Wednesday, September 1, 2010

COL Goes To Lebialem, Cameroon

Commonwealth of Learning (COL) Goes To Lebialem, Cameroon
By James Achanyi-Fontem,
Cameroon Link
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has signed a Contribution Agreement to support Cameroon Link, facilitate the development, design and operationalisation of a Community Learning Programme about Maternal and Child Health in the Lebialem area. The results and evaluation of Lebialem Community Learning model will be shared widely in Cameroon. COL is an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education. The brain behind this initiative in Canada is Ian Pringle, Media Education Specialist. The support agreement was endorsed by COL Vice President, Professor Asha S. Kanwar, on the 30th August 2010.
According to the statement of activities of Cameroon Link, COL's Healthy Communities initiative will demonstrate and document the use of media and other information and communication technologies for open and distance learning, in particular the use of community-based media by development groups for non-formal educational programming about livelihoods, health and other areas of community development; working closely with COL and designated partners and consultants in all aspects of the project.
Cameroon Link will guide a range of local public, private and civil society stakeholders in the development of a new participatory learning programme about community health, one that reflects the key elements of COL's community learning model, namely a combination of educational radio content with face-to-face interactions and learner support, with a clear linkage to community mobilisation and action.
Cameroon Link is laying the groundwork for the community learning programme by identifying output and outcome indicators, collecting baseline data, establishing a consortium of partner groups working in media and maternal and child health, and identifying at least 1,000 direct learners reached through complementary face-to-face means and 20,000 active listeners in Lebialem.
Cameroon Link is working closely with COL-designated trainer-facilitators and local partners to organize a five-day programme design workshop.
Two (2) Cameroonian facilitators are working with COL-designated external trainers to capacitate fifteen (15) participants, with an equitable number of men and women, including local community stakeholders, local health authorities and experts, radio producers, as well as representatives of educational and other partners’ agencies. Certificates of participation will be issued at the end of the training.
Cameroon Link will ensure the execution of the community learning programme, including at least 30-60 minutes of original weekly radio content, associated to face-to-face learning support for twelve months starting November 2010.
Two other learning technologies, like using video shows for community support groups, mobile telephones to increase learner interactivity and to provide additional information to learners, computers to assess learning achievements, etc will be integrated for execution of the programme.
The actors will develop a case study of the Lebialem programme, including:
An outline of the COL-Cameroon Link community learning programme model, reflecting both the global approach and its specific application in Lebialem;
The process to be followed in Lebialem will include;
Twenty-five plus (25+) high-resolution, high-quality photographs reflecting the programme's participatory and educational nature;
The outputs, outcomes and lessons learnt, including a comparative analysis of the baseline and end-of-project data from phase one of the programme;
General considerations for policymakers in a) health education, especially maternal and child health, and b) community media; and
A roadmap for scaling-up the Community Learning programme model in Cameroon.
Cameroon Link will share the case study and roadmap, widely through electronic media, and in specific fora, like community media or health conferences, and with specific groups concerned with maternal and child health and so on, with a view to additional local and national programme development.
Before the end of the project, Cameroon Link will organise a I-day national seminar, ideally piggybacking on an appropriate event and with other national or international partners, focused on the community learning programme model and the results from Lebialem.
COL will be acknowledged in appropriate correspondence with media and other partners or the local authorities in any promotional materials or documentation as a partner in the development of the programme and as having contributed funds.
Groups and individuals trained or otherwise engaged in the programme development process, will be disaggregated by age, gender, location and livelihood, as well as Learners enrolled or directly engaged by the process.
Gender considerations will include:
Involvement of and access by women and men, boys and girls; and
Gender orientation of content produced;
Partnerships established and maintained;
Feedback from policy and programme decision makers;
Prospective sustainability; and amount, quality, subject and origin of content created, with observations concerning local relevance, degree of community and learner participation, collaboration among groups and specific gender considerations; and
Impact on health and development indicators as identified at the outset of the project.
COL contact, Ian Pringle, who is international programme coordinator and Media Education Specialist, is contributing resources towards the statement of activities; providing inputs and feedback throughout the project with the services of consultants to lead in the programme design and training workshop.
Gender equality is integral to all of COL' s work and requires that both women's and men's views, interests and needs shape its work in learning for development. Cameroon Link agrees that gender considerations shall inform the activities to be undertaken under this agreement, in particular:
Consultation with both women and men and the inclusion of gender considerations, for example, the role of gender in maternal and child health, in planning activities;
Equitable participation of women and men in programme development and training activities;
The inclusion in all workshops of at least one session focused on gender issues, like looking at the role of women and men in how programmes are developed and the gender implications for learning and action processes; and
The inclusion in all learning programmes of specific gender considerations, the role of men in maternal and child health, the roles of both women and men in preventing and treating malaria, diabetes, sickle cell, etc.

Project Strategy

The approach to programme development and content creation includes:
Non-formal education approach to media, like identifying learing ojectives and learning process
Collaborative process involving media – ICT, health development authorities and experts and community networks,
Participatory design and operation of learning programmes,
Story-based approach to learning content alongside information from experts,
Blended and multi-channel approach to learning that combines media content with face-to face interaction and other types of learner support using print, mobile, etc.

Issues to do with Maternal Health include:

Sickle Cell
Family Planning
Prenatal Care
Gender relations
Safe Delivery
Working conditions

Positive Behaviour Focused On Nutrition

1.Eating balanced meal
2.Having enough good food
3.Washing hands
4.Extra food for pregnant women
5.Clean drinking water
6.Nurses giving information on health foods

Negative Behaviour & Consequences
1.Domestic violence (Suicide, miscarriage)
2.Men not involved/excluded (Withdrawal)
3.Forced sex (Trauma, unwanted pregnancy, STIs)
4.Women denied access to money, mobility
5.Women lack decision making power ( Women feeling inferior, do not take responsibility, dependence; community is missing half the inputs and loss out)
6.Men refuse to wear condoms
7.Lack of capacity development
8.Women being submissive
9.Preference for boys (Girls discriminated against)
10.Early pregnancy (maternal death, emotional consequences: young girls not ready to parents)

Workshop Schedule
1.Opening by the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem
2.Introduction, background and objectives
3.The basic principles of learning programmes (Group activity)
4.About the Commonwealth of Learning Community Learning with media Programme
5.Identifying the priority health issues (Group work)
6.Designing the programmes (in groups)
a)Identify the targets and problem solvers
b)Developing the message and programme matrices for each health issue
c)Deciding on learning media formats and sources
d)Deciding on the programme teams
e)Designing learner support mechanisms and clarifying role of partners
f)Identifying the interviewees and resources people
g)Making operational plans, including budgets and sustainability
h)Training needs assessment and planning
i)Monitoring and evaluation
7.Identifying some Open and Distance Learning (ODL) courses for healthcare workers that will support the learning programmes.
The COL road map will be executed with the technical support of Lebialem Community Radio, (LCR), Lebialem Association for Twinning of Schools (LATS), Fine Forest Foundation (FFF) Cameroon,and Cameroon Link.