UNDP’s Tsunami Trauma Radio Programme

After reading Dr. Mary Myers’ article on “Why Radio Matters”, I decided to delve deeper and research one of the case studies she mentions in the “helps rebuild after disaster, trauma and war” section. I chose to highlight a radio program sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme that aimed to reduce tsunami trauma after the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia. The tsunami not only hurt people’s livelihoods and destroyed their lands but it contributed to thousands of deaths. All of this inflicted many psychological problems amongst the population.

UNDP’s program set out to assist the 13,000 displaced people after the 2004 tsunami. It was a “one-hour show, broadcast weekly on Saturdays at Dalka FM, the oldest and most popular station in the district”. The program had counselors that specifically worked with communities as it strived to be “grass-roots based”. The psychologists gave the audience suggestions on how to cope with the trauma they had experienced and with the stress they felt. The program addressed the following issues: “how to control emotions, family relations, worries about employment and income, housing conditions, as well as establishing a community support network.”

I think the ICT device chosen by UNDP for this program is smart. They understood who their audience was, those who were displaced, and the little access they had to ICTs. Radio, being the most affordable, able to affect the masses and accessible ICT, was the most intelligent of choices. One thing the article fails to mention is how successful the program was. If those displaced actually had access to radio, how popular was this program? Did it achieve its goals? Many times organizations do not check up on or monitor their projects. I do not know if that was the issue with this article or if UNDP simply just left the information out.

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2 responses to “UNDP’s Tsunami Trauma Radio Programme

  • laurag063

    I really like when people highlight initiatives like this because I think they are so unique, and they focus on things that many other development interventions overlook. Development is all about “improving livelihoods,” but so many programs actually forget that core concept. It seems as though this one does not, since it focuses on helping people through something intangible- not blankets or cell phones- but anonymous, peer counseling that is not only accessible, but also safe. I think there is definitely something to be said about the potential of radio in healing communities, not just educating them.

  • clairedwyre

    Yeah I completely agree, I feel like a lot of times people try to make programs as technologically advanced as they can which many times complicated things and makes them higher cost. Many times low cost initiatives like radio broadcasts are the most beneficial and user friendly.

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