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Script 64.5

Notes to broadcasters

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This radio program was produced by El Zamorano, an agricultural training institute in Honduras, after a hurricane called Mitch devastated large parts of Central America in 1998. (See contact information for El Zamorano at end of script).

The script discusses the management of watersheds. One of the most important ways to reduce the impact of natural disasters, such as droughts, floods, hurricanes and typhoons, is through appropriate watershed management. This is true in all parts of the world – in drylands, humid areas, mountains and flat lands. Watershed protection can mean the difference between survival and catastrophe. Please adapt this program to best suit your audience. To develop further programming about watershed management, contact local organizations that are working with communities to protect watersheds.

Script

Characters

Please use names and personalities that will appeal to your audience.

Narrator 1
(female)
Narrator 2
(male)
Radio Announcer

Professor:
Wise, middle-aged man. Brings new knowledge and ideas into the community.
Nelson:
Older man. Has difficulty absorbing new ideas, but, once convinced, he is dedicated and helpful.
Jana:
Middle aged woman. Gets anxious about things, but is cooperative and eager.
Abel:
Young boy. Enthusiastic and curious.
Francisco:
Early adopter of technology and ideas.
Part I: Watershed Management

Narrator 1:
(Announcing in a strong, forceful voice…) Welcome to our program today: “Hurricane Mitch – Natural Disasters and the Management of Watersheds.”

OPENING MUSIC (3 seconds).

Narrator 2:
In October of 1998, Hurricane Mitch struck Central America. It left more than 10,000 people dead, more than 11,000 missing, and estimated losses of six billion dollars in the region.

Narrator 1
: Many people were affected by Mitch. It was not only the deaths and the missing people. Thousands of homes, crops, roads and bridges were also destroyed by the storm.

Narrator 2
: One of the most affected parts of the economy was agriculture. Many crops were lost due to floods in the lowlands. And landslides destroyed not only crops, but the valuable layer of arable soil.

Narrator 1
: How could the passage of the storm have so much impact in so little time?

SOUND EFFECTS: THUNDER AND RAIN. STATIC AND THE SOUND OF A RADIO STATION REPORTING. LOTS OF BACKGROUND NOISE.

Radio Announcer 1:
This is a special report. We advise all people living in our listening area to evacuate immediately. The storm will intensify across the country, and more rain is expected which may cause landslides and floods. We have had some urgent information from nearby villages. A number of bridges have been washed away, and people are trapped on the other side!

FADE OUT RADIO STATIC.

Professor
: Do you remember what happened that day?

Nelson
: It was incredible. Never, in all my life, could I believe that such a disaster could happen.

Jana:
All we could do was pray. It was a catastrophe!

Abel:
And they say that the disaster was not only here, but all across the country!

Professor
: That’s right, Abel, and not only in this country, in the neighbouring countries too.

Francisco
: That’s true. In the country of Nicaragua, many farmers lost all their crops. But professor, do you know, we learned something very useful from our experience.

Professor
: What did you learn, Francisco?

Francisco:
Well, in those places where the farmers used soil conservation and protected the forests, there was less destruction.

Professor
: They didn’t lose the crops?

Francisco
: Not only that, but the land didn’t wash away.

Jana
: It was like that at Esteban’s, but that’s because they have money …

Nelson:
How does money help? When disaster comes, no one can stop it.

Professor
: Excuse me, Nelson, but as Francisco says, there are ways to prevent the disaster from getting so bad. And there are things we can do, without money.

Jana
: And how’s that?

Francisco
: It depends, to a great extent, on the wise management of natural resources.

Professor
: Yes, this means that we protect the land, the rivers and the forest. It is what we call “watershed management.”

MUSICAL BREAK (5 seconds).

Narrator 1
: For a long time, we have neglected something extremely important when working on the land – the management of watersheds. And especially micro-watersheds, or micro-catchments, that can be managed by groups of farmers.

Narrator 2
: We call a micro-watershed the area of land in the higher parts of the mountain, where the waters flow towards a common course.

Narrator 1
: The presence of forest in the highlands is very important, because it helps with water conservation.

Narrator 2
: With a well protected micro-watershed, we conserve water and reduce soil erosion. This helps to prevent landslides.

MUSIC.

Abel:
Does that mean that if we protect our forests and land, we can stop the hurricanes?

Professor:
We can’t stop them, but we can reduce the impact, and the damage, when they do happen.

Francisco:
Right, that’s what happened in parts of Nicaragua. On land that had been deforested, where they had cut down all the trees, the land was washed away together with all the crops. But in other places, where people managed the watershed by protecting the forest, the trees stopped the rushing flow of the water.

Professor
: Indeed, across Latin America, many farmers have learned the techniques to manage watersheds, and have benefited from the protection of the forest.

MUSIC.
Part II: Creating a Water Council

Francisco:
It’s interesting, isn’t it? To hear about these things that people can do for themselves. Now we know the importance of protecting watersheds. But I suppose it’s best if everyone agrees to protect them!

Professor
: Yes. That’s why a good step to protect the forest and manage a watershed is to create a water council.

Jana:
What’s a water council?

Professor:
A water council is a small group of people working together to protect watersheds. In this way, they also protect water sources for the people in their community.

Abel: It is a good thing, to create a water council.

Francisco
: What I like the best is that we don’t have to wait for someone else to come and do everything for us. Instead, as a community, we work together to achieve our own goals.

Professor
: That’s right, Francisco, although there are times when it is useful to get help from the experts.

Nelson
: But, will a water council stop a hurricane like Mitch?

Francisco:
Of course not. But don’t you see, Nelson, that if we work together, we can prevent the effects of the disaster? Even if we can’t stop the hurricane.

Professor:
And, we not only prevent the effects of the natural disaster, but we also protect something that is very valuable.

Abel:
The water?

Professor:
The water, the air, and the land, which means protecting the environment.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • This script is adapted from a program in the series “New Sunrise,” produced by El Zamorano’s Communications Centre, with support from Project Procuencas and the assistance of the Honduras-Canada Fund for the Environment.
  • El Zamorano is a Pan American institution for higher education that trains professionals in careers related to agriculture. El Zamorano promotes the development of rural communities through educational activities, technical support and training. Procuencas is a rural development project operated by El Zamorano. You can contact El Zamorano at: PO Box 93, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Tel: (504) 776-6140. URL: http://www.zamorano.edu/
  • Translated from Spanish by Maria Rodriguez, Ottawa, Canada.