Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees

by Internews
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Get Lifesaving Information to Rohingya Refugees
Learning at the Mobile Journalism Workshop
Learning at the Mobile Journalism Workshop

First, thank you again for your generous support of this project! The Internews team was deeply moved by the amazing support we received on World Refugee Day from donors like you! Thanks to your contributions, we received thousands of dollars in additional matching funds from GlobalGiving. 

Earlier this month Internews held two mobile citizen journalism workshops for 40 young people (ages 18-30). The participants came from both the Cox's Bazar host community and the Rohingya community, and half of them were young women. The workshop was designed to give voice and agency to young people through the tools of mobile journalism. The workshop encouraged the participants to explore their world in and around the camps using mobile storytelling techniques and emphasized the role of citizen journalists. They learned about storytelling, digital news creation, social media usage and authenticating news credibility so that they can voice their stories by themselves. Here is some of the feedback we received from the newly trained citizen journalists:

Sadek, 21, who is a Rohingya refugee said, “Thanks to Internews for training us on citizen journalism so easily. We live in a remote area and no journalists come here to listen to us. Now, with the training, we can speak for ourselves, we can be our own journalists.” 

Keya, 20, who is from the host community said, “Now I have learned many techniques to make news stories and I am happy that I can do it with the phone I have in my hand; now I am going to practice more and more and reach out to local media with my stories.” 

In addition to this training, there are plans to continue the workshops for women in the coming weeks. 

2019 Information Needs Assessment

Back in 2017, Internews conducted an information needs assessment that informed the design of this project. This past spring, a new assessment was done to measure the success of the work, and understand the current information needs and gaps in the Rohingya and host communities. The biggest finding is that 92% of refugees say they now have enough information to make decisions in their lives. In the 2017 assessment this number was only 23%.

You can read the full report in the attached file or at our GlobalGiving page. 

Thank you again for your support--this work would not be possible without donors like you.

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A listening group gathers to hear latest episodes
A listening group gathers to hear latest episodes

This past spring, Internews’ radio production team in Cox’s Bazar, in partnership with the local radio stations, launched Ma Boin er Lai (“Mothers and Daughters”), a new radio program focused on issues facing women and girls from both the Rohingya and host communities. Taking the form of a serialized radio drama, Ma Boin er Lai follows the fictional lives of a female teacher and her students as they navigate a range of topics including sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence, women’s mobility, and access to information. The pilot episode focused on women’s access to education, and the importance of ensuring that girls are allowed and able to stay in school. The episode included the story of Begum Rokeya, a pioneering Bengali writer and organizer who advocated for women’s rights and founded the first schools for girls in the region.

Ma Boin er Lai will air twice a month on the local radio station and will be played for the members of the listening groups, for feedback and ideas on how the programming can best address issues of concern for Rohingya and Bangladeshi alike.

In addition to the new radio show, Shantir Lai Kotha Koi (“Talking Peace”) airs weekly, bringing together members of the Bangladeshi and Rohingya community to discuss critical local issues that impact both communities. Recent episodes addressed how life has changed since the influx of refugees, education, drug abuse, sharing resources, supporting survivors of gender-based violence, and the challenges of life in a refugee camp.

The team also completed an updated Information Needs Assessment to identify how needs have changed since the first assessment in October 2017. In our next report we will share the findings and full Assessment.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and belief in this work. Without your support we would not be able to continue providing critical information to Rohingya refugees or facilitate conversations and learning with their Bangladeshi host communities.

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Video screen grab
Video screen grab

When Internews first started working with the Rohingya and host communities in and around Cox's Bazar more than a year ago, there was widespread confusion, stress, and tension due to a lack of easily accessible, trusted, clear information. Since then, Internews has been working in coordination with other partners, and with members of both communities, create a robust information ecosystem where everyone is able to get the lifesaving information they need and share their concerns and questions with the responding humanitarian organizations. A team of community correspondents have been trained and working as citizen journalists and trusted sources of information in the camps for a year now, and we are excited to share a new video that shows the work they are doing and its positive impact for the Rohingya and host communities living in and around the refugee settlements. Get to know some of the correspondents and other Internews team members working Cox's Bazar, see the work in action, and learn more about how episodes of Shantir Lai Kotha Koi (Talking Peace) are produced and shared. 


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Although winter in Bangladesh is warm during the day, the nights can become chilly and Rohingya refugees' needs are changing with the seasons. With the cooler temperatures, refugees have expressed a need for warmer clothes and more blankets. Additionally, there is a need for fuel to both keep warm and to cook. A recent issue of What Matters found that cooking materials: pots and pans, dishes, and fuel are the top concern among the refugee community.

The What Matters newsletters continue to be produced biweekly, sharing the concerns of Rohingya refugees with humanitarian agencies to ensure that aid is responsive to the community's evolving needs. The 

You can read the latest What Matters editions in this program update.

Thank you again for all of your support for this work over the last year--we wouldn't be able to continue supporting the information needs of Rohingya refugees without it!

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a community listening group in Cox's Bazar
a community listening group in Cox's Bazar

Our team in Cox’s Bazar reached a milestone by airing its 20th episode of the weekly radio and podcast show, Shantir Lai Kotha Koi (Talking Peace). The program brings together members of the Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities to discuss shared issues. Their 20th episode focused on food security during monsoons. In addition to airing on local radio, community listening groups are able to gather in the refugee camp to hear it as a downloaded podcast—ensuring that it reaches people who may not have access to the radio or missed its original airing.

New Survey Shows Improved Access to Information

Last October, the Internews team conducted an Information Needs Assessment in Cox’s Bazar that found only 23% of respondents felt they had enough information to make good decisions for themselves and their families. In July, in partnership with Internews and Translators without Borders, BBC Media Action conducted a new survey and found that 84% of respondents now feel they have enough information to make decisions. 75% of respondents also replied that it is easier to access information in the past six months. The full survey results and report from July are linked below.

Flying News Bulletin 2

Flying News bulletins track and dispel rumors in and around Cox’s Bazar. The July issue is available to read online in English, Bangla, and Burmese. Since Rohingya is a mostly oral language, the information is also shared through an audio program called Bala-Bura, which is shared with listening groups in the refugee community. The July issue discussed food safety and rations, human trafficking, and extortion. To read more click on the link below.


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Organization Information


Location: Washington, DC - USA
Project Leader:
Annessa Kaufman
Washington , DC United States

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