Two-thirds of Indians live in rural India but they don't have a voice. Issues of rural India rarely make it to the headlines and it was to fill this gap that _Gaon Connection_, which is now India's biggest rural media platform, was started in 2012. This is a platform that does only rural journalism and doesn't wait for floods to strike Bihar, or farmers to die of suicide to rush its reporters to a village and report from there for 2-3 days. We do rural stories every day because that is how we believe rural India can make itself heard by the government and policymakers. When the pandemic hit us, we felt the strong and urgent need to document happenings in rural India in the form of open-source publications as information from rural India was missing. We conducted three face-to-face surveys in rural India in this period, possibly the only organisation to have done something like that. We have also started publishing an annual report - _The State of Rural India Report_ - that wraps up the year's key happenings. On August 15, earlier this year, _Gaon Connection_ also launched its own radio -- Gaon Radio -- which listeners can hear on Gaon Connection's website throughout the day. Since a large chunk of the rural population in India is still unlettered, Gaon Radio is an effort to reach those people and get their voices also heard. In this presentation, I will talk about the past 10 years of our journey, the challenges, and the learnings.
Nidhi Jamwal is Deputy Managing Editor of _Gaon Connection_. She has been a development and environment journalist for the past 22 years. She worked for 12 years with _Down To Earth_ magazine, then freelanced for a couple of years, and has been working with _Gaon Connection_ now for about four years. She has won several awards and fellowships including the Laadli Media Award 2020 for gender-sensitive reporting, the first prize in the All India Environmental Journalism Competition 2015, the Earth Journalism Network's Bay of Bengal Story Grants 2019, and the IHCAP CMS Environment Journalist Award 2019 (Special category).