PCI-Media Impact, a New York-based non-profit with 25 years experience using communications for development, is initiating its sixth year of the My Community program on November 2 with an international training on Entertainment Education and Social Marketing in Lima, Peru.
The 32 selected participants – including radio hosts, journalists, community activists, and professors– representing Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, will participate in a five-day hands-on training and learn how to design, produce and broadcast entertaining radio soap operas that address urgent community needs.
“This year’s training promises to be one of the best,” said Media Impact Programs Director, Sean Southey. “Between staff, community activists and media leaders, and representatives of current My Community coalitions, we will have representatives from leading NGOs and grassroots social movements in Latin America coming together to discuss how to create global changes beginning at the local level.”
Media Impact received applications from more than 40 coalitions hoping to participate in the training, of which the top 11 were invited to attend. After successfully completing the Entertainment Education training, coalitions are then eligible to apply to produce their own radio campaigns.
During the past twenty-five years, Media Impact has worked with local partners worldwide to produce educational, culturally sensitive radio and television serial dramas that combine the power of storytelling with the reach of broadcast media to address social issues in developing countries. For the past five years, this approach to social change has centered on the 8 to 12 annual My Community projects.
“We are really excited to meet and train the new coalitions,” says Mike Castlen, Media Impact Executive Director. “They bring issues to the table that affect their daily lives, like child prostitution, discrimination against indigenous populations, and domestic violence. We can help them address these heavy issues in an entertaining, effective way. My Community thrives on this strong local buy-in; our partners develop communications strategies that are enriched by their in-depth cultural understanding and vested interest in driving local change.”
The current My Community projects address a variety of sexual and reproductive health and environmental issues plaguing developing nations. Most recently, successful projects have addressed rising HIV prevalence rates in Central America, deforestation of rural areas in South America and the importance of demanding civil rights and civic engagement.
This year, the training will feature a presentation by My Community partner, Asociación Comunicares, a coalition that has, for the past two years, produced a youth-run radio drama, “The Intruder.” The group will discuss their successful experience leveraging local resources to scale up a community-level program to a national campaign.
“Comunicares has been a strong partner over the past two years, and we are excited for them to share their experiences with the new coalitions,” says Queta Valdez, Media Impact Programs Officer for Central America. “Showing the impact their campaign has had will give workshop participants a taste of what they can accomplish in their own communities, and a sense of how effective Entertainment Education tools are in achieving social change.”