Monday, November 15, 2010

Story Design Workshop Is Golden Opportunity For Cameroon

COL Cameroon Link Partnership Liaison Person Describes Story Design Workshop As Golden Opportunity For Cameroon
By Lebialem Community Radio

Executive Director of Cameroon Link, James Achanyi-Fontem, who doubles as the Commonwealth of Learning Partnership Liaison, has described the first radio story design workshop organised in Lebialem as a golden opportunity for the transformation of communities.
Achanyi-Fontem was speaking during the launching of Commonwealth of Learning pilot programme in Lebialem Division of the south west region of Cameroon last November 2 at Mariapolis Centre in Menji.
He thanked the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), through Charles Simbi and Gladson Makowa, who travelled all the way from Lilongwe, Malawi in East Africa to Cameroon to deliver the radio story design workshop content on “Mother and Child Health Care”.
He appreciated the presence of the Senior Divisional Officer for Lebialem’s representative, Moni Innocent Nanje, who accepted to preside over the official launching ceremony, while congratulating the Management of Lebialem Community Radio for accepting the challenge to host the workshop for behavior change communication, which remains a challenge in Cameroon.
The COL Cameroon Link partnership liaison lauded the participants, for leaving other activities to concentrate in the learning process and to serve their communities as volunteers for the promotion of healthy communities within Lebialem, the take off point of Commonwealth Open Distance Learning activities through Lebialem Community Radio.
Achanyi-Fontem announced that the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) signed a Contribution Agreement to support Cameroon Link, to facilitate the development, design and operationalisation of a Community Learning Programme on “Maternal and Child Health Care” in the Lebialem Division of Cameroon on the 30th August 2010 after a field study and evaluation of delivery impact.
He added that, the results and evaluation of the Lebialem Community Learning model will be shared widely in Cameroon, as reminded participant that the 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 the media initiative in Vancouver, Canada is Ian Pringle, a Media Education Specialist, he revealed. He used the opportunity to extend the sincere thanks and gratitude of the entire staff of Cameroon Link to Ian Pringle and his collaborators in Vancouver, Canada for the trust, that led to the birth of the extension of Commonwealth of Learning to Cameroon.
Achanyi-Fontem told trainees, that COL’s Livelihoods and Health Sector aims at improving on the incomes, livelihoods and quality of life of communities and their members through new knowledge, skills and economic opportunities gained by the means of Open Distance Learning Tools and strategies.
The four initiatives, he went on, include Skills Development, Learning for Farming, Healthy Communities and e-Learning. As far as Healthy Communities is concerned, COL and Cameroon Link have a common interest in helping community organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and local public institutions to improve the health and well-being of their communities. The Healthy Communities approach focuses on health issues within a broader context of community development, dealing for example with issues such as “Maternal and Child Health Care, HIV/AIDS and Nutrition”.
Cameroon Link and Lebialem Community Radio, the two organizations concerned with the delivery of the programme will share information and promote cooperation, at both the activity level (interventions in the field) as well as with regard to policy, COL partnership liaison told the audience.
Areas of specific interest for collaboration in the Cameroon Link initiative include:
 Use of mobile technologies;
 Use of traditional media;
 Use of e-Health applications; and developing open and distance learning materials and programmes, both for healthcare intermediaries and citizens during a period of 12 months.
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, and 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 like the Malawi Story Workshop specialists, in all aspects of the project.
Cameroon Link is guiding a range of local public, private and civil society stakeholders in the development of new participatory learning programmes 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 has identified output and outcome indicators which assist in the collection of baseline data, establishing a consortium of partner groups working in media, maternal and child health care, and identifying at least 1,000 direct learners reached through complementary face-to-face means and 20,000 active listeners in Lebialem.
Cameroon Link worked closely with the COL-designated training facilitators and local partners to organize the five-day radio programmes design workshop that resulted to the production of our samples of episodes ready for broadcast at the end of the training.
Cameroon Link is continue to 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 the next twelve months starting from November 2010.
Two key learning technologies, including 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 are integrated for execution of the programme.
Cameroon Link and Lebialem Community Radio are developing a case study of Lebialem radio programmes, 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 followed in Lebialem includes:
 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 care, and
b) Community media.
 A roadmap for scaling-up the Community Learning programme model in Cameroon.
COL Cameroon Link partnership will lead to sharing 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 care and so on, with a view to additional local and national programme development.
Groups and individuals trained or otherwise engaged in the programme development process are 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 Program 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 leading in the radio programmes design and training.
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 agreed that gender considerations shall inform the activities to be undertaken under the 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 radio programmes 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 radio 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 care, 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 learning objectives 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 dealing with Maternal Health tackled include:
Sickle Cell
Family Planning
Prenatal Care
Gender relations
Safe Delivery
Working conditions and
The above list remains incomplete and will be completed as the execution phase unfolds.
James Achanyi-Fontem used the opportunity to introduce the two national focal points of Commonwealth of Learning: Professor Ivo Leke Tambo, who is the Secretary General at the Ministry of Secondary Education in Yaounde and Dr. Daniel Akume Akume, who is the Head of the Computerised System for the Management of Staff and Salaries at the Ministry of Higher Education in Yaounde.
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