We’d like to show the side of the world you don’t normally see on television.
PCI-Media Impact partnered with CECOPI (Community and Indigenous Village Education and Communication Center) and Radio Atipiri to produce two Entertainment-Education radio serial dramas. With the Name of a Woman and Looking for Love both address the sexual and reproductive health and rights of indigenous women in El Alto, Bolivia. Tania Ayma shares her story about working with PCI-Media Impact and using behavior change communications to improve her community.
For the past four years, PCI-Media Impact has worked with Radio Atipiri and CECOPI (The Center for Education and Communication for Indigenous Communities) to produce Entertainment-Education radio dramas to promote the rights and health of women and youth. The story below was written by Tania Ayma Calle, who runs both Radio Atipiri and CECOPI:
Our inter-institutional relationship with PCI-Media Impact was established in 2007 when two organizations invited us to form part of a coalition that applied to the My Community program, and the proposal was accepted. The execution of the project that first year generated lots of stories. At the end of the process, we still didn’t feel we had completely assimilated Entertainment-Education into our work.
The next year we directly received an invitation to participate in My Community and, after thinking about it…we accepted. We received the seed grant and, despite the uncertainly, we decided to follow through on our proposal to involve youth and adolescents and mothers from District 8 in El Alto where CECOPI and Radio Atipiri are located.
I remember that at the moment we proposed this project we were aware of and worried by the life stories of some of our female neighbors living near us. Their problems were similar to those of the majority of the female population of El Alto. We knew it was important that they know and defend their rights. It was after hearing the stories, discussing the issues, imagining the answers to the problems, creating and impersonating the characters that, little by little, we started understanding and owning the Entertainment-Education strategy that, at first, had sounded like a linear methodology, disjointed from the reality of the people.
We believe one of our best acted radio dramas was “With the Name of a Woman” because we found the right community members to play the characters. I almost dare say that they didn’t need to assume a character but only to play the role they do every day in their real lives. The women who played submissive and tormented roles, at the end of the process, ended up reclaiming their own freedom. The exercise achieved its objective. We wanted these same women to reflect on their own situation when they embodied the characters.
Some episodes were so well produced that they triggered us to weep collectively upon hearing them. The tears always betrayed us, falling from our eyes because we saw ourselves in the story. This empathy and the need to do something to change the reality of permanent oppression and submission of the El Alto women gave us strength (myself included) to keep working toward a better future where we didn’t have to sit to share our pain but where we could learn from our experiences of overcoming our fears and insecurities. For me, personally, this was the most valuable outcome that the Entertainment-Education methodology gave us.
In 2009, we decided to focus on only one group of the population: youth and adolescents. With them we carried out a two-year program. The radio drama that we produced, “Looking for Love”, aimed to raise the awareness of fathers, mothers and the education community about youth and adolescents’ need for love, care and attention.
“Looking for Love” was also the basis on which those of us who drafted the program proposal, principally our scriptwriter, Bosco Catari, became more involved than anticipated. “When you write stories, it is hard to not end up also writing your own story,” Bosco told me when we spoke about the radio drama. He had developed the ability to create situations of conflict, imagine fictional stories and include even his own needs into the characters he developed.
“Looking for Love” turned into a baby for Bosco - one that was born with strength and reason in its head and heart. “I have read the episodes, I need to get more effects and more music,” Fausto Choque, radio producer, was always saying when referring to the radio drama. I remember that from the moment he started editing the three seasons of the radio drama, Fausto, who prided himself on having “good radiophonic hearing”, learned to hone his skill.
In each project with Media Impact every member of our team has ended up getting involved. From Elsa, who received the youth that arrived “bit by bit”, to don Donato Ayma who stayed to open the door for them several times (after finishing his program). In addition to running the controls for the program, Humberto ran about looking for snacks for the participants; or Pamela, who started working on the program “Youth on the Air” in the morning and often forgot to eat because each broadcast was a challenge and everything needed to turn out perfect.
Our Aymaran people, women, youth, the elderly, always said they knew us from Radio Atipiri “where there are nice radio dramas that teach a lot of things”, as dona Zenaida, a neighbor in the Rio Seco zone, said.
Thanks to our relationship with Media Impact, we have produced one of the most successful genres of radio broadcasting: the radio drama. In our opinion, it is the best work strategy to achieve changes in attitudes and have an impact on the population. Also, I cannot avoid acknowledging that it is an infallible strategy, as based on the radio productions, the love and ties have grown between everyone involved.
Finally, I want to highlight that each member of Media Impact has a great character. We have never felt alone or in a vertical partnership. Together with Queta and Javier we learned the value of always listening, because that is how we felt: always heard and listened to. We believe that, even after the projects conclude, the human relationships and the admiration will always remain.
Our deepest thanks to Sean, Brenda, Mike, Natalia, Lindsey, Sylvia and the whole Media Impact team. In addition to having impacted the life of many adolescents, our interaction with Media Impact also revolutionized our everyday lives and, I dare say, it strengthened the commitment that each of us, as communicators, has to continue contributing to the life of our community. Thank you for allowing us to dream and believe in utopia!
About PCI-Media Impact
PCI-Media Impact (Media Impact) empowers communities worldwide to inspire enduring change through creative storytelling. Media Impact is a leader in Entertainment- Education and social change communications. For 25 years, we have worked with local partners to produce programs that address the most pressing social and environmental issues. Using our unique My Community approach to social change communications, we engage and empower audiences around the world to improve their own lives. Working with local partners, we have produced more than 3,000 episodes of 100 TV and radio productions. Together, these programs have reached more than 1 billion people in 34 countries.