First launched in March 2010, Bravos do Zambeze (‘Zambezi Braves’) is a multi-faceted initiative that combined a 26-episode radio drama produced in 2 languages with training for community radio journalists, in order to convey information around disaster risk reduction and floods, as well as build local capacity for reporting on disasters and climate change.
They were getting ready for the big game. He sounded the warning; they thought he was joking. And when it happened, they risked losing it all! As the waters rise, so do the treachery, conflicts and dangers.
The drama was produced for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as part of the UN Delivering as One, Joint Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction Project. Given the success of “Bravos do Zambeze” CMFD and IOM are re-released an adapted and translated version of the drama for the Limpopo Valley.
The story focuses on a village soccer team captain, Jose, and his girlfriend Suzanne. In season one, the village is hit by a terrible flood that finds the community completely unprepared. Jose and his team must try to get the villagers to safety. The season deals with the immediate aftermath of flooding, issues around displacement, what can happen if people are not prepared, and the importance of sticking together as a community. Season two of Bravos deals mainly with the process of rebuilding, as well as the importance of adapting to the reality of increasingly frequent and severe weather patterns. The aim in this season is to communicate specific, useful information about longer-term disaster management and planning, including farming and building techniques that are more disaster-resistant, and preparing an evacuation plan for future emergencies.
The drama, which includes a lively, original theme song, was produced in Portuguese and Sena, the local language most prevalent in the target area – the Zambezi floodplain. However, the drama was distributed to radio stations across the country, focusing on areas prone to flooding. The theme song for the drama was co-written by local Mozambican parliamentarian and musician Isaú Meneses, and uses a combination of carefully written lyrics and catchy beats to take the messages further.
Click here for a detailed character and storyline outline.
What's been said:
"The characters do know how to get people’s attention and that’s very important when you want [to give] advice or alert someone.” "The old man Domingo, he reminded me of my dad who also suffered in a flood situation. He didn’t want to listen in the beginning."
"They would like [this drama] because that’s exactly what happens when floods occur."
"…people who hear the story can learn something, and will know how to help those who are in danger."
In preparation for the project, CMFD conducted a series of case studies among residents of Ndambuenda, a resettlement neighbourhood in Zambezia Province, who were forced to leave their home villages because of flooding. Respondents were asked to recount what happened to them during the flood, how they were affected, what they were able to salvage, how they feel now, and what, if anything, they would do differently next time. Most respondents reported losing everything to the flood. Many noted that there was a lack of solidarity or coordination between villagers, and that people were often out for themselves. Some also reported not taking the flood seriously at first and waiting too long to leave their homes. These case studies helped inform and shape the key themes in the drama.
In between production of season one and season two, CMFD organised and conducted a five-day workshop with six community radio stations within the Zambezi River region. The workshop included a number of presentations from organisations working on disaster risk reduction in the area, as well as practical training on creating radio features. Journalists were able to interview presenters, make important contacts for future reporting. They were also given copies of Bravos do Zambeze – along with a guide booklet to help them develop call-in shows, talk shows and reports around the drama – to play on their stations.
ResponseFeedback from a focus group discussion conducted on the drama, as well as evaluations from actors provides a positive indication that this drama will help people affected by floods cope with their situation and bring about change. One focus group participant said that “people who hear the drama will learn something, and will know how to help those who are in danger.” Another said that “I [learned that] every time there is an emergency situation, we shouldn’t wait around until it gets worse.” Moreover, both focus group participants and actors felt they could identify with the characters, even relating several of the characters to people they knew who had gone through similar situations.