PCI-Media Impact

My Community: Capacity, Community and Change We work with partners around the world to produce Entertainment-Education (E-E) programs rooted in our three-pronged My Community approach to communications for social change. Using a combination of serial dramas, talk shows and community mobilization, we: Strengthen the capacity of our local partners to effectively use communications to catalyze change; Create a community of constituents who support our collaborative work; and Promote positive changes in audience knowledge, attitudes and behaviors around target issues. As a result we are promoting a new generation of change-leaders using communications to effectively turn up the vo...
Jan 24, 2013

Follow-up from the field

Hello Photovoice supporters,

Fresh off our return from Liberia and the extremely productive week we spent with the girls at the THINK home, I wanted to reach out and provide you with a project update outlining some details and progress of the trip! 

We entered the THINK home, a one-story building without electricity, rickety wooden school chairs and a couple of chalkboards and were immediately greeting in song by the 25 girls who reside there. This warm welcome provided a window into the gratitude, excitement and overall sense of achievement that would be communicated regularly by the students over the course of the week. 

We spent some time presenting an introductory workshop, wherein we discussed the importance of photography on catalyzing change and made sure that necessary communication barriers were tackled immediately. For example, the word “gender” and its meaning as an indication not just of sex, but of cultural norms and practices in Liberian society was explored to make sure that the girls had clarity over the overarching theme that would guide that week’s photography: “What does it mean to be a woman in Liberia?”  Initial responses to the question included, “You are forced into marriage.” “You are beaten by men.” “You are denied care if you don’t provide sex.”  We tackled this conversation as a group before handing out cameras, and the utter joy of opening and assembling the 25 digital cameras quickly lead into a frenzy of practice photos, giggles, hugs and thank you’s.

The Photovoice work progressed throughout the week with small group, focused discussions that allowed each and every girl to choose six photos that represented her experiences as a woman in Liberia in the past, present, and future.  As the girls became more comfortable with the format of these discussions, they began to open up and share extremely wrenching personal experiences that, alongside their photographs, provide an emotional illustration of the hardships experienced by young women before and after Liberia’s civil war. 

One student shared her thoughts about a picture of Daniel and I, the Photovoice trainers, “When you came I was happy because this was the first and only camera in my life.  It’s important because I want to work like you two.  When I was out in the community I cried because I was young and they raped me.  I put these things out of my mind because when I think about the past I cry.” 

Despite the gravity of numerous stories being told by these girls about gender based violence and sexual violence by men, boys, and family members of both sexes, the sense of hopefulness about the future was palpable. This generation of women, ranging in age from 13 to 24, straddles a time in Liberian history that is incredibly significant.  They can look back into their pasts and clearly remember the atrocities of the civil war and its reverberations throughout society but remain focused on the opportunities that the THINK home and Liberia’s slow and steady recovery gives them to provide a different future for themselves and their children.  In the words of one 19-year-old student referring to a picture of herself: “I see myself learning how women are special in society.  My father beat me and his woman abused me, but now I see myself with my life changing.  If I go out there again I will be a good girl.  I will advise my friends not to have a baby at a young age.  If you say no to boys and they still come to you, you go to the police.”

The students finished off the week with a gallery walk including presentation of their favorite photos and discussion of the aspects of others’ photos that had particular meaning.  Print outs of their favorite photographs seemed a small gift, but for this group it was generally the first and only printed photo they have owned and they received it as if it were a treasure.  Group leaders have been identified to ensure that the use of photography to represent women’s voices in Liberia continues.

The students are heavily focused on their education, amongst them are 19 year-olds reading at a 4th grade level, or 23 year-olds planning to apply to high school when they leave the THINK home. They thanked us and our donors profusely for giving them the gift of knowledge, and responded to the question, “How can telling your story through photos help others?” with thoughts like, “It helps to tell my friends out there that they should feel courage to go to school, because education is the key to success.”

The stories told this week and into the future will be displayed on a variety of platforms, online, in print, and in gallery showings so that the world has access to the unbiased truths of gender based sexual violence in Liberia, told straight from the sources that experienced it so directly.

We thank you deeply for your contribution and continued support of this important work,

Brooke Gassel

PCI-Media Impact, Program Officer

Links:

Nov 29, 2012

Calalloo is getting close to its 100th episode!

MY ISLAND MY COMMUNITY PROGRESS UPDATE – AUG TO NOV 2012

Dear My Island My Community Partners,

The past few months have been rewarding and challenging for Media Impact. Our New York office has been reminded that we all face increased dangers from a changing climate with the impacts of post-tropical Hurricane Sandy. It serves also to remind us how critical it is for us all to take urgent action to adapt to climate change.We were fortunate that none of our staff were injured or had houses badly damaged however our NYC office was offline for a full week with some staff still without heat and hot water. We do hope that all your friends and families in the Caribbean and USA are safe.On brighter notes, here are some of the highlights from the past few months: We are getting very close to our 100th episode with Callaloo now broadcasting episodes 80 to 91!

Our team and partners in St Lucia have been full steam ahead engaging school groups in activities to promote awareness of climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation in our first My Island Community Action Campaign.

HIV/AIDS story lines have been integrated into prime time TV broadcast across the Caribbean. 8 radio magazines were produced and broadcast in Grenada and St Vincent & the Grenadines to raise awareness around climate change and ecosystem based adaptation as part of the The Nature Conservancy’s At The Water’s Edge (AWE) program.

HIV/AIDS radio call-in shows have been hosted in Grenada and will be rolled out in another five OECS countries in the lead up to World AIDS Day in December 2012.

A significant My Island mid-term evaluation is in progress including an evaluation survey, in-depth interviews, focus groups and clinic-exit interviews. These results will be the basis of the final report for the CARISMA II project initiated in late 2011.Our team would like to sincerely Will Banham for his time and commitment to My Island My Community and programs of Media Impact and we wish him well in his future endeavors. Brenda Campos will now be responsible for oversight of the My Island program with the support of Alleyne Regis (Caribbean Regional Manager) and Jessica Robbins (Islands Communications Manager).

Please see the attached document for more on the latest achievements for My Island My CommunityCommunity Action Campaigns on the Ground!

Many thanks for your ongoing support!

Media Impact


Attachments:
Jul 31, 2012

Realizing the 3 C's

Realizing the 3 C’s: capacity strengthening, building community and promoting positive change

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

“The very rich oral tradition of storytelling really brought in all the issues and connected the world to me. I see the world not just as a place I live now but as my house. And if I can have my house clean then I’ll be a better person. I’ll be a happier person. I’ll be more tolerant”

-       Willfred (Willy) Noel, Broadcaster, Grenada

Callaloo continues to be a great success, with its steamy storyline now being broadcasted twice a week in ten countries across the Caribbean. With 104 episodes already broadcasted, Callaloo is now entering its second season and becoming even more popular as it expands its broadcast reach to Barbados, Belize, St Martin and Trinidad. .

Media Impact will be launching a series of  radio talk show in participating countries which allows listeners to engage in discussions with local leaders and experts on HIV/AIDS issues raised throughout the drama. Completing the three-part My Community approach are the community mobilization campaigns focus on climate change adaptation and environmental conservation.  These campaigns galvanize community members and directly engage the public in activities related to each issue such as beach clean-up and mangrove rehabilitation.

Callaloo is now entering its second season, for which scriptwriting guides have been developed to focus each storyline on the most pressing issues that have been highlighted by the results of a thorough knowledge, attitude and behavior change (KAB) baseline survey conducted earlier this year. By incorporating these results, as well as in-depth research analysis undertaken by key partners, each episode will include relevant messages and actions to address knowledge, attitude and behavior changes in the three key results areas of the My Island – My Community project (HIV/AIDS, climate change and biodiversity conservation).

In the area of HIV prevention, Callaloo will address stigma, erroneous beliefs of the risk of contracting HIV and low prevalence of efficacious behavior still seen in the KAB survey results. By role modeling supportive “peer networks” – a tactic that has proved successful in driving consistent condom use with partners – the team hopes to improve attitudes and behavior towards sex, HIV and reduce domestic violence.

To reduce vulnerability to climate change for coastal communities, Callaloo is focused on increasing understanding and awareness of the adverse effects of climate change in island communities and promoting cost-effective, nature-based adaptation activities.

In the area of biodiversity conservation, Callaloo addresses poor waste management and its adverse effects on public health and the environment.

Each element of the My Island My Community program is targeted towards specific segments of the community and its most pressing needs.  The program both role models conversations around sensitive issues and also allows community members to engage in a dialogue or get help. . Getting people talking about these topics is a pivotal step in addressing these important issues and laying the groundwork to significantly improve each issue in each island.

Links:

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