Mozambique – Bravos do Zambeze


  1. Title of your Project

Bravos do Zambeze

  1. Name of organisation

The project was initiated and funded by the International Organisation for Migration as part of the UN Delivering as One Joint Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction, and implemented and produced by CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions.

  1. Location of project

Community: Villages within the Zambezi River floodplain
Province: Tete, Zambezia, Sofala
Country: Mozambique

  1. Project duration

Project started: May 2009
Project finished (if applicable): February 2010

  1. Contact information

Name of contact person: Deborah Walter
Name of organisation: CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions
Detailed address: PO Box 66193, Broadway, Bez Valley, Johannesburg, 2001
Phone: +27 (0)11 615 6278
Fax: +27 (0)11 614 6903
Website of your project (if different): –

  1. Summary of practice

The short-term objectives of the project were: to produce a two-season serial radio drama to raise awareness of issues related to disaster risk reduction, including vulnerabilities that are intensified with internal displacement of people, and climate change adaptation; and to hold a week-long participatory workshop for radio journalists in order to build their capacity to report on issues related to natural disasters and climate change.

In the long term, the project aimed to encourage disaster preparedness among communities living in the Zambezi flood plain; ensure that they had sound information about responding to emergencies; and encourage communities to adopt climate change adaptation measures to help protect their homes, farms and livelihoods from the effects of climate change, including future natural disasters. It also aimed to improve radio stations’ overall coverage of issues related to natural disasters. In addition, information provided in the presenters guide that accompanied the drama as well as connections made with organisations during the workshop will result in increased discussion and information around the issues. It is hoped that the knowledge, skills and networking opportunities gained from the project would help stations sustain their coverage in the long-term.

The project was designed for communities living within the Zambezi floodplain, but also aimed to raise awareness of the issues among the general population, as well as among government and policymakers.

  1. Context/Approach description

The devastating consequence of natural disasters and the resulting relocation of populations present a formidable challenge for organizations, humanitarian agencies, and governments. In the Zambezi river region of Mozambique, communities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of natural disasters. Infrastructure is poor, and many communities isolated. The effects of climate change on the region have been particularly hard-hitting. Since 2000, the region has been hit with three severe floods displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Smaller seasonal flooding events between these massive floods mean that communities are unable to adequately recover.

At the same time, the complex web of related issues – changing climates, cultural perceptions, lack of education, gender inequalities – make it even harder to communicate much needed emergency, preventative and adaptation-related information.

Through providing important information about climate change adaptation measures, particularly related to emergency preparedness, rural housing construction and agriculture, listeners of the Bravos drama would be better able to prepare for climatic disasters such as floods. Advice given in the drama about construction and agricultural techniques that take climate change into account may result in fewer goods and food losses, improved yields, and lead to increased food security and decreased poverty in the region.

  1. Community involvement

CMFD Productions strives for community participation at as many stages of the project as possible. Prior to the drama, research was conducted with communities directly affected by flooding in the Zambezi river region. This included a site visit to a resettlement neighbourhood in the area, as well as case studies with residents who had been forced to leave their home villages due to severe flooding. The stories that came out of this research provided a launching point for creating the storyline of the drama.

Once the drama was scripted, a focus group was conducted to ensure the details, language, and characters were accurately portrayed. In addition, the local language version of the drama was recorded in a rural community within the target area with local actors. The actors were also given the opportunity to provide feedback on the drama. The workshop also involved local community journalists, as well as local representatives from NGOs, who were invited to present on various topics related to natural disasters, and network with the participating journalists.

Feedback around the issues and storylines the drama dealt with was also provided by local stakeholders, including government, NGOs and the media. Their input was crucial to ensuring accuracy of representation in the drama.

Listeners participated in the process indirectly by listening to and engaging with the radio drama, and calling in to their radio stations for more information.

  1. Results & Lessons learned

9.1  Results


  • Two 26-episode radio dramas produced – one in Portuguese, and one in local language Sena
  • One week-long training workshop on covering natural disasters held with six community radio stations in the region
  • Radio drama broadcast on five of the six radio stations (one was very new, and not yet operational at the time of the project)


  • 11 radio journalists benefited directly from the training workshop. Their increased knowledge and ability to cover natural disasters would also have positively affected the other members of the radio stations. In addition, networking opportunities provided during the training ensured connections were made between local radio stations and local organisations working in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.
  • The five radio stations reach a large area in and around the Zambezi floodplain. Although official statistics are unavailable, it is estimated that well over 300,000 people live within the stations’ broadcast areas. If as few as 10% listened to the drama, more than 30,000 people will have benefited from the messages in Bravos.


  • Feedback from radio presenters indicated that the drama was very well-received, saying it was “entertaining and informative”, “just what we wanted”, and “what the people need.” One station had 40 listeners call in about the first season alone.
  • Most stations conducted at least one additional activity around the drama, and found the presenters guide to be a useful tool. Presenters noted that it was simple to understand, and made it easier for them to talk about the drama and the issues. All presenters said that their knowledge of natural disasters and disaster preparedness had increased a lot; most expressed that their coverage of natural disasters has changed because of this increased knowledge.
  1. 2 Critical Success Factors

Local level participation and local stakeholder involvement made the project a success. Although organisers faced challenges with local capacity at times, it was through these networks and contacts that valuable feedback and input was gathered to ensure the drama was as locally relevant as possible. In addition, formative research, including the collection of case studies with affected individuals, provided the Bravos team with a foundation of knowledge on which to base decisions made around the drama, storyline, and issues covered.

6.3. Transferability 

One of the major benefits of radio drama is that they are extremely transferable, and easily adapted to other communities and contexts. A project like Bravos could be replicated in any community that has access to radio. Once the scripts are complete, such a drama can be used in many different contexts and countries by adapting and translating in other countries in the African region.


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