Sensitizing radio managers to media's responsibility in conflict situations and training journalists to become trainers themselves: these are the two aims of the joint project between DW Akademie and Maison des Médias.
Chad is facing immense social and political challenges. Clashes between farmers and livestock breeders over the use of diminishing farmland are compounded by the needs of a rapidly growing population. External conflicts are also threatening to destabilize the entire region: Chad troops are active in Mali, refugees have flooded in from Sudan, and the radical Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram is posing a threat.
The media can either fuel conflicts like these or defuse them through conflict-sensitive reporting. Over the next 18 months DW Akademie together with its new Chad partner, the Maison des Médias (MMT) institute, will provide additional training for journalists as well as consulting for station managers from conflict-ridden areas. The EU-sponsored project aims to contribute to short and long-term conflict reduction and prevention. "You can effectively counter existing conflicts by promoting dialogue and independent journalism," says DW Akademie project manager Johann Müller.
Spokespeople for peace and dialogue
Chad media workers will soon be able to take basic or advanced training at the MMT. Located in the country's capital, N'Djamena, the institute, says Müller has a good network and is a very suitable partner. DW Akademie will also be on site to coach the institute itself and, at the EU level, help position it as a media development organization.
The six partner stations of DW Akademie and Maison des Médias in their respective regions: radio Brakos in Mandoul, radio Lotiko in Moyen-Chari, radio Kadai in Lac, radio Al Moural in Batha, radio Sila in Sila and radio Absoun in Wadi Fira
In May DW Akademie will conduct the first train-the trainer workshop for journalists. "The workshop will introduce participants to various teaching methods and will also train them to become spokespeople for conflict reduction," says Carine Debrabandère, DW Akademie trainer and regional coordinator for Central Africa. Most participants are based in N'Djamena and following the workshop will go on to conduct in-house training at partner stations in conflict-ridden areas.
DW Akademie will continue to support the new trainers and will also conduct a workshop specifically designed for station managers. The focus will be on the media’s role in conflict situations as well as the media’s ethical responsibilities. By professionalizing journalists and managers, says Müller, the aim is to improve access to, and the distribution of, independent information. This, he hopes, will support a constructive dialogue between conflicting parties and thus play a role in the country's overall stabilization process.