June 27, 2007

Aganwadi calendar, a communication tool for communities in MP

Madhya Pradesh, India

At a first look it may look like a typical monthly Indian calendar available in the nearby market place. But on a second look, it is not ! It is an 'anganwadi calendar' published by the State Women and Child Development Department of the central Indian state, Madhya Pradesh in India.

Anganwadi centre is a child care centre in villages of the state which provides services to help improve the nutritional and health status of children below the age of six years and pregnant and lactating mothers. It is set up by the state with the support from Government of India under its Integrated Child Development Scheme. It includes package of services like supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, referral services, pre-school non-formal education and nutrition & health education for children below the age of six years and pregnant and lactating mothers. The said calendar probably has all the information which one anganwadi worker needs to provide it to mothers, pregnant women who visit the centre alongwith their children.

As in all the calendars it has month wise dates in a 'week wise' format duly stapled on to the calendar. In this calendar the month slips could be removed after the month gets over and rest of the portion of the calendar for that month could be used as a poster. It could be stuck on to the wall of an 'anganwadi centre'. It becomes an IEC (information education and communication) tool and helps provide the much needed 'right' information to the families visiting the centre. The information on the calendar is provided both in written and pictorial format, keeping the literacy levels in mind the rural areas of the state.

The calendar has information on the various services available in the anganwadi centre, (very importantly) full child's immunization chart and information about care of pregnant women. It also talks about right age of marriage i.e. 21 years for boys and 18 years for girls and motivates parents to marry their children especially girls at the right age.

That's not all it also has key messages on gender equality, importance of exclusive breast feeding till six months and complimentary feeding, which is important in the state which has high rates of infant mortality and low rates of exclusive breastfeeding. The calendar also relays importance of institutional delivery and has key messages which probably ever family should know and understand. No doubt an effort worth praise, but it may be important to evaluate its effective distribution and use.

- anil gulati

June 26, 2007

Merundio - The radio drama in Guyana

The Mission - To work creatively with all media, groups and individuals to motivate individuals and communities to make choices that reduce their vulnerability and encourage positive behavior change to reduce transmission of HIV.

HIV/AIDS Problem

Guyana is the second poorest country in the Caribbean and is believed to have the third highest HIV infection rate in the region. The results of the Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS) of 2004-2005 indicate a generally high awareness of HIV and its methods of transmission amongst youth, but there remains considerable stigma associated with an individual’s HIV status. Although reported sexual debut amongst school children is low – about 15 years old for 43% of boys and 22 % of girls, consistent condom use in this group is 43%. Men having sex with men is reportedly low (2%) but anecdotal evidence suggest the true incidence to be considerably higher. There is widespread migration resulting in a large Guyanese Diaspora in the Caribbean, the US and Canada. These immigrants span a broad spectrum, from entrepreneurs and financial experts to health care workers and teachers and results in a loss of human capital that undermines the Guyana Government’s capacity to provide quality health, education, and social services. Cross-border trade, mining and travel between Guyana and Brazil have also been increasing significantly in recent years. The search for gold and diamonds has produced a significant increase in migrant workers including Brazilians who have little or no access to services including HIV/AIDS information, counseling and health care. As many of the small mining operations are run by unregistered Guyanese miners and illegal Brazilians, reaching these undocumented migrant workers with information and services poses a serious challenge.

The Radio Drama

Merundoi, a campy locally produced radio drama, was launched in Guyana on October 16, 2006. Two 15-minute episodes are aired twice weekly on the FM and medium wave channels. The response to the countrywide field test of the pilot suggests that Merundoi reflects the reality of life in Guyana. It’s common to hear Guyanese say: “The characters are just like us”; “It’s like listening to my own life”; “this is for all Guyanese”; “It has humor, but it can also make me cry”. Merundoi reaches people on three levels – intellectual, emotional and instinctual. Ongoing dialogue between CDC GAP Guyana and its Caribbean partners, including the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, ensures that the radio drama will appeal to a wider Caribbean audience.
The behavioral issues being addressed by Merundoi are: delayed initiation/abstinence, monogamy/faithfulness, positive parent and child communication, alcohol reduction, correct and consistent condom use, adequate access to HIV and STI services, and reduction of stigma and discrimination.
The story unfolds through positive, negative, and transitional characters. Merundoi recognizes that the power of a social radio drama lies in the values-consistent behavior displayed by its cast of characters therefore it employs this deliberate technique to ensure that positive characters remain consistently positive and negative characters remain consistently negative. The HIV/AIDS subject matter is being introduced gradually into the series.

Reinforcing the Messages

Unique to the MARCH Project are interpersonal community-based reinforcement which serve as an adjunct to the radio serial drama. This is aimed at: encouraging exposure to the radio drama; conveying accurate information and dispelling misinformation; helping individuals apply information and integrate new ideas to their own situation; fostering positive expectations with regard to new, healthier behavior; supporting individuals as they develop self-efficacy in key areas (e.g., talking to partner, condom use, etc.); stimulating development of behavioral and negotiation skills; augmenting individuals’ ability to plan and strategize; reducing barriers to prevention; and creating a supportive environment for people living with HIV and AIDS. The reinforcement activities are being implemented by the Ministry of Education, non governmental organizations (NGOs), faith based organizations (FBOs), the US Peace Corps and the workplace through public-private partnerships. This is done through listening and discussion groups, community street theatre and infusing Merundoi content into the Health and Family Life Education curriculum for Grade Nine students.

Monitoring and Evaluation

MARCH is an evidence-based program, thus formative research was conducted to identify local attitudes and practices on a range of reproductive health issues, HIV and AIDS and family life. This formative research was used to guide the messages and the development of characters and storylines. There will be ongoing and systematic monitoring to measure audience reaction while the radio drama is on the air and provide feedback to the creative team, as well as periodic evaluation to measure changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among listeners. If one is in Guyana one would find our writers in schools, market places, bars, in the streets and down back alleys. This is essential to keep the story real and dynamic.

June 25, 2007

13 new Community radio stations projects

Community radio is today believed to be an important tool for social upliftment and empowerment of the marginalised. With that thought in mind, the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), the Asian chapter of Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is now preparing to launch 13 community radio stations (CRS) in South and North India during 2007-08.

Community radio refers to a type of radio service catering to the interests of a specific area, broadcasting material that has relevance to a local audience. The term has somewhat varying meanings. In the UK, it originated in the illegal pirate radio stations whereas in America, as well as in India, community radio is more commonly non-profit and non-commercial, often using licensed class-D FM band transmitters.

With the successful implementation of its pilot projects, first of running the only licensed CRS at Anna University, Chennai, and the second one in Kongu Engineering College, Erode, CEMCA is all set to repeat its success at Bhagwan Mahavir Jain Institute, Bangalore, on June 25 and at Holy Cross College in Tiruchirapalli on June 26. The target audience for these stations will be women. First we will document their knowledge, including their superstitions, and then our experts will guide them. Then we will set up the radio stations. At the end of the year we will take into account the change in their behaviour and attitudes said an official.

Comic strips a communication tool

Campaign poster made by Bhairoo Lal, 14, Barmer, 2005.
“Well, it is just ink, paper and something to say,” announces a character on a grassroots comic strip. But this simple idea can be a powerful means of communication.
All teenagers know that drawings on school walls and pictures on bus stops, toilets, trees or notice boards can make a statement. Grassroots comics take the idea further and promote the use of local comics as a means for social change.

“The most important thing is to have a good story. You can make a comic strip if you have something to say,” says Leif Packalén, co-author with Sharad Sharma of the newly published book Grassroots Comics – a Development Communication Tool.

Activists, who have very little or no experience in drawing, can in a few days learn how to put their ideas across, using comics wallposters. “It is the story, its drama and how it is presented, that is essential, not the drawing skill. The activists’ passion and engagement in the issue at hand are evident in the stories they produce. Grassroots comics speak a local language, they are cheap to produce and easy to distribute. The strength of grassroots comics lies in the fact that they are drawn by local people who are familiar with the local art and culture. Visual language and sense of humour differ from country to country.

The comics can deal with serious and hard issues, but humour is not forbidden. They often form part of some local awareness raising campaign and the stories address issues like girls’ rights, indigenous people, drugs, HIV and AIDS, or violence against women. The ready strips are glued on the walls of schools or administrative buildings, temples, bus stops, hospitals or trees.

A good campaign focuses on the issue at hand and on the target group. It influences people, raises their awareness, changes their thinking on an issue, and ultimately, makes them act differently. As an example of a successful campaign, Packalén mentions the Rajasthan girl campaign in 2006. Grassroots comics are especially important in the most remote regions of India, where there are no newspapers.

June 24, 2007

Communication in indegenous care - examples fromYol\u and Balanda

Naomi Havens is an Occupational Therapist who is now based at Galiwin’ku and is training as an educator with Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS). Her co-worker is Gurima\u.

I’m Naomi (Havens) and I’ve trained as an Occupational Therapist (OT) and spent a little bit of time working as an Occupational Therapist.

I’ve been asked to talk about communication as an OT and later on go on to about what our experience out here in Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island. Something that I had a lot of as an OT was working with families of different cultures, I worked with a Yol\u family, and I worked with families from Asia, from the Middle East and from other places.

And a big challenge that we had in our work was being able to understand each other, understanding what they were trying to say and trying to get our message across to identify problems, to come up with suitable solutions that were manageable, workable.
And with a lot of other cultures we had interpreters that we could work with.
We had the interpreting service and they were able to translate stuff into paper, work for us into, be there to attend meetings and to get the understanding- but when it came to working with Yol\u, we didn’t always have that. So that was a big challenge but it does,.. the difference that you had when you did have someone that spoke the language and understood what was actually happening, even the things that you didn’t realise.

Sometimes you walked away and you knew that you didn’t quite get it , you didn’t quite understand completely what they were trying to say and you didn’t feel you completely understood but at least having the interpreter there, afterwards you could talk about it later and realise that.. yeah .. you had missed so many things or misunderstood so many things that they had been saying.

But definitely when there is no interpreter there, or there is no-one there that really understands those unwritten, unspoken messages that the miscommunication can be quite, quite significant.

So.. when I was working with this Yol\u family I spent a lot of time saying something but then hearing back what they were understanding from it and working things a bit differently so that it gave them every opportunity for them to understand what I was trying to say but also for me to understand what was coming back from them.

One person at the hospital described the results that we had from working that way was the best results that they had ever seen in a Yol\u child. So it definitely it took a lot longer and it was done a little bit differently, had to be a lot more flexible, but the overall result was the most satisfying experience that I have had as an OT.

The Thermometer Story

The Thermometer Story – Ba=umbil explains why it is important for health staff not to rely only on the information obtained from test results - but to listen to patients and respect their knowledge about their own health.

The Balanda has to listen to Yol\u voice, not the thermometer.
Yol\u voice we need to you know.. we want the doctors to accept our language because that word has to come out from our mouth and tell the doctors what needs to be done - beforehand.

Not just … you know relying on thermometer and saying ‘Yow, yow’.. everything is alright now. Unless you know.. they have to accept our.. accept us, full story from the Yol\u because that person he has got, he or she is sick, and they need to listen to that person instead of.. just, you know….. taking the thermometer or blood pressure or whatever and saying to you everything looks alright.

You know and telling us, you can .. you know keep on drinking this or take this for the time being and that - that is not helping us because they have to accept us.. because we can feel within our body what is going on.

That is why I mention that doctors to accept our word, not accept the thermometer, our word,,,,,,,,,

Taken from www.sharingtruestories.com

Examples from India

Communication direct to people about floods using TV and AIRwaves Maharashtra, India

In order to help citizens cope with the coming rains and the possibility of flooding, the Maharashtra government is planning to have its own dedicated prime time package that will be broadcast on television and radio. As per the Maharashtra’s Chief Minister’s guidelines, the information and public relation department will start a weekly one hour news-based programme on Doordarshan from next month. The programme may become a daily fixture from next year. The state’s initiative of direct communication with the public is largely linked to its experience during 26/7. They plan to engage private channels in the initiative as per the department of public relations “There were many cases when private channels were broadcasting old visuals that created even more panic across the state. To avoid this, the government is employing all media for direct communication,” said Chief Secretary Johny Joseph. The 15-minute All-India Radio show Dilkhulas, an interview-based programme that is aired four days a week (Wednesday to Saturday), is being booked by authorities for the prime time slot between 7.20 and 7.35 am for the next six months.

ISRO reaching out to the villages
Tamil Nadu/ Kerala, India

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) proposes to bring more government hospitals in the country under the telemedicine programme. The facilities should reach even the poor farmer in a remote village. Dr George Chandy, Director of CMC, said the telemedicine facility via satellite has brought far-off medical services closer for the benefit of the rural poor. ISRO's telemedicine programme, launched in 2001, aims at connecting the rural and district hospitals in the country with super speciality hospitals in the cities via INSAT.

While ISRO provides the software, hardware and communication equipment as well as satellite bandwidth, the speciality hospitals provide the infrastructure, manpower and maintain the system.

The programme covers 165 hospitals - 132 centres connected to 33 speciality hospitals. ISRO has established Village Resource Centres in association with NGOs, trusts and state and Central agencies. It has also developed eight mobile units - four of them in Tamil Nadu, two in Kerala and two in Karnataka.

A Prison Community Radio to Aid Rehabilitation

Carribbean : A prison radio is developed to enhance prisoner rehabilitation and education in the Carribbean. The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) are unveiling a prison community radio today at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre. This innovative use of a Community Multimedia Centre is the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

It seeks to enhance prisoner rehabilitation and education while connecting prisoners with their external environment, where discourse can occur between inmates, their families, the church and other rehabilitative elements of civil society. The DCS sees this prison community radio project as a great opportunity for advancing its recently developed Life Skills Programme which purposes to empower prisoners for a smooth re-entry into society as peaceful law-abiding citizens.

As an integral part of the project, UNESCO has also commissioned the Ethnographic Action Research to document the use of these technologies as tools for prisoner rehabilitation and education and how the CMC will impact relationships between the various stakeholders of the prisons. Findings will be disseminated through the publication of a booklet that includes needs and guidelines for implementing special access to information and communication technologies in prison communities.