Wednesday, October 27, 2010

As the world burns

The Pacific Voyage Media Team, 28 October Nagoya Japan -

Sean Southey (Left) presenting at side event

To effectively send a message to the community about the importance of protecting the environment an organization is using the power of communication and creative media.

Sean Southey, Executive Director of PCI-Media Impact said during the "As the world burns" side event about the use of soap operas and social marketing as tools to combat climate change in the Caribbean.

“We engage the public in conservation and sustainable development through the power of storytelling,” Southey says.

In January 2010, Media Impact, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and 13 partner organizations launched My Island – My Community, a partnership committed to building public awareness across the Caribbean to encourage wide spread behavior change with regard to small island preparedness for, and adaptation to, climate change.

The My Island – My Community program uses the power of communications to enhance knowledge sharing, engage the public and support community-based adaption activities across 12 Caribbean countries.

In each of the 12 Caribbean countries participating in My Island – My Community, national coalitions comprised of local environmental NGOs, government agencies, radio stations, academics, and scientists will join the regional partners to create an action oriented and culturally relevant set of initiatives. Each national coalition will develop country-specific climate change campaigns to complement the radio drama through multi-tiered public awareness activities, including: interactive radio call-in shows, capacity development activities, music festivals, and community action campaigns.

With action on the ground in 12 countries, regional sharing will allow for unique peer-to-peer learning opportunities; regional advocacy; capacity building and significant economies-of-scale in implementation.

My Island – My Community will feature more than 200 episodes of a radio drama and seeks to:
(1) develop the capacity of CBO/NGOs, government and other partners to effectively engage in “communications” for climate change adaption;
(2) build a well informed, engaged community; and
(3) improve knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of key target audiences regarding climate change and adaptation.

Southey says that a similar concept is being developed in the Pacific through a partnership with regional agencies, such as SPREP, to bring climate change messages through telenovelas.

Mindful that the Pacific island nations have different issues than the Caribbean, the intention of the new initiative is the same: to effectively engage the public in critical conversations through information sharing.

Years ago, an international conservation group based in the U.S. state of Virginia, produced the radio drama Changing Tides in Palau, creating the stories with the help of local environmental and health officials. 

Southey says the partnership wants to bring forth an enhanced version of this program in the Pacific, using a more sophisticated, multi-tiered methodology to target several audiences.  

For more on this initiative please visit:

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