Bridging Knowledge Gaps: Media Training in Disaster Reporting

UNDP Albania

April 22, 2024
Bridging Knowledge Gaps: Media Training in Disaster Reporting

In response to the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that shook Albania on November 26, 2019, UNDP swiftly mobilized expertise to support the country in coping with the disaster. The Resilience Strengthening in Albania project (RESEAL) emerged from this effort, funded by the governments of Sweden and Portugal and implemented in partnership with the Albanian Ministry of Defence and the National Civil Protection Agency. 

This collaborative project culminated in the official approval by the Albanian government of the National Disaster Risk Assessment, National Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Strategy and its Action Plan, and National Civil Emergency Plan, closely aligning with the Sendai Framework and European Union Civil Protection Mechanism requirements. Commitment and engagement of national, regional and local institutions and authorities has been a guarantee for the national ownership of these processes. Furthermore, significant progress has been made at the prefecture and municipal levels, with the preparation and official approval of Local Disaster Risk Assessments for the Prefecture of Fier and six municipalities within its jurisdiction namely Fier, Lushnje, Roskovec, Patos, Mallakaster and Divjaka. These key documents help local authorities to strengthen its preparedness and response capabilities from the grassroots level upwards.

In partnership with the Civil Protection Agency, UNDP initiated a series of media training sessions with journalists. The initiative aimed to bridge the knowledge gap in media reporting on disaster risk reduction. The event commenced with a two-day gathering in Fier, encompassing media training and field visits. Local and national journalists were equipped with the necessary tools, knowledge, and perspectives to report on disasters accurately and responsibly, thereby fostering a more informed and resilient society and community. The first day focused on the operational framework of Civil Protection at both central and local levels, alongside the crucial role of media. 

During the event, arrange of topics were covered including ethical considerations in disaster journalism, building resilience through community engagement, inter-agency collaboration for effective disaster management, and enhancing public awareness and education on disaster risk management.

The second day saw participants visit Pishe Poro, a forest area frequently affected by wildfires. They observed and discussed the aftermath of such disasters, as well as the intervention strategies employed by local civil protection structures and national authorities, including the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism. Important recovery measures taken by the local authorities to help restore the area affected by wildfires. The event was enriched by the active participation of school children who engaged in discussions regarding the crucial role youth can play in disaster response and mitigation efforts. Emphasizing the importance of integrating disaster risk reduction education into school curricula, the children presented arguments, underscoring the necessity for updated educational frameworks to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate and mitigate the impacts of disasters effectively. Additionally, the event facilitated fruitful exchanges between the children and key stakeholders, including local government representatives responsible for disaster risk management, as well as international development partners such as SIDA and UNDP. 

During the event, participants said:

Haki Cako, Head of National Agency of Civil Protection: The fires in Pishe Poro remind us of the need for cooperation in protecting our environment. Let’s unite and prepare for the upcoming tourism season together!

Petra Burcher, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Sweden: “Disasters affect us all equally. Each of us has a role to play, start by planning with your family on how to react. Be prepared, be proactive”.

Francisco Roquette, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP in Albania: “We must adapt to what will now be the norm. Always be prepared and ready to respond to emergencies”.

Anita Jaho 17 years old: I think it's crucial for our generation to receive better education on disasters. The school curricula lack sufficient information on this topic. We need to be informed, not scared, so that we can be empowered with the knowledge to navigate challenging situations confidently.