Internacional para la Reducción de Desastres
América Latina y el Caribe
Revista EIRD Informa - América Latina y el Caribe
Socios en Acción
Tiempo de huracanes (Season of Hurricanes) is a radio daytime drama with a difference: instead of focusing on whether boy meets girl, it was produced as an educational tool for hurricane prevention and mitigation at the local level.
A Facilitator’s Handbook was written at the same time to assist those who would be in charge of using the radio drama as a “hook” to motivate local community members to play a more proactive role in their own protection through the application of basic risk management techniques.
In a nutshell, the idea was to prepare a handbook that would complement
the efforts made by all those who participated in the conception, writing,
production and recording of the radio drama by provide technical suggestions
and practical advice on how best to use Tiempo de huracanes as a community
The first workshop was held on 26 April in the John XXIII Training Centre in San José. A total of 30 potential facilitators took part, including members of local emergency committees, municipal government employees, representatives of various government agencies, and the staff of nonprofit community radio stations.
The second took place on 28
May 2003 at the Costa Rican Red Cross’ headquarters,
also in San José, and enabled Red Cross volunteers from around
the country to test the new methodology and express their views.
Both workshops’ objectives were the same:
1. To see what kind of reception the Facilitators’ Handbook would get from a representative sample of its target primary audiences, i.e., those in charge of disseminating its contents.
2. To make workshop participants follow the steps outlined in the Handbook for using the radio drama as a starting point for hurricane risk reduction training among local groups, in order to validate their effectiveness.
3. To test whether the Handbook,
in conjunction with the training workshops for facilitators, could
strengthen the facilitators’ capacity to
carry out effective motivational training by using specific participatory
methods in local community settings.
involved, the “train the trainers” workshops strove to create a pleasant, relaxed environment for group work that would foster not only the transmission of concrete skills but also a spirit of playfulness and camaraderie that would promote openness in the group’s responses.
Group assessment of the workshops
After hearing the radio drama and practicing the steps suggested in the handbook, participants in both workshops engaged in vibrant, fruitful discussions on the procedures suggested in the book and on the workshops themselves. The following were some of the suggestions made by the participants and the conclusions they arrived at:
• It is very important to be thoroughly familiar with the radio drama’s plot and other characteristics before employing it for community-level training.
• It is also necessary to assess the characteristics of the facility where the community training will take place, such as the number of participants it can accommodate, its accessibility, or its acoustic qualities.
• Attention must be paid to those techniques for working with groups that are especially effective in involving the participants.
• It is crucial to plan the workshops carefully, particularly the duration of each of the steps, so that all major topics are covered adequately and group discussions can be fitted into the schedule—this, regardless of whether a single session is used per story or each story is presented over two days, listening to half of each episode each day before the interactive sessions begin.
• It is necessary to make sure that all training material required is at hand before each community training session—a sound system or speakers to supplement a cassette player, a sketch-board, notepads and pens for participants, etc.
•The radio drama should be seen as a training resource that is complementary to other activities, part of a broader effort by the community itself to build its own capacity for risk management.
In addition to the value of the comments themselves, which will be incorporated into future editions of the handbook, the workshops also proved their worth in the way they encouraged participants to remain involved in the process.
Several who work
in government agencies or NGOs involved in disaster reduction said
they would like
to replicate the workshops “in house”,
since many of their co-workers could become facilitators themselves,
multiplying the impact of the radio drama as a training tool. Others
expressed their interest in encouraging their neighbours to participate
in community disaster reduction. As a whole, attendees committed themselves
publicly to using the radio drama as part of training and information
packages aimed at improving disaster mitigation in their own communities.