What is Covid-19? How is it transmitted? What are the symptoms? What services are available from the government? What can members of the community do? These are just some of the questions that 16 community radio stations and two online radio stations belonging to the Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), are answering in their programs to help millions of people in poor rural communities learn more about the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Northern Uganda, Radio Apac, which reaches approximately 1,147,200 people in a largely rural farming region, has lost income due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is using its savings to afford petrol to keep generators running and procure fuel for motorcycles that would allow boots-on-the-ground reporting and dissemination of information through its network of rural reporters and radio stations.
Radio Al Balad, operated by the Community Media Network (CMN), a local NGO in Amman, Jordan, has been using its airwaves to call attention to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on refugees. Jordan hosts 656,000 registered refugees from the nine-year conflict in neighbouring Syria, according to the UNHCR, and like the rest of the country, have been on lockdown since March 21 in response to the pandemic.
In times of crisis, information saves lives. In the response to Covid-19, we see how vital it is to get accurate and trusted messages to people so that they know what they need to do and where they can get help when they need it. For many communities however, particularly the most marginalized and vulnerable, such as Indigenous communities, refugees, and people living in rural poverty, their lack of access to mainstream media, internet, and information sources in their languages increases their vulnerability.
WACC works with many grassroots community media partners such as Radio Apac, Radio Al Balad and BNNRC, who have established channels and languages to get messages to their communities fast – but they need support. WACC’s fund will enable them to immediately respond to Covid-19, and will enable us to support local media fast in the event of future outbreaks or natural disasters.
Even small donations will make a huge difference in getting lifesaving information to vulnerable populations. Thank you for your support.