Wednesday, 23 December 2009

[creative-radio] Radio Drama in Mozambique tackles impact of natural disasters


Radio Drama in Mozambique tackles impact of natural disasters

Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Date: 23 Dec 2009

By Arao Valoi in Maputo

Mozambique - IOM is hoping that its new radio drama series in Mozambique
will help people to be better prepared for natural disasters which
routinely hit the southern African country – and so avoid their
devastating consequences.

Entitled "Bravos do Zambeze" (Zambeze Braves), the story focuses on a
village soccer team captain, Jose, and his girlfriend Suzanne. When their
village is hit by a terrible flood and the community is completely
unprepared for it, Jose and his team mates try to get everyone to safety.
The ensuing episodes of the drama serial deal with the consequences of the
flooding through the lives of the people in the village – what can happen
if people are not prepared, and the importance of sticking together as a

Divided into two parts, the second half of "Bravos do Zambeze" deals
mainly with the process of rebuilding, as well as the importance of
adapting to the reality of increasingly frequent and severe weather

The aim of the series is to communicate specific useful information about
longer-term disaster management and planning, including farming and
building techniques that are more disaster resistant and preparing for an
evacuation plan for future emergencies.

In recent years, natural disasters in Mozambique have caused widespread
devastation of social and economic infrastructure like farms, roads,
schools and homes, causing large-scale displacement. Between 2000 and
2008, the country was hit by several severe floods and cyclones that
forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. In 2000 alone,
at least a quarter of a million people were displaced to 89 makeshift
camps as the result of flooding. The 2007 flooding along the Zambezi River
threatened an estimated 285,000 people in river communities and displaced
about 163,000 persons.

For Mozambique, faced with such regular human displacement and loss of
homes, lives and livelihoods, greater knowledge of what a community can do
to protect itself can go a long way to lessening the impact of natural
disasters and the suffering they cause.

For IOM, the media and initiatives like Bravos do Zambeze play a critical
role in bringing about that behavioural change through increasing personal
knowledge of what people and communities can do to help themselves.

Particularly effective is providing that information in an entertaining
way so that it motivates people to take the initiative.

"We chose doing a radio serial because from previous emergency assessments
in the aftermath of floods, we knew that there was a lack of communication
resources in the Zambeze valley region that was a serious obstacle. This
was compounded by language barriers. When we actually began our assistance
programmes, we found that community radio played a vital role in providing
real-time information and in overcoming language issues," says IOM
Mozambique's Chief of Mission, Stuart Simpson.

The first 13 five-minute episodes of "Bravos do Zambeze", produced both in
Portuguese (the Mozambican national language) and Sena (a local language
around the Zambezi Valley), are currently being broadcast on four
community radio stations throughout the Zambeze valley region. The second
season of 13 episodes is due to be aired in early 2010. Copyright © IOM.
All rights reserved.

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