Reinforcing cooperation in Tanzania to fight COVID19 at community-level

UNESCO representative, Tirso Dos Santos and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports have met to discuss key areas in the advancement of information, arts, culture and sports in the country, all which are within UNESCO mandate to support within the UN framework.

Top of the agenda was collaboration for urgent action to reinforce government efforts to ensure quality and timely information to all, particularly populations in rural and hard to areas, in response to the corona pandemic. The crisis has seen rising numbers of people affected in the past weeks and death. Provisional support will develop and disseminate key messages to counter misinformation and hate speech, debunk myths, tackle racism and promote the application of resources for education and distance learning, protection of journalists and facilitate quality, gender responsive and accurate programming by media, particularly the community radios.

In agreed actions, community radios are to benefit from strengthened cooperation with the ministry to ensure their sustainability. Community radios provide a critical and much needed service in access and delivery of information to citizens, particularly in rural and hard to reach areas. In the COVID19 crisis, the radios will be a critical medium for effective risk communication and communication engagement within the national response framework.

UNESCO in Tanzania is implementing the Empowering Local Radios with ICTs for the promotion of Rural Citizens Participation in Democratic Discourse and Development funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The Project aims to strengthen the sustainability of local radios to ensure the timely delivery of quality, accurate, gender responsive and cultural appropriate information to the public, particularly those in rural and hard to reach areas.

UNESCO and the ministry agreed on key actions for increased partner and stakeholder participation, policy action and resource mobilization for media development, access to information, safety of journalists and citizen’s engagement in the country. Better-defined modalities for collaboration in the implementation of the UN Development Assistance Plan and celebration of international days –World Radio Day, World Press Freedom Day, International Day for Universal Access to Information and International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists will guide cooperation for improved and more inclusive outcomes.