Soap Opera to Address Climate Change in the Caribbean

24 September 2010 | News story

To fight climate change in the Caribbean, PCI-Media Impact, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and more than 25 regional partners are using soap and a lot of elbow grease. CEC member Sean Southey reports on the regional effort.  

To fight climate change in the Caribbean, PCI-Media Impact, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and more than 25 regional partners are using soap and a lot of elbow grease.

These actors have come together to design and launch the first-ever soap opera about climate change in the Caribbean as part of the My Island – My Community partnership program. The regional program brings together actors from across the Caribbean to address the effects of climate change on the island communities who all too often bear the brunt of its impact.

The innovative My Island – My Community program uses a three-part communications strategy – regional serial drama, national radio magazine show and national action campaigns -- to bring critical messages to islanders and empower communities to take action to mitigate the impacts of climate change in their region.

To launch the program, more than 60 participants from 11 Caribbean countries, including the nine countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, met for two weeks in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia last May to hone the program’s design and create the regional soap opera characters and story arcs. Abaco, Bahamas has since joined the regional coalition.

Because the programs’ target audience is as diverse as the region’s culture, the workshop welcomed participants representing a diverse cross section of Islanders: students, local government officials, educators, a top Jamaican pop music entertainer and directors of local climate change non-profit organization. There was an age range spanning nearly 70 years among those attending.

“This is my first workshop of this magnitude. I thank each and every one of you for making me feel excepted; for making me feel as if I could share my thoughts and my views,” said Kadeem Joseph, the Junior Prime Minister of Antigua. “It is so often that I am a part of meetings and to get my point across is crazy. You become the root of all the criticism and yet you can’t really defend yourself because no one wants to hear you. I would like to thank each and every one of you for listening and giving me encouragement,” he added.

Moving forward, each island coalition will use formative research to design a national strategy to accompany the regional communications program. Both regional and national youth strategies – representing everything from school visits to youth representation on the planning committee -- will be explicitly incorporated into this work.

My Island – My Community is supported by UNDP GEF-SGP, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USAID and The Nature Conservancy.

To learn more about My Island – My Community, please visit the Media Impact website: www.mediaimpact.org

For more information, please contact Alleyne Regis, Program Manager aregis@mediaimpact.org

To contact the author, write to Sean Southy at ssouthey@mediaimpact.org