In partnership with the Restavek Freedom Foundation, Population Media Center (PMC) will develop a radio drama series that addresses the root cause issues of family planning, sexual health, restavek children, and deforestation; all of which lead to ongoing economic challenges in the country. PMC's current project, 'Zoukoutap!', a 78-episode radio drama, addressed the first three issues and concluded in July 2014. The new project will build on the impacts achieved through the first drama and will involve producing and broadcasting a longer-running 156-episode radio serial drama in Haitian Creole.
This series will develop complex and compelling characters with which the audience forms emotional bonds. Listeners will be drawn into the program's riveting dramatic content, interwoven with social issues. This radio program will air for a year, three times a week, allowing listeners to gradually learn from and change their behavior based on the storylines presented and the decisions made by the characters. The total project length, including setup, training, and evaluation, will be two years.
PMC hires and trains country nationals to use the Sabido methodology to bring about positive social change through drama. Extensive research on the issues and the media habits of the audience will be used by the Haitian creative team to create relevant characters and situations that reflect cultural norms. Writers create episodes just 30 episodes ahead of broadcast, which allows for changes to be made according to audience feedback and response.
With the goal of continuous engagement in Haiti, PMC will continue its relationship with 'Zoukoutap!' producer Christina Guerin and the Sabido-trained creative team.
After the series has completed its broadcast, program evaluations will assess the impacts on listeners compared with non-listeners. This report will be shared with stakeholders and the creative team as they craft the next drama series.
PMC will seek partnerships with government, local youth leadership, community organizations, reproductive health organizations, environmental organizations, and media outlets to further movement-building and dissemination of tools and resources. PMC will learn from these partners, build on their work, collaboratively identify and fill gaps in programming, and develop cross-cutting programming that can bring about positive social change in Haiti.
September/October: Administrative set up. Contract with the media broadcasters. Establish advisory committee, to be composed of reps from local NGOs and technical experts from government Ministries and UN agencies. The committee provides advice on drama's technical content and ensures that adequate infrastructure is in place to meet the demand for services generated by the program.
October/November: Formative research conducted by local research firm: includes focus groups, expert interviews, policy framework, media analysis, literature review.
December: Ten scriptwriters and the producer receive a one-week training workshop in the Sabido Methodology of drama creation. Formative research report informs character and storyline creation. At the end of week one, five participants are chosen to continue on as the project's writing team, spending another week plotting the character development and story arcs. Actor auditions are held, and four pilot episodes are written and recorded. The other five participants return to their previous engagements, now with added understanding and skills in creating entertainment-education.
January: Test the four pilot episodes with the audience
March: Revise episodes based on feedback and continue writing. Launch promotional campaign
April: Commence broadcast nationally (on multiple national stations as well as multiple provincial stations) Broadcast period is 19 ? months, at 2 two episodes per week (plus a repeat of each), for a total of 156 episodes. Writing continues during broadcast, staying just 30 episodes ahead. Broadcast monitoring and multi-platform audience engagement occurs throughout.
October: Clinic monitoring occurs at mid-point of broadcast: new clients are polled regarding their motivation to seek services.
April: Broadcast ends
May/June: Local research firm conducts nationally representative post-broadcast survey, to measure the level of changes between listeners and non-listeners regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to the subjects addressed by the program.
July: Evaluation report is written. Dissemination of results.
Haiti has the lowest Human Development Index score in the Americas, with three-quarters of the population of more than 10 million people living on less than per day. The country faces pervasive social and environmental challenges that reinforce its ongoing struggle for economic and political stability.
Nearly all of Haiti's original forest has been cut, with only 2% remaining. Rapid population growth and the need for cheap energy (charcoal for cooking and heating) have led to deforestation that has made Haiti the most environmentally devastated country in the Western Hemisphere, vulnerable to floods and mudslides.
Haiti has a high HIV prevalence, with an estimated 1 to 2% of the population infected. Few individuals are aware of their HIV status, and even fewer take steps to prevent transmission. In addition, although most women in Haiti know about family planning, only 31% of married women are currently using a modern method of contraception, including condoms, which also prevent HIV infection. (MSPP, IHE et ICF International, 2012).
Parents who are unable to care for their children often send them to live with more affluent families, where the children receive food and housing in exchange for housework. Called restavek (from the French 'rester avec'), some are treated well, but many are abused and treated like slaves, live in poverty, and do not receive any education. Many suffer some type of mental, physical, or sexual abuse.
Media entertainment is incredibly popular and influential in Haiti, and radio programming is the most widely consumed form of entertainment. In rural areas, 55% of households own a radio set (MSPP, IHE et ICF International, 2012). Population Media Center (PMC) has recognized an opportunity to educate the Haitian population on the issues discussed above through media entertainment. They will utilize this unique opportunity to address issues facing the Haitian population by providing influential role models through radio programming, ultimately bringing about effective positive change to deeply rooted cultural norms.