Internews empowers sailors in fight against cholera

(Internews' radio project in the Central African Republic is cited in this article from CUNY Journalism Press.)

This World Radio Day, Internews – an international non-profit that was co-founded by our author David Hoffman – is celebrating a project that’s taken the fight against cholera to the airwaves.

In the Central African Republic, where an outbreak of cholera last summer threatened communities along the Oubangui River, river boat drivers have been broadcasting a radio program that instructs locals on prevention and containment of the disease.

This article in Medium details the initiative, which saw the local sailors partnering with Internews and the Network of Journalists for Human Rights, which produced the initial radio program, entitled “Go Away Cholera.”

As a major form of transportation among river communities, the boats were in a unique position to spread information through broadcasts to their passengers.

Drivers say they were pleased to take part in the awareness campaign:

“This is the first time that an organization has included us in the fight against cholera,” said Anatole Crispin Prince Ngbokotto, president of an association of river boat drivers. “No one has included us in the well-being of our people despite the fact that it is our pirogues (a long narrow boat made from a single tree trunk) and canoes that transport the sick to Bangui.”

Internews, which was founded in 1982, works to expand access to information by providing training and support to local media and citizen journalists around the world.

Learn more about their mission, and the way technology is giving voice to often disempowered citizens around the world, with Hoffman’s book “Citizens Rising.”

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