9 million listeners reached with conservation messages

20 December 2011 | News story

9 million listeners in 16 countries receive weekly messages about how to promote conservation in their communities through a project of PCI-Media Impact, headed by CEC member Sean Southey.

Loss of biodiversity, devastating tropical storms and mismanaged natural resources are no laughing matter. Or are they?

Media Impact-produced Entertainment-Education soap operas are tackling serious environmental concerns around the world through intriguing plots. In 15 Caribbean countries, listeners tune in twice a week to hear Callaloo. The drama, named for the region’s famed soup, serves heaping spoonfuls of gossip-worthy anecdotes of twisted love triangles and strained relationships while promoting ecosystem conservation and resource management.

“Callaloo intends to expose and profile many of the issues critical to the wellbeing of our people, but within the context of everyday life of mainstream society,” said Keith Nichols, Head of the Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.

Similarly, Biribireba, now airing in the six coastal districts of Western Ghana, contains the elements of a good story: intrigue, corruption, temptation, chaos and love, and is infused with important messages about ecosystem governance and coastal resource management.

And the fun doesn’t end there.

Both dramas are played as part of talk shows that engage listeners in conversations about the issues in the drama. Community mobilization campaigns compliment the programs, making it easy for residents to support positive action.

More than 60 national and regional partners support My Island – My Community, of which Callaloo is one part. In addition to national call in shows, campaign planning is underway in each participating country. Biribireba is part of the five-year USAID-funded program Hɛn Mpoano, meaning Our Coast in Fante, a local language. The team in Ghana is focused on spreading the messages from Biribireba through billboards, radio spots and community events, including cook-offs, soccer games and theme song competitions.

Brenda Campos, Programs Director, Media Impact said, “Preaching about issues and threats wasn’t working but showing people, through fictional characters in a drama and community activities, that small behavior changes are not overwhelming is already motivating people to take action to improve their community.”

We are excited to grow this exciting work to promote sustainable development next year in Nigeria and Cameroon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mexico.

My Island-My Community was made possible with the financial support of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, KFW on behalf of the German Financial Cooperation, Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme, USAID and The Nature Conservancy. Hen Mpoano is funded by USAID and executed by the Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island, Media Impact through SustainaMetrix, Friends of the Nation Ghana and the World Fish Center.

 

 

For more information, please contact: Lindsey Wahlstrom, Communications Manager, PCI-Media Impact
lwahlstrom@mediaimpact.org