Following the earthquake that hit the Colombian town of Armenia in January 1999, a local NGO, Viva la Ciudadanía, has started a multi-media project to aid the reconstruction, involving radio, TV and newspapers. A model that is earmarked for peacebuilding as well.
Radio is the major component with news and magazine programming, plus a soap opera called Los Nuevos Vecinos (Our New Neighbours). The soap’s writers are a creative group of five people living in the camps or temporary housing. Focus groups are being created in different parts of the affected area to discuss what needs to be said by the characters in the soap opera. The actors are also people of the affected community.
In addition, there are community correspondents who have been trained in radio and writing workshops so they can provide copy for the radio magazine and the newspaper. These correspondents are drawn from a wide range of society – youth groups, senior citizens’ clubs and community leaders.
Phone-ins encourage listeners to comment on what they have heard. The project was started to counter the lack of information about the reconstruction process, with the national media concentrating only in corruption and other dramatic events.
The project organisers have succeeded on enlisting commercial and community radio’s co-operation in broadcasting the programmes at the same time, so the entire affected area is being reached. The plan is to use this project as a model for the peace-building process elsewhere in the country.
For more information see: http://viva.org.co/
 DFID ‘Working with the Media in Conflicts and other Emergencies’ 2000 http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/C8ECCFBA7563F7F4C1256D570049D0B4-DID-mediaandconflict-aug02.pdf