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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
17 May 2009

UNRWA 60 years - "Fresh Air” developing refugee radio programming

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On 8 December 2009, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, will be sixty years old: an occasion for sober reflection but also an opportunity to highlight the Agency's service and achievements during six decades of work alongside millions of Palestine refugees. The anniversary presents UNRWA with a chance to reposition itself among development and humanitarian actors in the Middle East and transmit some powerful messages about the contribution - past and future - that the Agency has and will make to the prosperity and stability of the region. It provides an opportunity to enter into renewed efforts for resource mobilization to fulfill UNRWA's mandate.

This project will promote the use of radio and comedy as tools for collective recovery and for building individual and community resilience. Radio has a broad audience within Palestinian communities, especially in refugee camps. As such, it is perceived as an effective and relevant medium for reaching the widest possible sections of society. BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) trainers will work with local radio stations on the production of a stream of satirical programmes informed by collected testimonies from the various Palestinian communities and refugee camps. International and local scriptwriters will work on ensuring the correct messages are portrayed through the programmes and will train and mentor young scriptwriters in the skills of messaging and scriptwriting. These programmes will be broadcast through a number of radio stations in the OPT and regionally to ensure widest reach to refugee and host country audiences. UNRWA, the main service provider in the OPT and Palestinian refugee camps in the region since 1950, has had limited engagement with the media at a working level as a means to propogate its messages and deliver its services. Through partnership with the BBC World Service Trust UNRWA would ensure that public health issues in refugee camps in the West Bank and the Region are collectively and widely addressed through the innovative use of radio programming.

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