Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO partners with BBC Media Action on lifeline communication training in Kisumu County, Kenya

UNESCO partnered with BBC Media Action to carry out a three day training workshop on Lifeline Communication from 28 to 30 April 2014 in Kisumu County. This training was aimed at building and enhancing capacity of media practitioners, and humanitarian agencies to meet communication needs of affected communities during and after humanitarian disasters. It also helped stimulate efficient and better coordination between the media and humanitarian responders during such crises.

The training attracted participation of 29 participants comprising of 17 men and 12 women. Among the participants, 15 came from community radio stations – Sauti FM, Mwanedu FM, Mugambo Jwetu FM, Mang’elete FM, Sahara Radio FM and Gulf Radio – and 14 came from humanitarian practitioners – Kenya Red Cross Society, UNICEF Kenya, Kenya Meteorological Service, Concern World Wide, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government - Kenya, Kenya Meteorological Service, Plan International, World Vision, and CARE International Kenya.

The training objectives included; skills development for better engagement in ‘Lifeline programmes’ and better understanding of the role of the  media and the humanitarian sectors in the Kenyan Disaster Risk Reduction plan. Lifeline communication training is part of BBC Media Action's humanitarian communication preparedness work that seeks to strengthen the ability of media and aid agencies to meet the communication needs of people affected by crises.

During the training, the trainers used hands-on training, group exercises, role play, practical exercises and interactive sessions, with an emphasis on scenario-based activities to enable participants simulate application of the principles in real crisis situations. This was aimed at enabling participants to adapt and apply the principles in developing lifeline communication programmes.

Mr. Fredrick Mariwa, Radio Manager of Sauti FM Station Manager stated that “The training was insightful and practical and it came at the right time when there are indications that there might be possible humanitarian crises to be caused by drought and flooding’s in the country. I am glad I participated in the training and the knowledge that I have acquired will help me to properly produce programmes and report on humanitarian crisis and their effects to Sauti FMs audiences in Siaya County.”

Ms. Sophie Sangalia Mshila, a reporter at Mwanedu FM stated that “This training was very important to me as a reporter since it has enabled me acquire the right knowledge and skills to produce and report objectively about and during humanitarian disasters/crisis. I am now capable of sourcing for the right factual information, package it, and report it through the radio to the local community."

Another participant, Mr. George Mwamodo, Mwanedu FM Station Manager states that “This training was very well thought training, informative, educative and fun. There’s need to have more trainings on Lifeline Communications for reporters and editors and this should incorporate field work at their various stations.”

In order to reinforce learning at the training, reporters were trained to produce local content of interest to communities and in the process save lives, reduce human suffering, strengthen relief efforts and empower communities to help themselves during and after humanitarian disasters.  Reporters produced disaster scenarios in response to ‘potential floods’, followed by preparation of a 10 minutes magazine program and a series of lifeline bulletins to provide their respective communities with practical and useful information to use during humanitarian crises.

This training is part of UNESCOs on-going capacity building initiatives under SIDA funded project “Empowering Community Radios with ICTs” in Kenya.