Starting in 2018, Internews began implementing Information Saves Lives: Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help existing organizations disseminate reliable information and empower communities to be agents in their own survival and recovery. Internews developed an Ebola-focused two-way communication framework in close collaboration with Ministry of Health Response coordination bodies. As part of the program, 25 local community radio journalists and four community liaison officers collect questions, preoccupations, and rumours from the population through the organization of meetings with community leaders (such as traditional leaders, healers, and women and youth groups), listeners’ clubs and public debates, and then directly answer these questions through meetings with the community, media content (PSAs and the Koma Ebola daily 10-minute radio news bulletin), and non-media content (including events and posters).
In December 2019, Internews launched, “Tulivyo Sikia” (“What we heard,” in Swahili), a weekly rumour tracking bulletin that gathers reactions and concerns from communities on the response to Ebola. This newsletter serves to close the feedback loop and is an important tool for aid workers in the field and local media in their engagement with communities affected by the crisis.
This program is funded by the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), The Paul Allen Foundation and the H2H Network. It includes partnerships with community radio network CORACON (Collectif des Radios et Télévisions communautaires du Nord Kivu) and the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent (IFRC).