Internews has been present in Haiti since 2006 and works closely with national media partners and in coordination with the Haitian government, as well as with national and international humanitarian and development communities.
Internews’ Humanitarian Information Service in Haiti, which ran from October 2016 to February 2017, was a DFID funded humanitarian project with the goal to improve the quality of timely and actionable information exchanges with Haitian communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. Internews’ two-way communication model relied on gathering feedback from affected populations in order to directly address the issues that concern them the most, and to help humanitarian partners integrate their concerns into their programming and interventions. Through partner coordination and training, on-the-ground teams conducted data gathering and rumor tracking for feedback-based publications targeted to the affected population and for a humanitarian audience.
During the project, Internews partnered with the Emergency and Telecommunication Cluster (ETC) to rehabilitate four radio stations in some of the areas most affected by Hurricane Matthew (Dame Marie & Anse d’Ainault in Grande Anse; Tiburon in the South; and Nippes) and to provide the stations with basic power and information technology support, which enabled them to create, receive and transmit content.
This initiative complemented humanitarian efforts in Haiti to provide information to the affected population, by giving community leaders, local authorities, and relevant NGOs the opportunity to leverage the rehabilitated radio stations to broadcast coordinated messages and encourage dialogue on pressing issues affecting local communities.
On a practical level, rehabilitating radios expanded the audience reach of local radio stations, who provide essential information and communication channels to affected communities. For example, when Dame Marie’s local station did its own makeshift repairs after the hurricane, it was able to reach close to 30,000 people. After rehabilitation, this station was able to reach an additional 93,000 people approximately; meaning a total of more than 120,000, considerably improving the reach of vital information in the affected communities.
This case study shows how this collaboration was possible and what we learned, with the intention to strengthen the kind of relationships that align the ETC commitment to provide connectivity to communities in affected areas and the Internews mission to provide verified and targeted information to the same communities.
Banner photo by United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)