Sunday, September 25, 2011

COL Healthy Communities Partners Workshop In Cape Town

23 participants drawn from 14 Commonwealth countries ended a workshop on the expansion of healthy communities in their various countries and organizations within the action plan designed from 2012 - 2015. The countries invited were South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Bangladesh, India, Jamaica, Fiji, Solomon islands, Canada, United Kingdom and Namibia.
The Director of Media Training Centre for Health, Gail White at the opening of deliberations told participants that it was an honour for her organization to receive and host people from all regions of the world in beautiful and historic Cape Town, South Africa. She wished that the exchanges of experiences were going to assist in the expansion of the work of the various organizations in their countries.
The workshop ran from the 11th – 17th September, 2011 was stimulating and productive because a remarkable group of people and organizations, new and existing COL partners, groups focused on media, health/development and resource people in areas from research to mobile contributed in various ways in sharing their work and experiences.
Ian Pringle, the key facilitator and COL Media Education Specialist focused on the use of media for non-formal education about health and development, specifically community learning programmes that are local, collaborative and participatory. The use of radio along with face-to-face methods and increasingly mobiles was very resourceful means of developing Community Learning Programme agenda for amelioration of livelihoods
From 2009 – 2012, knowledge sharing has been focused on seminars on educational media, community learning programmes, connecting with the COL newsletter and web site. In capacity building, over 700 individuals were engaged in training, of which 40 per cent were women. There has been increased use of community Open Distance Learning by 48 community groups in 10 nations at regional and national levels.
Community Learning Programmes (CLP) has been realized in Belize, Jamaica, Cameroon, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Solomon Island. These programmes have been produced locally blended and multichannel, collaborative, participatory, story-based and low cost effective.
Community Radio Programmes are beginning to have wide coverage, consistent message, creative, engaging with delivery through one-way and one to many people options, while the face-t-face approach is two ways, collective, links to mobilization and has limited scale.
With the introduction of mobile technologies, the programmes are more interactive, one-to- many, one-to-one, wherever and whenever they are realized. The participants before departure from Cape Town agreed that community various groups have to be involved in programming that include Community networks, experts, policy makers and media.
Elements of participation are feedback, action, discussion, content and decision making. It all starts with making decisions on the programme. Grassroots networks are supportive through story and experiences-based strategy. This means getting to use smart people, because smart people learn from experience and smarter people learn from other people’s experience, Ian Pringle observed.
He emphasized on the fact, that it is low cost when we have dedicated people involved in the programme, field based recording, collaborative management, inputs to community media outlets and promotions. The revenue resources should be varied for sustainability.
Addressing COL’s 2012 – 2015 Healthy Communities initiatives and a proposed framework, Ian Pringle shared with the partners an insight, which they built on during the week. Teams of small group work were established to reflect on the necessary additions for consolidating the action plan. Ekta Mittal of Maraa, India and Blythe Mckay of Farm Radio International Canada talked about developing capacity building materials, an Online CLP toolkit and Distance training course on educational programme development were presented.
The framework and template of the online toolkit were shared based on team assignments, while the framework of the Farm Radio international distance course to be developed over a week in 2012 was presented by Blythe Mckay.
This was followed by a workshop stream on learning the CLP model step by step by Ian Pringle and Joke van Kampen of the Story workshop in Malawi. The main outcomes were the awareness and skills developed in key CLP tools and processes through hands-on use of methods and brainstorming on different steps in the programme development process and new ideas and initiatives were proposed for the different CLPs by each team.
There field trips to Atlantis Radio, Wine Testing Vine Yard region of southern Cape and historic Rubben Island just to name a few tourism and learning attractions. At Atlantis Radio, Commonwealth of Learning Partners were shown how local community radio stations in South Africa operate, how issues are chosen for discussion during programming and the relevance of listeners’ clubs.
To live the realities of the Commonwealth of Learning Healthy Communities Partners’ stay in Cape Town, South Africa, please visit web page at –