

Currently, the Gaon Ki Awaaz news bulletins are broadcast to 250 village subscribers as voice calls on their mobile phones. Several villagers switch on the speakerphone so that their friends too can listen in to the day’s news.

The news is gathered by two village reporters based in the village. It is recorded in the local dialect and broadcast twice a day – at 12 noon and at 5 pm.

Given the demand for more connections, there are plans to raise the number of subscribers.

Listen to the barber’s ad broadcast on May 3, 2010

Two more advertisers have found Gaon Ki Awaaz useful in reaching out to their customers.

The advertisers are: Musafir Kirana Store and  Subhash Photo Service, who .

Both the merchants are located in Rampur-Mathura village and their customers are located in the village or in villages around them.

This is the first time that these stores have advertised on any medium.

The Musafir Kirana Store used Gaon Ki Awaaz to advertise its grocery products while Subhash Mobile Centre asked villagers to visit its store for any mobile or Internet-related needs. The Subhash Centre also urged villagers to get their photographs taken at the centre.

Click on the audio link to listen to the ads released by:

1. Musafir Kirana Store
2. Subhash Mobile Centre

Gaon Ki Awaaz continues to make waves. After mobile media, it is the turn of mainstream media to take note of the voice based mobile news project.

The Hindu in its Delhi editon carried a detailed report on Gaon Ki Awaaz titled: News at your fingertips.

The report notes:

New Delhi-based International Media Institute of India has started an initiative called ‘Gaon Ki Awaaz’ by which it sends out news to subscribers twice a day ontheir mobile phones. The news subjects of the service vary fromalerts on health camps to local events, local Government announcements and farming tips.

Read the full report.

Samajvadi Party MLA Narendra Singh Verma visited the victims of fire in Kunsra village and distributed five kg of rice, one kg of dal and clothes to 70 families  affected by the fire.

April7eve Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 5 pm on April 7.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

A short circuit caused a major fire in Umraon Khan Purva  village located in the Rampur-Mathura area on April 5. The fire that broke out around 11 a.m. destroyed crops grown across two bighas of land cultivated by Habeeb. Farmers had to work hard to douse the flames. Otherwise the damage would have been much more.

April7noon Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on April 7.

Divyakar Pratap Singh
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

You can now use your mobile phone to lodge a complaint against your area’s ration shop owner in case if he is not giving you rations on time or is indulging in unfair practices. The Civil Supplies Department will allot you a complaint number and will follow up on your complaint. The complaint can be lodged on 1800-180-5046.

April5eve Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 5 pm on April 5.

Priya Gupta
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

The Samvidha employees of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Parivahan Nigam will boycott work for 36-hours from April 5 midnight. The employees have an 11-point charter of demands, and say they are being exploited by the Nigam. This information was given by Deepak Kumar on behalf of Samvidha Karamcharis.

April5noon Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast at 12 noon on April 5.

Divyakar Pratap Singh
Gaon ki Awaaz (Village Voice)

MobileActive.org, one of the best websites on mobile phone projects, has done a big story on Gaon Ki Awaaz.

The story, headlined Gaon Ki Awaaz: News alerts for rural villagers, notes:

One call can bring news to hundreds in rural villages in India. Gaon Ki Awaaz, which means “Village Voice” in the Avhadi language, sends out twice-daily news calls to subscribers directly over their mobile phones. Launched in December 2009, the project recently expanded to 250 subscribers spread over 20 villages.

Read the full report.

Pluggd.in, which runs reports on start ups in digital space, has taken note of Gaon Ki Awaaz in the story Gaon Ki Awaaz bringing local news to rural India.

Noted Plugd.in:

Gaon ki Awaz is an interesting project, launched in Rampur-Mathura village and is defining how local news is delivered in the rural villages, which are devoid of TV/Internet and other medium [especially for hyperlocal context].

Read the full report.

Audio bulletins

The Gaon Ki Awaaz bulletins, which are broadcast twice a day on mobile phones, are also published on this blog. You can find the audio files, which are in Avadhi dialect, arranged date-wise under their respective months. You can also browse the English translations of selected bulletins. These are filed under their respective categories.

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