15.03.2010 -

Role of community radio in disaster management on agenda of workshop in Namibia

This week UNESCO and UNICEF are organizing a training workshop for volunteers and members of the Board of the Ohangwena Community Radio in Namibia to enhance their capacities in reporting on development issues. The training, which will take place in Eenhana, will particularly focus on disaster risk reduction, preparedness and management.

Requested by the Ohangwena Community Radio Board, the training will address the principles of community media and its organizational structures. Participants will also be trained in fundraising in order to identify possible resources to ensure the sustainability of their radio. A special session will address the role of community radio as an agent for development and its ability to deal with such issues as disasters. Community media practitioners will be introduced to basic principles and ethical issues of crisis coverage, and acquire practical skills to ensure data collection, analysis and dissemination during disasters.

 

Freedom of expression and improved access to information for affected populations, including marginalized and vulnerable groups, are essential pillars of disaster risk reduction, preparedness and management. Training of media professionals in fair, unbiased and conflict-sensitive reporting will add to mutual understanding and reconciliation, and ensure appropriate dissemination of life-saving information.

 

The goal of this week training in Eenhana is to develop the capacity of community media to make the public aware of disaster risk reduction. This workshop is part of the series of training programmes that UNESCO, UNICEF and the Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL) are developing under the theme "Lessons Learned in Educational Flood Responses". Preliminary workshops already took place in January and February this year.

 

Closely coordinated with UN and national Namibian institutions, this series of programmes aims to provide practical support to the Government in its efforts in disaster management. It is based on the 2009 Post-Disaster Needs Assessment Report, the Revised Flash Appeal Namibia 2009 and the National Policy for Disaster Risk Reduction in Namibia. Launched in 2003, the National Policy recognizes the crucial role that media could play in strong community involvement not only during the acute phase of a disaster, but also during post-disaster activities. The Policy also states that regional authorities and disaster risk management committees must establish relations with relevant media to ensure maximum benefit from media coverage of disaster management activities.




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