On behalf of Internews and AJHR, thank you very much for your contributions to this campaign. While we did not reach our funding goal, more importantly, we were able to help our local partner organization AJHR stay on the air in the aftermath of the Séléka rebel alliance takeover of the capital, Bangui. Your donations, in turn, have helped an estimated 1.7 million people in the midst of a humanitarian crisis get the daily news and information to make the best and safest decisions for their lives and for their families.
Current State of the Humanitarian Crisis in CAR
Insecurity, protection and humanitarian access to people in need of humanitarian assistance still remains one of the most serious challenges for humanitarian actors operating in CAR. According to the latest UNOCHA report, "The security situation remained unpredictable with cases of violence including arbitrary killings and armed robberies. However, the humanitarian community continues to provide assistance to the people affected in Bangui and in other regions within the country where security permits.
In the CAR crisis, information is a critical virtual lifeline; especially where physical humanitarian access is at its most limited. People across the country need to know what is happening around them, how to access humanitarian aid, how to protect themselves and get on-going support.
The limited communications infrastructure in CAR compounds feelings of insecurity and reinforces vulnerable communities' sense of isolation. With reliable, accurate information in times of conflict, people can prevent an escalation of violence, ask for and receive assistance, and get out of harm's way.
The Association of Journalists for Human Rights
Internews’ local partner, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights (AJHR) is working around the clock to keep communities across CAR informed. Since the beginning of the crisis, AJHR has continued to report on the security situation in Central African Republic (CAR), Séléka rebel advances and the impact of the rebellion on affected communities on an almost daily basis. Internews is supporting AJHR to continue with its critical work in CAR so that they have the means to keep reporting and sharing their daily news bulletins with local communities. AJHR distributes information widely through a network of 13 community radio stations across the country and through daily e-newsletters that are sent out to hundreds of humanitarian agencies, diplomatic missions and local organizations in CAR. All of the stories they publish are available on their website and on Twitter through @RJDH_RCA.
Where did your donations go?
100% of the funds received from GlobalGiving went directly to our local partner on the ground, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights. Thanks to you, AJHR was able to continue operating under extreme circumstances to continue sending out news bulletins to the network of radio stations around the country.
Your dollars helped to fund and support:
Internews is currently pursuing long-term funding opportunities to keep AJHR up and operating. The short-term help you were able to supply during the onset of the crisis will make a lasting difference to AJHR and the communities they serve. When we contacted AJHR in the aftermath of the crisis they weren’t sure if they would be able to continue to operate given the chaos that ensued after the takeover of the Seleka rebel alliance. Every single dollar helped our local partner continue to send out important news bulletins and support their network of radio stations. That radio tower was not just a broadcast, it was a lifeline – including to those populations living in remote areas.
We will continue you update you on the ongoing crisis and the work that Internews and AJHR are doing in CAR…please visit our website, sign up for our e-newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about humanitarian work and #commisaid initiatives around the world, follow Jacobo Quintanilla, our Director of Humanitarian Communication Programs @jqg on Twitter.
P.S. Next month, Internews will launch its Response and Resilience Fund: stay tuned for more updates!
If you’d like to learn more about this new initiative, or become a founding member of this fund by making a donation, please contact Amanda Frankel at firstname.lastname@example.org
INFORMATION IS AID: watch this short animation to see WHY
From everyone here at Internews and our local partner in CAR, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights (AJHR), we wanted to extend our deepest gratitude for your contributions to this project. All funds received from this project go directly to AJHR to help them operate during this crisis, by delivering life-saving information via a network of radio stations across the country.
Following the Séléka rebel group’s takeover of Bangui on March 24 that forced President Francis Bozizé to flee the capital, Bangui declined into state of chaos with significant looting and pillaging of homes, offices and shops, severe shortages of electricity and fuel, and curtailed access to health services, transportation and food. Since that day, your support has done so much to assist the more than 4.1 million people who have been directly affected by the crisis and our local partner, the Association of Journalists for Human Rights (AJHR).
In CAR, to overcome the difficulties of communication caused by power outages, lack of Internet access, bad roads, and rebel occupation in several areas, Internews created a unique network connecting 15 community radio stations in CAR. The Association of Journalists for Human Rights, a local organization that was founded in December 2010 at one of the training sessions organized by Internews, runs the network. The Association connects the stations with one other and enables humanitarian agencies to learn what is happening in hard-to-reach areas for them and quickly exchange information with communities throughout the country.
Thanks to daily bulletins, humanitarian agencies are able to intervene more quickly in response to demands from the local population. For example, Radio Zereda in Obo, one of the partners in the far east of the country, which is under LRA influence, reported in early 2011 on the disappearance of a number of refugees in a Congolese refugee camp near the border. The bulletin alarmed UNHCR, the Congolese government, and the Central African government, and a UNHCR fact-finding mission was sent out. Some days later, the refugees were discovered inside Congo.
In CAR, AJHR is continuing to work around the clock to ensure that life-saving information is delivered via a network of radio stations across the country. Sending regular news bulletins to a growing network of news outlets is central to the work that AJHR is doing now to ensure that important news updates reach even the most remote places in the country. With your support, AJHR can continue this important work, and continue to operate under these extreme circumstances.
Integrating Local Media and ICTs into Humanitarian Response in CAR
Thanks to a grant from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), Internews is excited to introduce an innovative new program starting in March, entitled Integrating Local Media and ICTs into Humanitarian Response in CAR , which will foster a bounded network of trusted local media organizations. This network will be able to gather real-time, first-hand information from affected populations to create a two-way communication flow with humanitarians, improving emergency response, community participation and community resilience.
This will allow AJHR to further expand their network by training the remaining 13 radio stations on the use of FrontlineSMS software to collect information from their listeners. This information will then be geo-located and processed in order to feed information into the humanitarian community in a more structured way to positively influence their decision-making (think faster, smarter) using interactive maps and categorization of information through a Ushahidi platform.
This HIF pilot project will increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of humanitarian relief efforts and increase community resilience by leveraging the relationship that local media have with their communities and strengthening these existing social networks through technological solutions. This project will create a reliable and sustainable system that will allow local media to gather, in real time, first-hand information from populations and channel it to the humanitarian sector, while at the same time, establishing a two-way communication flow with local communities.
Why Local Media Matters
In times of crises, conflict and emergency, access to reliable, accurate and well-targeted information can save lives. Communication is aid, and failing to act on this principle and provide resources accordingly means that humanitarian actors neglect people’s right to access information, ask questions, and participate in their own relief and recovery.
There are many complex and intertwined conflict dynamics affecting CAR and neighboring countries that also require targeted information and communications based responses. Local radio stations in CAR have already demonstrated the crucial role they play in the exchange of information between listeners in the community and international humanitarian organizations, UN agencies and local aid providers. ICTs, technical and power limitations allowing, can only strengthen the phenomenal role local media currently play. At the end of the day, for many local communities, radio may be the only thing they can turn into.
It’s donors like you who can make these projects possible. From all of us at Internews and AJHR, thank you very much for your continued support and involvement in our work in CAR.
More about Internews' projects in Central African Republic
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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