Iloilo Movers conduct citizen journalism training for Yolanda survivors
Iloilo Movers conduct citizen journalism training for Yolanda survivors
Through the training, community facilitators from Iloilo's Yolanda-hit areas get a better understanding on the work of media and learn that they, too, can be channels of information as citizen journalists

ILOILO, Philippines – MovePH’s community in Iloilo conducted a citizen journalism workshop for community facilitators of Super Typhoon Yolanda-hit areas in the province as part of the “Rebuilding for the Better” project by Iloilo CODE-NGO.

The participants to the training-workshop were 5 project staff members and 25 community facilitators from the coastal municipalities of Concepcion, Carles and Estancia – all in Iloilo’s 5th district which was heavily hit by the super typhoon in November 2013.

The team from Iloilo Movers were composed of Gem Rose Cavalida, Russel Jude Patina and Ted Ong who served as resource persons and facilitators in the 2-day training-workshop.

The topics that were presented and discussed were the following: Social Change Campaign, Communications Campaign, Media Advocacy, News Writing and Media Relations, Citizens Journalism and Social Media, and Photojournalism.

“Rebuilding for the Better” is funded by Christian Aid. It involves natural resource management, renewable energy, housing in small islands, and livelihood intervention using the concept of a Community Managed Savings and Credit Association or CoMSCA.

‘Informal school of communications’

The materials used in the presentation were developed by Bobby Deciembre, former communications campaigns officer of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC). It was used by Deciembre and Ong in various capacity-building activities on communications for FDC. It was later improved to become more applicable to the various communications needs of civil society organizations (CSOs).

The communications tool was originally conceptualized as a 5-day informal course in order to provide development workers an in-depth look at how the media works, and how to make effective media materials.

It was intended to improve the understanding of CSOs on the important role that communications play in their work and how it can be used more effectively to make the public understand how their work contributes to development and nation-building.

The making of citizen journalists 

At the end of the training-workshop, the participants were able to share their experiences during Typhoon Yolanda through storytelling and news writing.

Most of them said learning the formula and techniques in journalism gave them a simplified guide on how to write about issues in their communities and how the project intervention by Christian Aid and Iloilo CODE-NGOs had improved their way of life after Typhoon Yolanda.

Writing their stories in Hiligaynon language allowed the participants to express their emotions into words more accurately. They also learned from each other by critiquing their work and through the output of other participants.

Through the training, participants acquired a better understanding on the work of media and learned that they, too, can be channels of information as citizen journalists.

It is not the first time that MovePH and Iloilo CODE-NGOs became partners in a development endeavor.

The first collaborative effort between Rappler and Iloilo CODE-NGOs was on Project Agos for Iloilo, a platform developed by the online media organization that combines top-down government action to help communities mitigate risks and deal with climate change and natural hazards. – with reports from Ted Ong, Russel Jude Patina and Gem Rose Cavalida/ 

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