Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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WORKSHOP ON ENVIRONMENTAL VIDEO PRODUCTION AND BROADCAST IN THE CARIBBEAN
(T.A. Marryshow Community College, Grenada, 6-7th May, 1999)

As part of joint activities between two UNESCO Sectors, the Natural Sciences Sector and the Communication, Information and Informatics Sector, a subregional workshop was organized on the CSI platform with a view to ‘bringing the environmental messages to the living room,’ in small islands of the Eastern Caribbean. This workshop was held in Grenada between 6-7 May, 1999 and was attended by 17 participants from Anguilla, Grenada and St. Lucia, as well as representatives from UNESCO, UNDP, European Union and Organization of American States (OAS). It was the concluding segment of a two-part experimental training exercise on environmental video production and broadcast, the first being held in November, 1998 also in Grenada, concentrating on production with the present focussing on evaluation.

This activity was organized by the UNESCO-Jamaica Office and the COSALC Coordination Centre (University of Puerto Rico) based on a principle of intersectoriality and partnership both in-house UNESCO and with local and region-based institutions. At the end of the November 1998 ten-day intensive session, three environmental video clips were produced. These videos were broadcast on national TV in the three countries concerned during the first part of 1999 and although no formal evaluation was done, general public comments were positive.

In the interim between the two workshops, the national teams, coordinated by producer/trainer Christopher Laird (Heaven Incorporated, Trinidad and Tobago), prepared three new video clips, which were presented during the May workshop. Screening was carried out in two sessions, a self assessment for producers alone and the other to include the participants from local and international organizations. Each session was followed by in-depth discussion and analysis.

The Anguilla team (led by Ms. Sharon Roberts-Joseph) produced a one-minute video on Sand Dunes. The team comprised persons from the Planning Department, the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Anguilla National Trust and Radio Anguilla which worked well in spite of a lack of technical expertise. It received full support within the framework of the ongoing National environmental awareness programme of Anguilla, which is based in the Planning Department.

The Grenada team (led by Mr. Peter Thomas of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) produced a two minute video on coastal vegetation. After the training session in November, 1998, the NSTC undertook coordination for the follow-up work with a core group composed of people from NSTC, Lands and Surveys, Government Information Service, Grenada Broadcasting Corporation and the Communication Unit of the T.A. Marryshow Community College.

Mr. Giovanni St. Omer (Ministry of Agriculture Information Department, St. Lucia) produced a 5 minute video on solid waste management in his country.

While the producers were applauded for a job well done, a number of problems were noted and in particular:

  1. Lack of institutional support (to include the Ministries, participating institutions).
  2. Poor team management.
  3. Inadequate technical support and expertise, particularly for editing.

The relative importance of these three problems varied amongst the islands.

The novelty in this exercise in the Caribbean was noted, particularly in the planning to include a follow-up workshop in an effort to ensure application of the training. However, it was felt that for further continuation, this activity must move into a project phase such that the participants would have a solid programme, schedule, institutional framework and budget within which to work.

Viewed together, all six videos clearly displayed the beauty of the Caribbean area – a positive viewpoint against which to highlight some of the negative environmental practices. The use of local music (calypsoes) to get the message across was seen as being particularly effective. It was generally agreed that while all local environmental material was useful, the new videos required further editing before being shown on national TV, a task which the producers are now busy accomplishing within a set time limit. The final videos will be copied and distributed among the islands, thus multiplying the effect of each team’s work. A clear link may be established between this activity and UNESCO’s ‘Focus on the Caribbean’ process, one component of which is the development of multimedia community information and communication centres to deepen the process of education and awareness in the region.

The videos now require objective evaluation of their impact and effectiveness. Video broadcasts may also be combined with other media forms, both print and electronic, to provide an integrated approach to getting the message out. (This was already being started in Anguilla, where the showing of the Sand Dune video was combined with radio presentations and talk shows). The need to distinguish between the mere provision of information and the educational message was recognized as people needed the most appropriate messages to at least begin changing their perceptions on the subject.

Participants in general, and particularly from local and international organizations also recognized the relevance of this training exercise to their respective programmes, be it to promote a more friendly and sustainable management of the environment for the development and well-being of Caribbean peoples (UNDP); capacity building from the bottom up (European Union), a local NGO, and OAS.

During the concluding session of the workshop participants focussed on where to proceed with the overall environmental video activity. In answer to the question ‘Do you want to continue the activity?’ the three teams from Anguilla, Grenada and St. Lucia all replied positively.

In answer to the question: ‘How to make environmental video production and broadcast sustainable in Anguilla, Grenada and St. Lucia?’ it was unanimously agreed to continue to reinforce this activity on the subregional level prior to eventual expansion to the rest of the Caribbean. A time span of one year was foreseen during which activities may be fine tuned and consolidated through a project which will focus on capacity building, training needs, networking and exchanges, provision of hardware and software to support these elements, and initiation of novel broadcast, dissemination and feedback arrangements. Such a project will also indicate firm contributions from the local and region-based participating agencies.

UNESCO-Jamaica in collaboration with COSALC agreed to prepare the project document for submission to funding agencies such as UNDP Barbados and the OAS. In the meantime, UNESCO-Jamaica would seek ways to widen the project to include other Eastern Caribbean island countries.

For more information, contact :
Ms. Jocelyne Josiah, Regional Communication Adviser, UNESCO-Jamaica Office, The Towers 3rd F1.25 Dom.Drive, P.O.Box8203 Kingston 5, Jamaica; Fax (1) 8099298468; j.josiah@unesco.org

Dr. Gillian Cambers, COSALC Coordinator, SGCP-UPR, P.O.Box 9011, College Station, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Fax (1) 7872652880; g_cambers@rumac.uprm.edu

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