COVID-19: How Community Radio Broadcasting Coronavirus Education in Bangladesh

COVID-19:
How Community Radio Broadcasting
Coronavirus Education in Bangladesh

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)’s approach to media development is both knowledge-driven and context-sensitive, and it takes into account the challenges and opportunities created by the rapidly changing media environment in Bangladesh including community radio development giving voices for the voiceless in line with shaping the Future of Media, Information & Entertainment in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) in Bangladesh. www.bnnrc.net

BNNRC has been mobilizing all community radios for developing and broadcasting awareness building programs on COVID-19: Coronavirus contamination to protect lives and livelihoods since March 1, 2020.

Context

COVID-19 has disrupted lives and livelihoods of the communities in 158 countries globally and we are just going to face the same. Bangladesh is the most densely populated developing country where 1,961 people are live in per square kilometer with limited knowledge and health care services.

In the meanwhile, Bangladesh has confirmed three new coronavirus cases taking the total to eight so far and three of them have returned home after recovery. Govt. has shut down all educational institutions until Mar 31, 2020 amid virus scare. The decision was taken as a precautionary measure so that the students have to stay at home. Health Minister has asked the expatriate Bangladeshis, who have returned home recently, and their relatives not to visit mosques for prayers to help stop the spread of coronavirus. He urged people for avoiding mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events and to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.

Government has encouraged to stay at home quarantine those who returns from abroad. But it was observed that some of them are not follow this instruction which is a serious threat for the community.

In this situation, building community awareness is essential and the best option to prevent COVID-19: Coronavirus. Individual initiatives are not sufficient to manage this situation. So need coordinated combine action with multi-stakeholders cooperation- at exceptional scale and speed-can potentially mitigate the risks and impact of this unprecedented crisis. Hence, community radio has been playing a vital role for building the awareness of the community people.

Contribution

The COVID -19 demands cooperation among government, CSOs, local business communities, multi-stakeholders. BNNRC has been mobilizing the stakeholders for social disaster preparedness and Disaster Risks Reduction (DRR) since its inception.

In this perspective, BNNRC has been working on COVID -19 covering with the following issues:

  1. Animate CSOs, Government, health service providers and communities for reinforcing collective action.

  2. Keeping community people’s daily life normal and livelihood function

  3. Mobilize further cooperation among government, CSOs, local market and communities’ response

Approach

BNNRC has also been developed a radio program outline on prevention of COVID-19: Coronavirus by following the update information of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh.

BNNRC has been monitoring the situation 24 hours and coordinating community radio programs centrally and providing support as and when required. One broadcaster in each radio stations was assigned as the focal person to coordinate the special education program. The focal of the community radio stations are- Lutfunnahar Happy, Cell: 01723577740, Radio Chilmari, Kurigram; Akhi Akter, Cell: 01757534092, Sarabela, Gaibandha; Md. Mohaimanul Islam Rafi, Cell: 01773522380, Radio Mukti, Bogra; Rezaul Karim, Cell: 01723967912, Radio Mahananda, Chapainawabgonj, Asad Akand, Cell: 01711283762, Radio Padma, Rajshahi; Md. Masud Rana, Cell: 01744424706, Radio Boral, Bagha, Rajshahi; Md. Imon Hasan, Cell: 01763919073, Radio Jhenuk, Jhenaidah; Mamun Hossain, Cell: 01789511571, Radio Nalta, Satkhira; Md. Salman, Cell: 01771 480457 of Radio Lokobetar, Barguna, Md. Shamim Mridha, Cell: 01713 68 88 89 of Krishi Radio, Amtoli, Barguna; Ms. Konika Rani, Asst. Station Manager, Cell: 01708120390 of Radio Meghna, Charfashion, Bhola; Mr. Afser Hossain, Cell: 01745385680 of Radio Sagor Dwip, Hatiya, Noakhali, Ms. Mohasena Akter Mina, Cell: 01849266558 of Radio Sagor Giri, Sitakund, Chattogram; Mr. Abdul Aziz, Asst. Cell: Radio Naf, Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar, Mr. Md. Al Amin, Cell: 01718199056 of Radio Pollikontho, Moulvibazar and Mr. Moshiur Rahman, Cell: 01614202910 of Radio Bikrampur, Munshigonj.

The contents are mainly about the virus, how COVID-19: Coronavirus spreads, symptoms, precautionary measures including personal awareness and suggestion for sick patients as per the guideline of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), UNICEF in line with WHO COVID-19: Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan OPERATIONAL PLANNING GUIDELINES TO SUPPORT COUNTRY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE.

The radios are broadcasting altogether 20 hours program daily on Corona virus contamination in different formats like- news, Public Service Announcement (PSA), radio spots, radio talks, magazine, drama, jingles, interview and expert opinions etc. The contents of the programs are- how to contaminate, symptoms of the patients, precautionary steps for preventing contamination, service providers, service providing agencies and service delivery points, and the role of community people.

Key findings:

Community Radios stations, as one of the source of information, helping to raise awareness on COVID- 19 and reinforcing Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) by CSOs, Government, health officials and locally elected bodies(LEB).

Community Radio stations are building awareness to change attitudes among community people at different points in their daily lives.

Community Radio stations, as a platform for those who involve in COVID -19 response to update rural communities. They are also providing a channel for two-way communication with community people where listeners are sending SMS or call in with questions.

Community Radio stations have been coordinating with the District and Upazila level Coronavirus Prevention Committees.

Community Radio stations have assigned one broadcaster in each radio stations as the focal person to coordinate COVID – 19 program.

Community Radio stations are broadcasting programs on COVID -19 in local languages or dialects.

Community Radio stations are producing contents which speaks directly to localized issues and concerns, and features trusted local people in a way that nationally or regionally produced content cannot.

Implications:

It is really working and having a very positive effect at the rural communities. Community Radio stations help to reduce the panic of COVID – 19 gradually by broadcasting awareness programs. Now the community people are taking precautionary measures to prevent contamination of COVID – 19. People now understand more about the COVID - 19. Community Radio stations have already been established a well-trusted source of information for rural people of Bangladesh.

Contact

BNNRC has formed a monitoring team consists of 5 members. Mark Manash Saha acts as the Program Coordinator. Cell: +88 01712 144 180, email: mark@bnnrc.net


Bazlu


AHM. Bazlur Rahman-S21BR | Chief Executive Officer |

Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)

[Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations]

Policy Research Fellow , Shaping the Future of Media, Information & Entertainment

in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution(4th IR)

House: 9/4 Road: 2, Shaymoli, Dhaka-1207| Bangladesh|

Phone: +88-02-9130750| 9101479 | +88 01711881647

Fax: 88-02-9138501 | ceo@bnnrc.net | bnnrcbd@gmail.com |

http://www.bnnrc.net