Urgent Information for Haiti’s Earthquake Victim

by Internews
Karl Foster Candio interviews President Clinton
Karl Foster Candio interviews President Clinton

As 2011 came to an end, Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen (ENDK), or “News You Can Use,” celebrated the release of its 500th episode.  In the two years following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010, ENDK has become an essential source of news for listeners throughout the country.  The radio program, produced by Haitians and for Haitians, continues to provide the population with basic information about health and hygiene, post-crisis reconstruction, development and civic education. Radio, one of the most important sources of information for Haitians, has played an essential role in supporting the population through the difficult and painful process of reconstruction, providing individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions for their well-being. When asked in a focus group discussion in the provinces about what they had learned from ENDK, one Haitian responded, “you can protect yourself from cholera by following all the hygiene rules such as: not drinking water that is not treated…not eating food that is not fully cooked.”  Listeners of the program are able to share information they learn with others, spreading important information throughout their communities. 

The impact of the radio program has been profound in shaping the humanitarian response and engaging the local population.  Throughout our work in Haiti, Internews has continued to work with local journalists to build their capacity and ensure the sustainability of programs like ENDK. Journalists like Karl Foster Candio, one of the early editors-in-chief of ENDK, have gained significant recognition for their skills and have gone on to work for other national news outlets, spreading their knowledge and skill to national news outlets in desperate need of skilled reporters.  This has been our goal from the beginning of the project and we are continuing to support the Haitian media through training and capacity building. Internews has engaged short term consultants to actively build the capacity of local media outlets in Haiti, and the Senior Resident Journalism Advisor, continues to help our partner radio stations to develop useful programming for their listeners.  This past January Radio Boukman and Vision 2000 independently produced their first ENDK-like reports. We are extremely hopeful and excited about the progress that community radio stations are making and their growing independence in the Haitian media.

Thanks to your generous support, we were able to help Haitian people spread vital information throughout their own communities during a time of great crisis. Our work would not have been possible without your contributions. 

On September 30, 2011, the popular radio program Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen (ENDK), or “News You Can Use,” produced its 450th program. Due to its widespread success and popularity, the program is still being broadcast for free on more than 30 radio stations in Port au Prince and the provinces.  Described by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as the backbone of the humanitarian information operation of Haiti,” ENDK has been instrumental in providing critical information for the Haitian population that is based on their information wants and needs. While the program continues to have a strong public health and disaster alert component, it is steadily working towards a broader focus on recovery, reconstruction, development and civic education topics. With the support of funding from the Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI), Internews and ENDK are contributing to media capacity building by intensive training and coaching exchanges with 15 partner media who will continue to produce such content in an ENDK type format beyond the current OTI grant.  Internews is committed to ensuring that programs like ENDK become self-sustainable and continue to provide vital and life-saving information.

In addition to supporting the radio program and training local journalists, Internews is also supporting a team of 19 Haitian researchers to develop the first independent Haitian research firm BRESI.  Internews originally formed a team of Haitian researchers to conduct research on the access to and use of the media by Haiti’s earthquake affected population and most importantly its information needs.  The idea was that this information would feed into ENDK programming to ensure that it was responsive to the affected populations’ information needs.  In recognition of the important work conducted by this outstanding team of researchers, OTI supported Internews-Haiti’s goal of helping the team develop into an independent research firm capable of operating to international standards.  The bi-monthly reports put out by the team are widely circulated among other NGOs, the Haitian government and other key actors, showcasing the tremendous capacity of the team to execute high quality research.   

Thank you for your continued support of humanitarian news and information in Haiti.

Internews' research staff in Port-au-Prince

The day after the one year anniversary of the earthquake my colleague, Marisa , and I rode up the hill to the Hotel Montana to meet Internews’ staff.  The Hotel Montana, previously one of the nicest hotels in Port-au-Prince had collapsed during the earthquake, killing and injuring several people inside.  When we arrived the main part of the hotel had been completely destroyed, although most of the rubble cleared in the past year.


A downstairs portion, including a conference room, remained in tact.  For the week of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake, Internews set up a temporary journalist station in this conference room where both local and international journalists could come to learn, write, and post their stories.  “Half of the time journalists spend in this country is just working out logistics – finding power, internet, etc,” said Phillip Allouard, Internews’ Haiti Country Director.  Each day, they brought in experts from the country about different topics to present to the journalist present.  They covered topics like the cholera outbreak and the reconstruction efforts in the country.


Internews’ mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard..  Their first program, ENDK, produces a 15-20 minute informational radio program six days a week to provide Haitians with information they need on topics like where they can access health care, employment opportunities, and disease prevention and treatment.  This program is currently run on about 40 community radio stations throughout the country.  As evidence of their reach, a recent study of the program’s target areas found that 100% of people surveyed had not only heard the program, but could cite specific examples of useful information they had gained from listening.


Internews works hard to make sure that the information they’re providing is what Haitians actually want to hear.  They’ve created a research unit that has grown to almost 20 employees in the past several months.  The research unit originated to identify and track the information needs of the communities they serve.  They have found that across the board – from the time of the earthquake to now – people want health-related information.  Internews has responded with information about where people can access clinics, what symptoms indicate illnesses like cholera, malaria, and typhoid, and what people can do to prevent illness.  Their research has become so respected that other organizations, including government officials and other non-profit organizations, have begun paying for access to the information.  One long-term possibility is to turn this research unit into an information consulting business run by Haitians even after Internews is no longer involved.


Jennifer Mandel, Deputy Country Director, believes that one of the biggest impacts Internews will have on the country is the lasting training and capacity building they have been carrying out throughout the past year.  As funding for the radio program winds down, the journalists and researchers they’ve trained throughout the last year will remain in the country, continuing to provide high-quality research and reporting to rebuild Haiti in the future.

ENDK's radio equipment

Public information and effective community outreach identified by World Health Organization (WHO) as the single most effective way of tackling cholera

In close coordination with the Government of Haiti, local media partners, the United Nations, international and local relief organizations, and health and civilian protection officials, Internews is helping to coordinate and disseminate a large-scale emergency public information campaign vital to the containment, prevention and early treatment of cholera as the World Health Organization (WHO) states "that a public information campaign can make the difference between life and death" in Haiti.

The government and the humanitarian community are responding to a cholera outbreak that is blamed for more than 250 deaths and over 3,000 confirmed cases to date, putting in place measures to prevent the disease spreading further from outlying St Marc, Artibonite, the epicenter of the outbreak, to the Port au Prince region and other affected areas by the January 12th earthquake.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Civil Protection (DPC), Internews is assisting Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Haiti, a communications coordination platform, to rapidly roll out a comprehensive public information campaign using radio, television, megaphones, sound trucks and community-based mobilization, to communicate messages about cholera and cholera diagnosis, prevention and treatment. In addition, Internews is helping to broadcast an SMS message campaign from the Ministry of Health encouraging Haitians to text "Maladi" to 4636 to receive health information via SMS message on cholera, free of charge.

Internews is producing special radio shows of its own ENDK, News you Can Use program that reaches up to 70% of the Haitian population in partnership with over 35 local radio stations. These radio shows carry information on cholera, symptoms, prevention messages, the evolving situation, and responses by the Haitian Government and its humanitarian partners. These two ENKD programs have already been broadcast across Port au Prince and have been rushed to St-Marc to air in Artibonite on local radio stations.

Communications coordination is key

From Port au Prince and St Marc, CDAC is focusing on facilitating information sharing with local media, community outreach, and ensuring collaboration and support from all responders involved to the national communication strategy through the Ministry of Communication. CDAC Haiti is mapping the existing communications initiatives and capacity, identifying gaps and needs such as megaphones, speakers, radios and community mobilizers, as well as gathering approved messages on cholera treatment and prevention from the government.

CDAC, led by Internews in Haiti, is sharing all this information with the government, humanitarian organizations and local media in the affected areas and Port au Prince to ensure that messages transmitted are consistent, easy to understand, widely disseminated and approved by the relevant authorities.

“We know from past experience that unless someone is there to facilitate and coordinate communication, we will see inconsistent, confusing and possibly contradictory information going out,” says Imogen Wall, UN Humanitarian Spokesperson for Haiti. “All this is particularly important in this context as Haitians are not familiar with cholera and in environments like this misinformation and rumors take root very fast. In cholera epidemics, 80% of cholera patients’ lives can be saved through information: people need to know how to prevent transmission and identify and treat early symptoms especially if they are in remote areas where they cannot receive medical help.”


To date, Internews has produced and distributed more than 150 Enfomasyon Nou Dwe Konnen (ENDK) shows. The show – “News You Can Use” in English – covers information of critical importance to those affected by the Haiti earthquake.ENDK is recorded daily, and delivered by motorbike in Port-au-Prince to local radio stations that air the broadcast. Initially nine radio stations were broadcasting daily. Today, that number has reached 33. Recent issues covered to inform camp residents and others include:

• Elections: Where to vote, register and file disputes • Disaster preparedness: A US medical boat stands ready to help the Haitian population in case of hurricane disaster. • Entertainment: Announcement of free outdoor movie screenings in Pétion-Ville

On June 1st Internews launched www.enkd.info, with French summaries and Creole transcripts of ENDK broadcasts. The site also allows any radio station to download audio content and customize it for broadcast. The site features Weekly Mailbox, a choice of the most relevant Q&A addressed during the week. More than 400 Weekly Mailbox questions have been answered so far on topics that vary from “How to get a death certificate for a person whose body was never found” to “Is shooting into to the sky to celebrate after a soccer match allowed?”

This information is vital to Haitians as they continue to recover from the devastating earthquake. The radio is the most popular form of consuming information. A recent GlobalPost article details the importance of Haitian journalists and their reporting to the country’s recovery: “Broadcasting from tents outside crumbled stations, Haiti’s radio journalists are striking a stronger, more critical tone, holding local and foreign officials accountable for missteps as the country limps toward recovery.”

Thank you for your support of humanitarian news and information in Haiti.



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Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.internews.org
Project Leader:
Laura Stein Lindamood
Director of Communications
Washington, DC United States

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