By Darius Barrolle, Senior Communications Specialist
As soon as once more, entertainment-education has confirmed to be an efficient software for rising information and selling finest practices in forest and wildlife conservation. After solely 3 months of broadcast, the “Forest Blessings” radio drama and call-in present sequence has captured the hearts and minds of over 4 million individuals, significantly these inside 432 forest-edged communities situated in and across the Gola, Ziama-Wonegizi-Wologizi (ZWW) and Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo (TGKS) Transboundary Forest Landscapes throughout the Higher Guinean Forest Basin and all of that are discovered within the 4 Mano River Union (MRU) Member States: Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire.
Funded by the US Company for Worldwide Improvement by the West Africa Biodiversity and Local weather Change (WA BiCC) Program, the 24-episode sequence was produced in Mende, Krahn, Lorma, Krio, French and Liberian Easy English, and aired on eight radio stations all through the MRU subregion. This was the primary time a single radio drama and call-in present sequence selling biodiversity conservation has been produced and broadcast in these many languages throughout these 4 biodiversity wealthy international locations. Forest Blessings was additionally the primary radio drama and call-in present sequence ever broadcast in these landscapes. Furthermore, the sequence offered a possibility to construct the capacities of the eight radio stations broadcasting “Forest Blessings” to correctly report on the reside exhibits by offering dialogue guides, which included callers’ info and suggestions. These expertise can now be used and utilized for future broadcasts on any subjects starting from conservation, to well being to training – the potential is as limitless as creativity itself.
The “Forest Blessings” story relies in a fictional border city known as Mano NZela situated close to a really giant and dense forest with many alternative animals, and has been declared a nationwide park, which is a component of a bigger forest panorama that expands right into a bordering nation. Within the story, the native paramount chief named Blamah Wleh is in a battle together with his individuals to both earn a living from their forest assets—and certain destroy them within the course of—or shield the forest. Whereas the story is fictional, this battle is being performed out in forest-edge communities all through West Africa, whose actions resembling rising crops, mining, and attempting to find bushmeat within the forest threatens the forests, the biodiversity they home and the ecosystem features they supply.
The humorous and action-packed radio drama options good guys, unhealthy guys and people undecided which aspect to choose. At first of the story, the chief is a grasping chief with poor judgement, however he later realizes that the forest is all they’ve and when it’s depleted, generations to come back will undergo. So, he decides to alter his management fashion and work with those that wish to preserve the pure assets. Walatee, the wildlife hunter, goes to jail and pays an enormous tremendous for killing elephants and different protected animals. After his launch from jail, he stops looking animals and begins elevating goats and hen to earn cash.
The radio drama additionally promoted sustainable livelihood actions resembling beekeeping and lowland swamp farming as decrease depth income-generating choices than slash and burn agriculture or dangerous unlawful enterprises resembling mining. These and different livelihood actions are among the many many conservation methods supported by WA BiCC within the numerous landscapes by its grantees Royal Society for the Safety of Birds, Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone, Wild Chimpanzee Basis, Fauna and Flora Worldwide and Companions in Improvement.
On account of the Forest Blessings broadcasts, vital classes have been discovered in regards to the radio protection and listenership within the numerous landscapes. Radio Kintoma and Radio Life, each situated in Lofa County, Liberia, and masking the ZWW forest panorama which had essentially the most callers, which signifies the most effective protection that additionally reached into neighboring Guinea by way of the shared frequent language (Lorma). Jap Group Radio in Kenema, Sierra Leone, had the best variety of feminine callers, which signifies that the Gola Sierra Leone panorama has the best variety of ladies who personal radio units and cellphones and are keen to precise their opinions and ask questions on conservation points.
A majority of the callers mentioned they loved the episodes and valued their academic facets. Many callers highlighted poverty as a serious trigger for the overuse of the pure assets within the forest and insisted that the federal government and donors ought to put extra packages in place to cut back poverty in the event that they actually wish to preserve the forests. Callers repeatedly mentioned communities want extra awareness-raising actions such because the “Forest Blessings” radio program to maintain the dialogue on conservation points amongst forest-edged group members, native leaders and choice makers.
Augustine Cooper, a farmer who lives close to the Wonegizi Forest, mentioned, “I visited Kpotoma, one of many forest-dependent communities in my space, the place I requested a few of our individuals if that they had dried bushmeat on the market and so they answered, ‘We’re listening to the Forest Blessings radio program, which says nobody is allowed to kill protected animals within the protected forest. Because of this, we are actually elevating our goats, hen and different animals to eat and promote.’”
Common callers participated in conservation quizzes and gained t-shirts, hats and telephone credit. Hunters, farmers, college students, conservation specialists and different radio listeners of all ages known as this system to ask questions and share their experiences.
The inhabitants of those communities have been underrepresented in conservation boards and their appeals to donors and decision-makers for livelihood help as a way to scale back their unsustainable use of forest assets weren’t prioritized previously. The radio program offered a novel house for voices to be heard in lots of communities versus group conferences which might be restricted to solely these within the conferences. Reviews from taking part radio stations revealed that the listeners noticed themselves within the radio drama and the call-in present lifted their voices.
In gentle of those wealthy experiences and findings, hopefully further assets may be programmed to proceed and to construct on this distinctive pilot effort to help the conservation of the Higher Guinean Forest by entertainment-education and dialogue reaching tens of millions of individuals on rural and concrete radio stations. The radio drama sequence can nonetheless be heard on the WA BiCC YouTube web page in English and French.