ABU Radio in a Box to support community development and DRR: A modern example of its use in the Philippines
The ABU was invited to the Cagayan district capital Tuguegarao in the north-east of the Philippines to demonstrate its portable radio station. During the four day workshop “Skills Development for the Future”, there was great interest shown in the deployment of the ABU Radio in a Box (RiB)in high schools and remote villages for delivering media literacy, health education and farming advice to students and rural communities.
The workshop was organized by the Courseline Training Center with support from ASEAN and the Cagayan local educational and agricultural authorities. The Director of the Center, Ms Elizabeth Mendoza, thanked the ABU team – Ms Natalia Ilieva, Executive Assistant to the SG and Mr Nguyen Tanh Nam, Specialist Engineer, for introducing to the enthusiastic audience not only the technical aspects of the RiB and its usefulness in disaster situations, but also the concept of using RiB for community education and developing new skills for students.
Score of renowned speakers emphasized the importance of changing the “skills box” of young people to embrace new technology and new professional avenues like media, digital photography and e-commerce. It was recognized that the ABU RiBox could be used to kick – start a wide media literacy campaign in the region.
Much time was spent on how RiB could reach all communities with early warnings and life-saving information. Mr Leoncio Lumaban, Education Program Supervisor, Cagayan Valley Region, noted that Early Warnings and Disaster Risk Reduction is already a module in the high-school curriculum and the learning process could be complimented by campus radios.
The Congressman for 3rd District of Cagayan Mr. Randolph Ting, who joined the workshop on the last day, echoed the views of the previous speakers on the use of RiB in disaster situations and for community empowerment. He said that in the past few years the region has experienced more flash floods than ever. There is a new programme to make schools evacuation centers by building second floors to the existing premises. The other functions of the schools could be to become disaster preparedness centers and community educational facilities. Congressman Mr Randolph Ting was convinced that the ABU Radio in the Box could be instrumental in reaching these goals in a very short time.
Radio in a Box a portable radio stations with coverage of 5 – 20 km radius. It is a joint project of ABU and UNESCO. RiB was developed after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami as a back-up for broadcasting stations. Gradually, its potential as a community learning facility was recognized and ABU is working with several countries to put this useful technology to the benefit of young people and their wider communities.