European Humanitarian Funds for Dadaab Refugee Radio Service
Internews Europe has secured its inaugural grant from ECHO, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Directorate, to help launch a Humanitarian Information Service for more than 444,000 refugees in Dadaab, Kenya. The project will provide access to life-saving information and help to improve two-way communication between local communities and humanitarians.
‘This project represents innovation in terms of refugee protection and assistance in Kenya,’ acknowledged the ECHO country team. ‘It will play a crucial role both vis-à-vis the roll-out of the Operational Continuity Plan and refugee protection.’
In collaboration with Star FM and our us-based sister organisation Internews, the ECHO grant will allow us to provide refugees in Dadaab refugee camps with crucial community and humanitarian information through regular local radio broadcasts. The broadcasts will be produced in collaboration with young community journalists from Dadaab and local communities by using mobile phones. The project will also improve the capacity of local radio staff. A local radio station will be set up and broadcast from and to Dadaab in somali language.
Dadaab, in eastern Kenya, is the largest refugee camp in the world. By December 2011, the camps had become home to more than 444,000 people; 25% of them have fled persistent droughts, food shortages and continuous violence in Somalia in 2012.
‘This action is based on a solid needs analysis. Improved information services are needed in Dadaab and Internews Europe has included host communities throughout this project as an important target group for production of radio programming,’ stated the ECHO country team.
An assessment conducted by Internews in August 2011 shows that large numbers of displaced Somalis do not have the information they need to access basic aid. This includes information on how to register for aid, locate missing family members, access health care and access shelter. A great amount of new arrivals also said that they have never been able to voice their concerns or ask questions to aid providers or the government.
Radio is by far the most popular source of general information for both new arrivals and long-term refugees, yet there has not been a specific regular broadcast for or about Dadaab so far, which means only general news and information could be accessed. This joint Internews project will fill this communication gap. In addition the majority financing from ECHO, the project will be made possible with additional support from the US Office for Transitional Initiatives.