A Communications for Development workshop was held at the Provincial Assembly Chamber in Buala, on September 28th 2012, sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning as part of the Healthy Communities programme, which has been ongoing since 2010. Healthy Communities, a programme also running in several other countries worldwide, enters into a new 3-year cycle in 2013 and the workshop was held to raise awareness of the opportunities arising from C4D approaches.
The workshop was facilitated by Professor Jerry Watkins of the Universitry of Western Sydney, with David Leeming, Henry Marau, and Dudley Vunagi assisting.
Makiva Tuni and Dian Manu of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Health Promotion Division, also attended and gave a very interesting presentation on their communication programmes.
A number of IPG ministers actively participated in the COL C4D workshop and seemed to experience a ‘light-bulb’ moment about the need for an Isabel-wide system to coordinate and use growing ‘two-way communication’ via mobile and radio between government, village chiefs, Mothers’ Union and Church.
Others who attended included representatives from Mother’s Union, Sumitomo, IPG divisions and IIC.
Workshop participants suggested a range of potential C4D project ideas spanning Community Affairs, Education and Health.
The workshop led to an invitation from Mothers’ Union for COL to collaborate on Positive Parenting project. This planned two-year project may be suitable for inclusion in the COL Healthy Communities initiative.
The workshop participants estimated that 60-70% of Isabel Province has access to some form of two-way communication medium (i.e. mobile, SW radio, FM radio). There are now a number of FM radio advocates for Isabel. Three FM community radio stations (Sigana, Susubono, Lelagia) continue to operate and others are in the process of revival. A major commercial partner of Isabel Province, Sumitomo Metal Mining, has indicated the willingness to provide support for the radio network.
Based on these factors there is strong potential for C4D projects involving mobile and radio communication as part of COL’s Healthy Communities initiative.
A follow up meeting is planned in February 2013 to start detailed planning of some priority C4D programmes.
The official COL report can be accessed here.