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Communicating in times of crisis in Burkina Faso

  • By CDAC Network
  • 11/06/2020
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With funding from UNHCR, CDAC member Fondation Hirondelle has started the implementation of its project “Multimedia Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic in Burkina Faso” aimed at sharing factual, trustworthy and quality information with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and host communities in the Nord, Centre-Nord and Sahel regions. The project seeks to debunk rumours and fake news and share best practice in order to contribute to curbing the spread of COVID-19 in regions affected by the security crisis that Burkina Faso also faces.

The project has begun producing radio shows in French, Mooré, and Fulfuldé through Studio Yafa, Fondation Hirondelle’s production house based in Ouagadougou. These shows are broadcast by Fondation Hirondelle’s 37 partner radio stations across the country. In order to ensure a broad reach, the foundation is distributing sound systems in IDP sites, and solar-powered radios in host communities in the northern region of the country, which hosts 46.1% of the country’s IDP population.

Although this project will be implemented over a nine-month period, Fondation Hirondelle and UNHCR are already exploring a longer-term partnership through which they will also reinforce peacebuilding and social cohesion amongst IDPs and host communities in hard-to-reach areas. Factual and vetted information on the role of humanitarian actors will be shared through radio programmes. These programmes will also represent a platform for collecting feedback from community members on their perception of and satisfaction with the humanitarian response.

Fondation Hirondelle and UNHCR are part of the newly-formed, CDAC-facilitated and hosted by OCHA Community Engagement and Accountability Working Group (CEAWG) in Burkina Faso. The group strives to foster a more coordinated humanitarian response in the country, to ensure that the voices of and feedback from communities are taken into account in the development of humanitarian programmes, and that actors remain accountable to affected populations at all stages of the response. For Fondation Hirondelle, which until recently was mainly involved in development programming, the CEAWG “allows us to deepen our understanding of the humanitarian sector, and operationalise a strategic shift towards more humanitarian programming. Our project was born pretty much at the same time as the CEAWG, and will live and grow with the group” said Denis Vincenti, Fondation Hirondelle’s Country Representative.

On 23 June 2020, Fondation Hirondelle, UNHCR and ICAHD (Initiative de Coopération et d'appui aux Actions Humanitaires et de Développement) started distributing solar-powered radios and sound systems to IDP and host communities in the Centre-Nord region of Burkina Faso. By the end of the project, 14 sound systems and 136 solar-powered radios will have been distributed to IDP sites and host community households. This equipment will allow affected communities to listen to Studio Yafa programmes on COVID-19 on a daily basis. The radios and sound systems will also serve the entire humanitarian community in sharing information. Affected communities will be able to set up listening groups, give feedback on the programmes, and community leaders will have a platform for sharing information using the loudspeakers and microphones that came with the equipment.

For more information on the Fondation Hirondelle/UNHCR Project, please contact: Denis Vincenti, Fondation Hirondelle’s Country Representative (denis.vincenti@hirondelle.org), and Emmanuel Gay (gayemm@unhcr.org), Senior CCCM (Camp Coordination Camp Management) Advisor, UNHCR.

Project documents and results will be posted on the Burkina Faso CEAWG’s information sharing platform when available.

This article is also available in French

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