With funding from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), SMDC established Radio Gargaar in Dadaab and continues to broadcast programming from the refugee complex.  The aim of setting up Radio Gargaar’s studio in Dadaab was to help refugee refugees develop radio programs for an estimated Somali audience of 300,000 people.

The establishment of Radio Gargaar studio in Dadaab was aimed at enforcing information sharing and enhancing development activities at the camp.

The station also provides jobs to refugee community journalists and mobilisers who will take the lead in running daily activities and empowering young refugees.

Radio Gargaar was established after realising the need for refugees to access accurate information and raising awareness about world events and important commemorations.

Gargaar, which means “Assistance” is a name derived from the Somali language, common among nationalities at the camp.

In 2014, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency  established a “Ask UNHCR” weekly live radio talk-show on Radio Gargaar, which is run by Star Media Development Centre, to interact with the refugee community in Dadaab camps.

The talk-show complemented UNHCR’s daily field visits and monitoring work. The show was aimed at providing general public information that will complement UNHCR’s service delivery activities in camps. Each UNHCR sector unit including Protection, Health & Nutrition, Community Services, Education, Environment, External Relations, Technical and Field participated in the live discussion.

The talk show was an important community outreach initiative handy for situations where security conditions for humanitarian workers are precarious. It was generally a question-and-answer live thematic group discussion which was aired on a weekday for two hours on Radio Gargaar.

The show went out in the Somali language for one and in English the other for non-Somali speaking communities. With Radio Gargaar’s text message (SMS) feedback system and a toll mobile phone number, persons of concern called and sent text messages to seek clarification on general service delivery issues.

Those with personal protection concerns were advised at the beginning of each show to raise them with protection workers at UNHCR field offices in their respective camps.

Radio Gargaar has reporters in each of the five camps in the Dadaab refugee complex and has worked with UNHCR and partners as a source and means for public information for many years now.

Radio Gargaar in 2015 organized a two-day training for 25 refugee journalists in Dadaab on humanitarian response reporting.

The journalists were trained on humanitarian reporting, the role of media in humanitarian operations, identifying audience and their information needs, ethics and code for humanitarian journalism.

The UNHCR Dadaab Protection Office contributed to the training with a session on refugee rights and UNHCR’s protection mandate.

Dadaab is the world largest refugee camp complex but only three local FM radios are broadcasting in the area. Working with various media channels, these refugee journalists will be playing a critical role in communicating refugees’ voice to the wider audience outside Dadaab through covering their stories and reporting their issues.

Working with various media channels, the newly trained refugee journalists will be playing a critical role in sharing information inside the camps and communicating refugees’ voices to the wider audience outside Dadaab.

Radio Gargaar is a humanitarian news provider funded by Star Media Development Centre, a media development organization operating in Somalia and Kenya.

The training was funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.