How to plan and produce effective emergency response programming for farmers

| March 13, 2017

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This week’s Resource is a Broadcaster how-to guide on emergency response programming.

An emergency can be defined as a situation in which extreme natural or human-made conditions—such as droughts, floods, earthquakes, severe storms, mudslides, disease outbreaks, conflict and violence, pest infestations, and other disasters—severely disrupt life and call for immediate action.

Emergency response programming for farmers is radio programming that helps farmers to:

  • prepare for the emergency,
  • survive as well as possible during the emergency, and
  • consider ways to change their farming practices so that future emergencies cause less damage to their farms and livelihoods.

How can emergency response programming help me serve my listeners better?

  • It prepares listeners with detailed information about a predicted emergency.
  • It provides listeners with important information about services that are available to help them cope during and after an emergency.
  • It helps communities share their coping strategies before, during, and after the emergency.
  • It helps communities identify activities, including farming activities, that they can act on before, during, and after an emergency to reduce the risk and impact of similar emergencies.
  • It can provide valuable feedback to emergency aid and relief providers.

How can emergency response programming help me produce better programs?

  • It helps me understand how my community responds in stressful situations.
  • It helps me identify officials and organizations where I can get valuable information for my listeners.
  • It helps me identify citizens who can provide calm and useful leadership in stressful situations.
  • It gives me an opportunity to help many farmers discuss their situation and decide what steps they should take in the short and longer terms to improve rural resilience.

How do I get started?

  • Understand the different stages of an emergency and the programming required in each stage.
  • Contact the right people in organizations that can provide you with the information you need to broadcast. Ensure also that you are in contact with any national or regional coalitions or groups of agencies and institutions which take the lead in emergency situations.
  • Keep your listeners at the centre of your programs.
  • Avoid sensationalism.
  • Plan ahead, but be prepared to adjust your programming if other more urgent needs arise.
  • Plan for your station’s operational survival during an emergency.
  • Use formats that are appropriate for the information you want to convey and the appropriate stage of the emergency for your listeners.