Give a Voice Back to Rural Hondurans
(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) September 1, 2009 – PCI-Media Impact, a New-York based non-profit that develops communication campaigns promoting social change, is striving to restore its popular, educational radio program in Honduras. Several Honduran radio stations and other media outlets have come under attack in the wake of a military coup in June, which has resulted in the cancellation of many broadcasts, including Media Impact’s radio soap opera about healthy environmental practices.
Over the course of the past year, PCI-Media Impact has been working with Red de Desarrollo Sostenible Honduras (Honduras Sustainable Development Network) to develop Agua de Ángel, a radio campaign that encourages rural Honduran communities to protect and conserve local water supplies. Now, the show is off the air as a result of the recent political turmoil, and Media Impact is determined to bring it back.
The program originally aired on the government radio network, Radio Nacional de Honduras, but due to service interruptions and increasingly political programming, the program coordinators have been forced to halt broadcasts. “Agua de Ángel is more than a radio program - it is a community-driven effort to improve the status quo at a time when Honduran voices are struggling to be heard,” says Michael Castlen, Executive Director of PCI-Media Impact.
According to international news sources, on Sunday, August 23, eight masked men entered the Tegucigalpa headquarters shared by Radio Globo and Canal 36, two media outlets critical of the de facto government. The men threatened the staff and sprayed acid on their transmitters, thereby temporarily cutting off their broadcasts. This is just the most recent of several acts of violence and intimidation directed at Honduran radio stations, the country’s most vital form of mass communication.
“Challenging circumstances can often provide big opportunities, which is the case for us right now; in these uncertain times people’s minds are open, and we have a unique opportunity to change attitudes and behaviors regarding environmental practices,” says Victor Hugo Avila, Agua de Ángel Program Coordinator in Honduras.
In weekly episodes of Agua de Ángel, community members portray characters who dramatize the environmental and health consequences of contaminated water supplies and depleted natural resources. The story centers on Rosita, a young girl who with the help of a “Water Angel” tries to convince her neighbors to stop using pesticides and clearing forests. The drama is part of a larger radio magazine show that features interviews with environmental experts, tips for conserving water, and discussions about the soap characters.
PCI-Media Impact is determined to bring the program back using GlobalGiving (www.globalgiving.com/3732), an online fundraising platform where individuals and organizations can make contributions to help innovative development projects of their choice. Media Impact has until Friday, September 18 to raise the $10,000 needed to support the commercial rebroadcast of Agua de Ángel and provide continued technical assistance to the brave radio team in Honduras.
“We are asking for the support of all those who believe in Entertainment Education radio as an effective strategy to conserve and protect water and other natural resources – Honduras will thank you,” said Avila, in a short video his team produced to solicit support.
About PCI-Media Impact:
Since 1985, PCI-Media Impact’s programs have addressed the root causes of poverty and have encouraged people to make choices that lead to better health and sustainable development. Working with local partners worldwide, PCI-Media Impact produces carefully researched and culturally sensitive radio and television dramas that combine the power of storytelling with the reach of broadcast media. For more information, please visit PCI-Media Impact's website at www.mediaimpact.org or follow us on twitter http://twitter.com/pcimediaimpact.
About Red de Desarrollo Sostenible – Honduras:
The Red de Desarrollo Sostenible – Honduras promotes sustainable development through the information exchange, virtual forums, audiovisual productions, socioeconomic research and implementation of socioeconomic and environmental projects. Currently, the network has 600 active members that exchange information according to their areas of interest. For more information, please visit RDS’s website at www.rds.hn or contact Victor Hugo Avila directly at: 011-504-235-4141.