Latin America and the Caribbean

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Internews Plays a Vital Role in Haiti Radio

The crippling earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti in early 2010 did more than just destroy houses and lives. By damaging Haiti’s infrastructure, the quake also obstructed the nation’s main sources of news and information. Internews, one of the many organizations on the ground, began to train and support journalists in Haiti to establish a radio system that aided in the city’s reconstruction. This article shows how radio was and still is critical to the reconstruction and growth of Haiti. Radio served as the primary method to communicate the population’s specific needs to the international community. This media outlet also played a leading role in helping the Haitian people find hope while rebuilding what they had lost.

“Internews Plays Vital Role in Haiti Radio.” Internews. 3 April 2012. Web. 2 July 2012. <http://www.internews.org/our-stories/earthquake/internews-plays-vital-role-haiti-radio>.

 

Ushahidi: giving citizens the power to put news on the map

In times of humanitarian emergencies, the need for international connection and communication is critical. A new media technology, Ushahidi, makes this communication feasible. Developed by Ory Okolloh, who aimed to address the rising conflict in her home country of Kenya, Ushahidi is a cell phone application (“app”) that enables the user to text information about a recent incident. The location of the text-message sender is then pinpointed on a world map, letting the international community know where the most pressing crises are occurring. Especially notable is the fact that Ushahidi does not require any Internet connection, which overcomes a previously impassable barrier to international communication.

Halliday, Josh. “Ushahidi: giving citizens the power to put news on the map” The Guardian. 15 August 2010. Web. 11 July 2012. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/16/ushahidi-haiti-news-map>.

 

TechnoTalk – What good is ‘crowd-sourcing’ when everyone needs help?

Author Tim Large presents a unique perspective in this article. Most would agree that technology is critical for solving modern humanitarian crises, but Large points out that many of these people are also beginning to regard technology as a universal remedy for all world problems. Relief groups are championing new mapping techniques, like Ushahidi, to accurately locate the sites of emergencies. But how useful are these individual points on a map? Aid is delivered wholesale in large volumes because everyone in a devastated region needs help. Individual assistance is nearly impossible. Therefore, individual users of new mapping technologies, like Ushahidi, are being given a false sense of hope. They treat Ushahidi as a lifeline, not as the general international indicator that it is. Large implies that advancements in technology do not necessarily lead to advancements in disaster relief.

Large, Tim. “TechnoTalk – What good is ‘crowd-sourcing’ when everyone needs help?” AlertNet. 29 March 2012. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://www.trust.org/alertnet/blogs/technotalk/what-good-is-crowd-sourcing-when-everyone-needs-help/>.

 

Still Left in the Dark?

Disasters and humanitarian crises breed fear and hopelessness. Survivors feel as if they are cut off from the world and incapable of reaching out for help. This document specifically addresses the Haiti earthquake efforts and examines how different forms of communication, including radio and social media, are being used to bridge the gap between those affected by a disaster and those trying to help. From the fear and the hopelessness spawned by a disaster, communication raises people’s spirits, makes them feel connected and safe, and gives them a voice.

“Still Left in the Dark?” BBC Media Action. March 2012. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/mediaaction/policybriefing/bbc_media_action_still_left_in_the_dark_policy_briefing.pdf>.

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