El Estor is a municipality of Guatemala approximately 320 kilometers away from Guatemala City. Eighty percent of the population speaks Q'eqchi and consider themselves part of the Mayan nation. The area receives little attention from the state, and there is a marked lack of media content that reflects the community’s priorities.
Over the past several years, WACC Partner Asociación Estoreña para el Desarrollo Integral (AEPDI), one of the most active community organizations in the area, has been using commercial media – and paid high fees- to promote indigenous rights and demand the right to land for their communities. AEPDI has also been attempting to establish a community-owned radio station for years, hoping that the station would become a mechanism to inform, educate, and entertain the community.
WACC partnered with AEPDI in 2017 to establish Radio Comunitaria Xyaab’ Tzuultaq’, a community radio stations broadcasting on 99.5 FM. The station’s studio is in El Estor, where AEPDI is based, and its signals reaches communities in the department of Izabal, Alta Verapaz, y Baja Verapaz. About 90,000 people are currently reached by the station, which counts ona team of 22 volunteer programmers.
The establishment of the station is the first step towards enabling people in El Estor to fully exercise their communication rights. The radio station is also becoming a vehicle to strengthen indigenous governance systems and community organizing efforts. Crucially, the station has developed partnerships with other CSOs, including the Latin-American Association for Radio Education (ALER) and its Guatemalan counterpart. This has enabled the station to broadcast diverse content and to shed light on local social issues, including the impact of extractive industries on local livelihoods.