Community communication as a tool for capacity building

Community communication as a tool for capacity building
2022. Group of young indigenous journalists trained in community health communication in the Department of Vaupés, Colombia. Photo: Wilber Caballero © Sinergias ONG

Community communication as a tool for capacity building

Access to quality and timely information, as well as intercultural representation in the media, has been one of Colombia’s historical debts to the indigenous populations and inhabitants of the Amazon region. Other deficiencies, such as connectivity problems and access to a constant signal or local production of investigative content, denunciation, or construction of memory, influence this scenario.

Problems with communication have been evident in the exclusionary way the national media have narrated socio-environmental conflicts in the region or during the Covid-19 pandemic, which did not generate communications with a differential approach to communities.

For those reasons, Sinergias has worked on strengthening local community communication capacities, starting with a project showing information about Covid-19 from a differential and intercultural perspective through local community radio stations. Sinergias is currently working on a training process for indigenous journalists to create, edit, and produce local stories by communities in Vaupés, Caquetá, Putumayo, and Chocó.

A process that has allowed the identification of the communities’ interests in telling their own story through different formats such as photography, text, video, or audio, and in strengthening through communication other issues of local importance such as indigenous governance, intercultural health or women’s leadership among others, as well as the construction of collectives of local communicators.