Throughout 2005, the Freeplay Foundation’s radio project in Indonesia has been the focus of a remarkable international network of partners, working together in a truly global relief and development effort, to provide sustained access to radio information and communications for tsunami survivors.
Through contact with the Disaster Relief Network, established during the World Economic Forum in Davos (attended by our executive director and operations manager), Cosco became our transport partner. The company provided free shipping for Freeplay Foundation’s first consignment of 500 self-powered Lifeline radios that arrived in Medan in June.
Meanwhile, Mercy Corps, our primary distribution partner, worked hard on the ground, identifying appropriate groups and associations to become early recipients and ‘guardians’ of Freeplay Lifeline radios. VSOs and Social Revitalization staff in 27 Return Villages in Aceh Barat district and 42 in Banda Aceh/Aceh Besar selected the following target groups for initial radio distributions:
Meunasah (prayer and community centers) (64),
Relief/Recovery posts (28).
PKK (Family Welfare Programs) (24),
Posyandu (Maternal/Child clinics) (16),
Head of Village (16),
Mosque Youth (7),
Mosque Leader /Imam (5),
Sport group (5),
Youth Organization (4),
Fisherman Association (3),
As with other Freeplay Foundation Lifeline radio projects, tsunami radio distributions are implemented in a highly structured format. Several people from each recipient group are present, with one person nominated as the formal ‘guardian. The properties and use of the radio are demonstrated: Freeplay Lifelines are powered both by detachable solar panel and wind-up crank handle, so they do not need batteries. They have other features specifically designed for humanitarian use in harsh conditions, such as a detachable aerial. Each radio has an individual serial number, which is recorded on the written agreement signed by the distributing partner and the beneficiary. Where necessary this agreement is read aloud, to ensure that all recipients understand exactly what they are signing. This rigorous implementation model has helped to ensure that Lifeline radio listening groups take best care and can make full use of their radios. It also means that remarkably few radios ever go missing or are stolen.
Laminated instruction sheets in local language are distributed and information is provided about radio station frequencies/programs with particular relevance for beneficiaries. In Indonesia, the independent radio station 68H became Freeplay Foundation’s broadcasting partner at the start of our tsunami relief efforts. We are proud to be associated with 68H: as well as creating and transmitting vital information, advice and support programs for tsunami survivors, 68H station staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly on the ground to dig wells and rebuild the transmitting stations that were damaged or destroyed by the tsunami.
Groups targeted by Mercy Corps for radio distribution by end December 2005 are: 180 Schools (including 90 state schools and Islamic boarding schools, of whom a portion will receive radios later than others because they are not yet functioning.); 106 IDP barracks (1 per barrack); 42 Village government offices.
The second phase of Freeplay Foundation’s tsunami radio project has brought new distribution partners into the network. In late October, Oxfam took delivery in Medan of a second consignment of 752 Lifeline radios. After clearing customs, Oxfam retained 400 Lifelines and passed the remaining 352 to our third distribution partner, the International Medical Corps. These two organizations will engage over coming weeks in distributing radios to their identified beneficiaries.
In the wake of the disaster, as survivors reestablish and rebuild lives, sustained access to information and advice can make a critical difference between life and death, between despair and hope. Tsunami survivors have greatly impressed the international community with their resilience and capacity to recover and restore their communities during 2005. We at Freeplay Foundation feel privileged to be able to support them.
As we approach the first anniversary of that devastating day when the world changed forever for so many, Freeplay Foundation expresses gratitude to all our partners for their different contributions to this Lifeline tsunami radio relief project in Indonesia. To none are we more grateful than to our colleagues at Global Giving and the project’s many donors. To Duran Duran and to Hewlett Packard’s Employee Giving Fund, to C. Crane Company and to all those individuals without whose generosity our work would be impossible - Thank You All!