UNESCO Educates Rural Broadcasters on Anti-Ebola Messages

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Though there are reports confirming a considerable reduction in the spread of the dangerous Ebola virus disease (EVD) at various treatment units ETUs), the government and its international partners are not taking the Ebola fight for granted.

To contribute to the fight, UNESCO’s Monrovia office on October 22 and 23, 2014, trained over 40 community-based radio broadcasters.

The two-day training, which was conducted in Gbarnga, Bong County, was held under the theme, “Enhancing Broadcasters’ Skills in the Fight against EVD.”

The training, which was ‘intensive’ took into consideration several Ebola preventive measures, including the regular hand washing, avoiding over crowdedness, etc.

The officer-in-charge (OIC) of Monrovia office, Stevenson Seidi, in his opening remarks on Wednesday underscored opportunities the training provided, because of the basic skills in the Ebola preventive messages relative to the rural communities in Liberia.

According to Mr. Seidi, the idea to educate rural broadcasters, who are mainly managers of rural-based community radios, was to customize some of their anti-Ebola messages in their respective localities; how to develop those messages in their [own] languages; more importantly, to vet (scrutinize, evaluate) what sorts of messages they will put out on the radio for the listening audience.

The training was held with the objective to enhance rural broadcasters’ skills in the presentation of EVD messages appropriately and professional; to develop EVD messages in common ‘Liberian’ English and local languages;   and to conduct a model presentation of EVD on radios with focus on the rural parts of the country.

The training was also designed  to create community awareness and promote behaviorial change about the EVD and the risk factors, prevention and control in the community and to disseminate the risk factors and prevention messages of Ebola in the course of three months.

Earlier, in his official opening remark, Deputy Information Minister for Technical Services, Robert W. Kpadeh, expressed gratitude to the crafters of the training, “because the exercise will propel the broadcasters to disseminate messages to prevent the spread of Ebola.

He re-echoed government’s call on all to fight the EVD, and also assured the broadcasters that with the collective efforts in the fight, Liberia ill eventually prevail.”

He meanwhile challenged the over the 40 participants to go out and serve as ambassadors by spreading their acquired knowledge to their various  audiences in the fight against Ebola.

Participants were lectured individually by facilitators from IREX, UNICEF, WHO and facilitators from other professional areas.

They learned about the importance of telling the Ebola story, which has now become a global issue.

The participants were told to apply all necessary safety rules as they go about visiting some of the Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), follow burial teams for interviews, etc.

They also learned about the how the virus is transmitted; avoidance of contact with bodily fluids of anyone showing symptoms of the disease, among other things.

Participants’ representative, Nyahn Flomo and the president for the Association of Liberia Community Radio (ALICOR) William Quire, expressed gratitude to UNESCO and the facilitators for the level of education they impacted unto the participants during the education training.

 The two managers called on UNESCO to strengthen the rural radio stations in several other areas, including funding, conducting listeners’ surveys and improving the level of anti-Ebola-related messages.

The participants promised to share the acquired acknowledge from the training with their colleagues who did not have the opportunity to be part of the UNESCO training.    

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