Zaatari Radio is an innovative humanitarian project empowering war-affected communities living in Zaatari, Jordan. In June 2018, we are creating a radio station that will provide the means for war-affected people to overcome the challenges they face as refugees in the region. Bringing together musicians, designers, academics, artists and activists, Zaatari Radio is creating a community of people to support a community of war-affected people in Jordan. During our first month in Jordan we will be working with a local aid agency in Zaatari Village providing radio based workshops for the attendees of their education centre. After this initial month, Zaatari Radio will look to establish itself within the region serving the three project objectives: to broadcast Health Campaigns, to disseminate practical information such as services available to refugees, and to provide a community-hub for musicians living in the area.
The project is in response to top-down approaches to humanitarian aid that treat refugees as vulnerable and passive victims. Alternatively, Zaatari Radio sits at the cutting edge of contemporary approaches to humanitarian work; creating a participatory project that empowers refugees to navigate through challenging environments. We subscribe to a 'bottom-up' approach to refugee work whereby war affected people are at the forefront of this humanitarian response. Through Zaatari Radio refugees are empowered to overcome problems they face, supporting one another along the way due to the social ties created by a community radio base that will foster refugee innovation within war-affected communities.
The aim of Zaatari Radio is to create a self-sustaining, refugee-run radio station to serve the war affected community living in Zaatari, Jordan. The project has three long term objectives: to broadcast Health Campaigns, to disseminate practical information such as services available to refugees, and to provide a platform for musicians living in the area. Furthermore, during our first month in Jordan, we will be working with a local aid agency Acting For Change International, who provide education for refugees living in Zaatari Village. During this time we will work closely with those who attend their lessons, providing an educational process based around radio, focusing particularly on inspiring creativity and health within refugee children. Outside of putting on these workshops, during this first month we will work to establish Zaatari Radio longer term within the region, where we will focus on the three primary objectives of the project.
The theoretical background of Zaatari Radio and our project objectives, is born out of research conducted primarily by the Refugees Studies Centre, Oxford. The role of radio in humanitarian work remains noticeably under-recognised, however the stations that have been established have all been met with an overwhelmingly positive response within Refugee Studies academia. The Refugee Studies Centre pride themselves as a global leader in multidisciplinary research on forced migration, and a number of their publications highlight the transformative role refugee-led radios have had in instigating innovation amongst war-affected communities. Drawing inspiration from these case studies, Zaatari Radio aims to emulate their success, focusing on executing our three primary objectives within the Zaatari region of Jordan.
Objective One: Health Campaigns
UNHCR studies indicate that over 70% of primary medical visits in the Zaatari area were attributed to communicable diseases; illnesses that are spread from person to person due to poor hygiene practices. Through targeted health campaigns, Zaatari Radio aims to change attitudes and behaviours towards hygiene within the Zaatari region, as well as share information regarding early symptoms of illness. Similar radio-based projects have used health campaigns within developing countries to great effect. Development Media International (DMI) research indicates that radio health campaigns can reduce child morality rates by 10%, and are a cheaper and more effective means to save lives than almost all other health interventions.
Drawing inspiration from DMI, we aim to take a similar approach to effective radio health campaigning: creating easily digestible knowledge regarding health, and addressing social and cultural factors that may inhibit changing behaviours to hygiene.
Objective Two: Broadcasting Practical Information
A key criticism of top-down approaches to humanitarian aid is that it creates an imbalance between the supply and demand side of aid. No matter how useful the supply side of aid is (schools, hospitals, teachers), the demand for the services are not created when refugees are treated as passive actors. This has been highlighted as an issue of particular prevalence within refugee population of the Zaatari region. UNHCR research indicates that although many aid agencies offer family planning services around Zaatari region, only 1 in 3 woman of were aware of these services. Furthermore, studies also highlight a lack of awareness for services such as completing immunisation schedules, and psychological support.
Zaatari Radio aims to disseminate important information regarding the refugee population, including the services provided to them throughout the Zaatari region. Similar refugee-led radio stations have also been used for providing news updates and help reunite people by broadcasting new arrivals to refugee settlements.
Objective Three: Community Hub For Musicians
Case studies of refugee run radio stations, researched by the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford, highlight a reoccurring theme: they all provide a community hub for refugee musicians to perform and broadcast. In recognising that refugee musicians are underrepresented within their host countries, many radio stations provide a platform for war-affected musicians to gain recognition to a wider audience.
Zaatari Radio is committed to encourage the development of refugee musicians, and that of the wider arts. We aim to provide the space for musicians and creatives to meet and generate the social connections that are vital to foster innovation among war-affected populations. It is through this social innovation that refugees are able to support each other to overcome the challenges they face.
Working with Acting for Change International
During our first month in Jordan, we will be working with a local aid agency Acting For Change International, who provide education for refugees living in Zaatari Village. We will be providing radio based education and workshops to those who attend Acting for Changes classes within Zaatari Village, aiming to inspire creativity and health within refugee children. After our time with Acting for Change, we will look to establish Zaatari Radio elsewhere within the region, focusing primarily on our three project objectives.
Curriculum with Acting for Change International
Zaatari Radio will be working with Acting for Change for a month, providing a curriculum that specifically looks at teaching the science behind radio broadcasting, and providing educational workshops that inspire creativity and health. We will explore the history of broadcasting, the different purposes of radio, and the science behind broadcasting radio waves. We will build a radio antenna out of recycled material, and work on documenting experiences within Zaatari Village through radio story telling and a photograph led project.
We are also organising refugee musicians living in Zaatari to attend workshops based around their music. Incorporated within these workshops inspiring musical creativity, we will also run lessons around up-cyling materials to musical instruments. Reflected in our overall project goals, we aim to inspire refugee innovation within the attendees of Acting for Change's educational classes. This includes working on radio shows based around changing behaviours toward good hygiene practices, and encouraging participation in healthy activities.
This first month with Acting for Change gives us a unique experience conducting humanitarian work within the Zaatari region which will be existentially vital to ensuring the successful running of Zaatari Radio. We are proudly in a partnership with an established and extremely respected aid agency, whose founder has been working within humanitarian aid in Zaatari since 2011. Acting for Change specialise in providing aid to vulnerable communities, particularly within areas where large agencies fail to provide adequate amounts of humanitarian support. Our project ethos' are extremely well matched, both being committed to community based approaches to aid, investing in the power of refugee communities to overcome the challenges they face, rather relying on humanitarian aid that treats refugees as passive actors.
During our first month working with Acting for Change, we are not only able to provide an educational process to the attendees of their classes, but draw from Acting for Change's expertise of the region, and the refugees living there. Working with Acting for Change offers us a springboard to further success for our project, as we begin to start on the three project objectives after our first month with the agency. Already as the Zaatari Radio Project has been developing, Acting for Change have been providing guidance and expertise of the situation on the ground. For example, through Acting for Change, our work with the agency has been introduced to the local government municipality, who have returned with an overwhelming positive response. We are now working on engaging with the municipality to ensure the successful running of the project with Acting for Change.
Radio health campaigns are herald as a cost-effective means to saves lives, nonetheless we require your pledges to make Zaatari Radio a successful humanitarian project.
The pledges we receive will go towards the equipment needed to broadcast radio. The equipment we will use includes: a 25km radio transmitter, microphones and stands, headphones, mixer interface, and a mixer amp. The choice of equipment offers a degree of professionalism and durability, to ensure reliability whilst in Jordan. Funding will also go towards the accommodation and living costs for our team when in Jordan. This primarily covers accommodation and travel costs. We will be staying in Amman, however Zaatari is a 77km/1 hour drive from the capital. Your pledges will not only go towards funding for the radio equipment, but make sure we are able to travel to Zaatari with this equipment to ensure the successful running of the station along the project objectives. We will be hiring a car from a local company for the first two months in Jordan to secure easy travel to Zaatari from the Capital whenever needed to manage the running of the project.
The project was initiated by Tom Critchley after graduating from a Research Masters in Security Studies at UCL in 2017. Whilst studying at UCL, Tom specialised in human security and refugee studies, particularly inspired by approaches to humanitarian work that empower war-affected communities. During this time at UCL Tom focused his studies in the refugee population of Jordan, and the work of The Refugee Studies Centre. After graduating with a Distinction, Tom contacted Acting for Change International and began working on Zaatari Radio.
After undertaking the project, Tom reached out to two close friends to ensure that Zaatari Radio would be run as successfully as possible: Clare Thompson and Liam Evans. Liam Evans has been working as a sound engineer for over 5 years, and has been overseeing the technical side of the project. During his experiences working in music technology, Liam has gained valuable knowledge to ensure the smooth running of the technical side of the project.
Clare Thompson graduated from Goldsmiths studying Design with a First Class Honours. Her particular area of expertise was investigating the complex and knotty legal framework of occupying space. Since then, Clare has been working on a number of humanitarian projects with DUF Space and Systems of Systems, as well as tutoring workshops at Goldsmiths. Clare has experience in working in refugee camps in Calais and Greece, understanding the complexities that may rise from working within these high pressured environments.
Between us we are a well-balanced team that covers the major cornerstones of a successful radio based humanitarian project. Drawing from our own unique skill set, as well as our abilities to adapt to an ever changing environment, we will work together to ensure the successful establishment and running of Zaatari Radio.
Zaatari Radio Podcast Series
We host a podcast series podcast series in which we speak to the musicians, designers, academics, artists and activists, who support our project. Here we speak to DUF Space, a group of designers conducting humanitarian work in Calais and Greece
Where to Follow Our Work
We highly reccommend following our work in the lead up to travelling to Jordan, and of course whilst we are running the radio station.
Our Website is: https://www.radiozaatari.com/
Our Instagram is: https://www.instagram.com/radiozaatari/
We also run a podcast series in which we speak to the musicians, designers, academics, artists and activists, who support our project: https://soundcloud.com/radiozaatari
Risks and challenges
Before deciding to launch this Kickstarter we carefully assessed any risks and challenges we may face throughout this project.
Thankfully, we are well placed in assessing how successful we will be thanks to our ties with Acting for Change. Not only are we provided with regularly reports on the situation in Zaatari, but have been introduced to the local government municipality who have responded extremely positively to Zaatari Radio. We have been assured by the local municipality that any issues arising with equipment transportation and visa will be resolved through them. Regarding the longer term objectives of the project, we have opened up at dialogue with UNHCR Jordan to work on this, and are in talks regarding their involvement and support with the project and our objectives.
As a team we cover the theoretical, practical and on-ground experience, regarding the project. And with the connections we have made already in Zaatari, we are confident that we will be able to work around any problems that may arise whilst we are carrying out the project.
Finance is crucial to the project. In order to make Zaatari Radio a reality, we rely on your pledges to fund the equipment and costs for its establishment for the first two months in Jordan. Our financial aim is the minimum required, and any further money donated with ensure high quality equipment and more time in Jordan to work with Acting for Change and on ensuring the success and longevity of Zaatari Radio.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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