Between 2009 and 2012 there was a programme run by Commonwealth of Learning (COL) called Healthy Communities, running in Solomon Islands also in a few other Commonwealth countries. Archived here https://www.col.org/resources/cols-healthy-communities-initiative
In Solomon Islands Healthy Communities worked with five village communities in Isabel Province that had existing FM community radio stations set up by the UNDP and Isabel Province in 2006. The local stakeholders were:
- Isabel Province Provincial Government including Isabel Health Services and the Youth Division
- Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services – Health Promotion Division
- Solomon Islands Development Trust
- People First Network
- Buala, Sigana, Tataba, Susubona and Kia communities
- Myself (David Leeming) as local coordinator (contracted by COL)
Ian Pringle, Media Expert, was the programme manager for COL (now working for Farm Radio International)
Healthy Communities is significant in that it piloted a method combining C4D, non-formal learning and participatory media called the Community Learning Programme (CLP). Initially used in Isabel with a public health theme, the method could be used in many other thematic areas especially where discovery-led and community-driven learning for development is important.
The CLP uses a tool called the message matrix where actions are mapped to their benefits and consequences, creating a matrix of key messages to be used in creative audio (or other) media production, such as the plot for drama series.
We facilitated participatory planning and design workshops and provided digital media training. Four villages produced and broadcast (to great interest) series of digital radio programmes about their priority health issues such as diabetes, healthy village environment and teenage pregnancy.
Production was based on low cost, commonly available tools (in those days, netbooks with mp3 recorders and Audacity software). The design workshops came up with entertaining formats including school quiz, jingles, choral singing, serial drama and debates, all featuring local voices only (with invited guests).
The project was not involved in running or managing the radio stations, only in the co-production of these participatory media resources. We had no involvement or influence over the sustainability of the radio stations, other than giving advice when the occiasion arose and via a high-level advocacy workshop held in Buala in 2012.
I have archived some of the mp3 radio programmes on this page. Na Au Fa Keli Episide 4 entitled “What makes rubbish?” from Susubona is a good one!!!
The CLP programme guides developed in the workshops are available at the link below.
Following the Healthy Communities first phase programme, a second phase developed a monitoring and evaluation framework for the CLP, and in parttership with the University of the West Indies and CARIMAC, a CLP Developer Certificate open study programme is now available.
I hope the CLP method can be used more widely in the Solomons and the Pacific Islands!
(all photos CC-BY-SA David Leeming)