Broadcaster how-to guide: Effective emergency response programming for farmers

| October 15, 2018

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This week’s Farmer stories from Zambia and Ghana talk about weather-related services that, respectively, guide farmer’s monthly activities and provide accurate daily forecasts.

But sometimes weather is more extreme and part of a broadcaster’s job is to provide warnings and essential information. Today’s Script of the week is a Broadcaster how-to guide on providing effective emergency programming for farmers.

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

Emergency response programs help farmers prepare for an emergency, survive as well as possible during an emergency, and consider ways to change their farming practices so that future emergencies cause less damage to their farms and livelihoods.

Effective emergency programming:

  • Prepares listeners for a predicted emergency by providing detailed information.
  • Provides listeners with important information about services that are available to help them cope during and after an emergency.
  • Helps communities share their coping strategies before, during, and after the emergency.
  • 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.
  • Can provide valuable feedback to emergency aid and relief providers.

It helps broadcasters:

  • Understand how their community responds in stressful situations.
  • Identify officials and organizations where they can get valuable information for their listeners.
  • Identify citizens who can provide calm and useful leadership in stressful situations.
  • Talk to many farmers to discuss their situation, and decide what steps they should take in the short and longer terms to improve rural resilience.

The Broadcaster how-to guide is organized around seven key points:

  • 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.
  • 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.