Internacional para la Reducción de Desastres
América Latina y el Caribe
Revista EIRD Informa - América Latina y el Caribe
Socios en Acción
Costa Rica: Hurricanes, the focus of a Red Cross seminar, training activity for facilitators on a topical radio drama
With the start of the rains and of the 2003 hurricane season, the Costa Rican Red Cross’ Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Department recently organized two significant events: A training seminar by specialists of the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), and a workshop for facilitators on how to take advantage of an innovative approach to public information for disaster prevention: the radio daytime drama Tiempo de Huracanes (Season of Hurricanes).
The seminar, held on 26 May 2003, allowed IMN experts to provide an overview of what the 2003 rainy season is likely to bring to Costa Rica’s vulnerable communities, enabling them to prepare in advance and respond effectively and in timely fashion to any floods, landslides, and other events that often result from the intense tropical rains in this Central American country located only 10° N of the Equator.
Some 75 Red Cross officials, as well as special guests, participated in the event, which targeted personnel in vulnerable rural communities, who now have a better idea of the prevention and mitigation measures they can take before disaster strikes.
Two days later, in the auditorium of the Costa Rican Red Cross headquarters, 30 Red Cross facilitators from throughout the country learned from René Martorell, ISDR consultant, how to get across good practices in disaster prevention and response by using the radio drama Tiempo de Huracanes as a highly entertaining “hook” for teaching communities about disaster prevention, community organization, and such relevant aspects as gender equity and the impact of migrations.
The training was the result of the Costa Rican Red Cross’ successful strategic alliances with global players such as the International Organization for Migrations (IOM) and the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) as represented by its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, which guided the production of the radio drama.
While the Red Cross has its own disaster prevention program, centered on three booklets on disaster prevention and preparedness, shelter management, and healthy home environments, it recognized the value of employing a radio daytime drama, one of the most popular formats throughout Latin America, as a vehicle for participatory education in disaster prevention.
The facilitators have already
started to make contacts with local radio stations to make sure the
drama is broadcast as widely as possible and,
at the same time, inform the population of the dates, times and locations
where they will be engaging local communities in discussions on how to
apply the show’s lessons to their own environment.