The Caribbean is abuzz about Callaloo. Not the traditional stew for which the region is known, but a steamy new soap opera that began airing in ten countries earlier this month.
For the next two years, a cast of colorful characters will deliver messages about climate change, human health and sustainable development through 208 carefully crafted episodes of a radio drama designed to entertain listeners through love triangles, personal struggles and happy endings.
The drama role models actions communities can take to adapt to the rising sea levels, stronger storms and loss of biodiversity associated with climate change, to secure a sustainable future for the islands they call home.
“Callaloo promises to excite the appetites of island people for drama, which they love so much, and topical issues, which they crave. It intends to expose and profile many of the issues critical to the well being 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 (OECS). “The radio drama has the potential to generate a greater understanding of the challenges facing the regional community and how as a people we need to respond to ensure a better quality of life.”
Callaloo, is part of a larger regional program, My Island – My Community, encompassing more than 50 partner organizations in 15 Caribbean countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Launched in 2010 by PCI-Media Impact and the OECS, My Island – My Community is committed to galvanizing change across the Caribbean by empowering communities through using proven communications and public awareness strategies.
My Island – My Community is rooted in the principles of Entertainment-Education, which incorporates vital information into entertaining media programs to simultaneously educate and amuse audiences. Callaloo is complemented by hour-long national talk shows that engage listeners in conversations around local issues. Community mobilization campaigns will complement the work, making it easy for local residents to engage directly with the issues.
“We are proud of this initiative, which has been created almost entirely by Caribbean people for the region,” said Alleyne Regis, Caribbean Program Manager, Media Impact. “It is astounding to see the number of people who have come forward to support this work to protect our islands.”
The My Island My Community program has been made possible with the kind and generous financial support of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, KfW on behalf of the German Financial Cooperation, Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), USAID, The Nature Conservancy and the Global Island Partnership.