19.12.2018 -

Communication and Information Development in sharp focus in the Caribbean

©UNESCO, 2018Staff of ABENG Community Radio in Accompong, Jamaica review training material produced at Community Media Sustainability workshop

Communication and Information Development were in sharp focus in the Caribbean during 2018. The UNESCO Cluster Office for the Caribbean had targeted interventions in Reporting for Climate Change, Community Media and Youth Engagement Change  and the Information for All Programme (IFAP); Memory of the World Programme (MOW).

Reporting for Climate Change was a key issue for the Cluster Office in 2018. With Hurricanes Maria and Irma causing extreme devastation throughout the Caribbean in 2017, the Cluster Office responded with heightened focus on the capacity building of Caribbean journalists. The Cluster Office collaborated with the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM) to host a Symposium on Disaster Reporting for Climate Change, which trained over 30 journalists from around the Caribbean. This workshop which was held in Barbados in March 2018 focused on preparation and reporting of stories before, during, and after natural disasters. In follow up to that Symposium on Disaster Reporting, the UNESCO Cluster Office partnered with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU and the Public Media Alliance  for a Regional conference on Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology, Content Options for Caribbean Media in August 2018. During this conference, UNESCO also hosted a special workshop on “Reporting on Hate Speech and Violence in the Caribbean”, 26 journalists from the Caribbean participated. An Action Plan on Reporting on Hate Speech and Violence in the Caribbean has been developed as a result of this workshop.

The Cluster Office also initiated a redevelopment plan for Community Media and Youth Engagement with a pilot programme for the indigenous Maroons of Accompong, St. Elizabeth Jamaica. This pilot initiative saw a workshop with over 40 participants, most of whom were young people from the Maroon Community, being held at ABENG Community Radio Station in Accompong in October. The workshop concentrated on Business Development, Radio Content, Writing for Media, and Sustainability of Community Radio. Technical Manager at ABENG Radio, Sophia McLeggon who was very optimistic about the future of ABENG Radio said, “The training received at this UNESCO workshop is very important for the development of our Radio Station. I am very happy especially because the children in the community were able to get help in preparing the content for the Children’s Programme.”

In addition, over 56 participants from around the Caribbean took part in 2 key regional workshops for the Information for All Programme/ Memory of the World Programme for the Eastern and Western Caribbean which were held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in March and in Sint Maarten in November. The aim of these workshops was to strengthen the capacities of the participants in establishing IFAP and MOW Committees in the short and medium term. Participants were very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the workshops. Mr. Johan Scholing, a participant from Aruba praised the workshop as an eye opener. He said “there is so much potential for the IFAP/MOW Programmes in Aruba and the Caribbean. This workshop has given me so much information, and I cannot wait to get back home to start our IFAP-MOW Committee”.




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