International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in action


Guatemala has a new communication kit to promote disaster risk management in its communities and municipalities

This new communication kit, for disaster risk reduction, titled “Podemos actuar” [We can act], was introduced on Tuesday, August 1, by the National Coordination Agency for Disaster Reduction (CONRED by its Spanish acronym), to national authorities, representatives from civil society, the media, the international community, and organizations and institutions involved in this area at the national level.

The materials included in the kit are: The song “Juntos” [Together] –performed by the band “Malacates Trébol Shop”–, 186 radio spots, 27 dramatized micro-programs, and a user’s guide. The content of the kit addresses the phases before, during and after an emergency situation. In addition, the 59 radio spots included in the “during the emergency” phase were translated into the following local languages: k’iche’, kaqchikel, mam and q’eqchi’, and the user’s guide describes a number of steps suggested to translate the material into other languages.

It is expected that the materials —which focus on children and adolescents, gender and citizen participation— will contribute to the creation of a disaster risk management culture. In addition to raising awareness of the importance of taking actions to prevent and mitigate emergency situations, the materials provide families and communities with the basic information needed to prevent disasters, avoid human and economic losses during an emergency situation, and prepare for recovery and reconstructions work.

Some of the basic topics included are organization, health, water and sanitation, nutrition and food, protection, education, and psycho-social support (mental health). A number of institutional and other recommendations are also included within each topic addressed, which intend to explain the measures to be taken in order to prevent disease, such as the creation of local emergency committees and their core functions, the different roles of community members in disaster risk management, and the basic measures that they must take (i.e. why they should leave their homes, if staying would put their lives at risk, etc.).

After its introduction, training on the use of the material will be offered, focusing on those municipalities that have been prioritized by CONRED. The training sessions will be intended for teachers, healthcare professionals and staff, members of local development councils, the media, local leaders, and other social actors. The National Literacy Committee (CONALFA), jointly with the sponsoring institutions, will be responsible for distributing the materials and for conducting the training sessions.

The communication kit is the result of a partnership between the Executive Secretariat of the National Coordination Agency for Disaster Reduction (SE-CONRED), the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Save the Children/Guatemala. More than 200 people —script writers, presenters, actors, producers, musicians, technical advisors, designers and other professionals— worked to develop the materials.

The kit was produced with the financial support of the governments of Norway, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden, Finland and Luxemburg; the Division of Humanitarian Assistance, Peace and Security, of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the US Agency for International Development (OFDA/AID).

For further information, please contact:
Rosidalia García Salazar
Librarian, Analysis and Strategic Planning Unit (UAP)
PAHO/WHO, Guatemala