Learning Exchange Platform


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Rita Narayan, Ramnath Bhatt, Ekta Mittal

The purpose of this workshop was to discuss ways and methods of participatory learning formats that could aid in developing the capacities among community radio stations, networks and their partners related to community health and other development issues. Trainers guided participants through a series of planning tools, methodologies and indicators that could greatly improve the possibility of longer term sustainability.

The workshop aimed to build knowledge of participatory communication for development and skills to use specific tools, processes and approaches for developing effective, low-cost learning programmes using community radio and mobile telephony, and participatory and collaborative approaches to content and sustainability. By focusing on programme development methodologies, it aimed to complement the Forum’s thematic sessions, e.g. disaster management (prevention), food security gender, minority rights, etc.

New technologies like the internet, social media, and mobile technologies have changed the way people communicate. In countries where freedom of expression and right to information is controlled by the government people are turning to new technologies to communicate. The purpose of this workshop was to introduce people to the scope and possibility of new technologies for community media.

The participants from Workshop number 5 – Participatory Learning; came from various countries in the Asia Pacific region – including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Fiji, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Philippines.

Most of them are currently operational community radio stations in their countries, although some of them are policy advocates, trainers, or program producers who supply audio programs to community radio stations. Some radio stations are well established and have a history of broadcasting – e.g. Nepal, whereas the participant from Burma came from a formal educational background, and is quite new to community radio. Having a mixed group was an advantage in some ways where people were willing to adapt the concept of a Community Learning Program. However, it was also a disadvantage because some participants were looking to enhance the participative element in their activities, while some are looking to engage with how communities learn, within their programming.

However, as the workshop introduced the concept of a Community Learning Programme, through specific exercises like the Message Matrix, Program Matrix, Skills for interviewing and Integration of Mobile Telephony, most participants had the time to think through a Community Learning programme in their individual/country context.

One of the exercises in the workshop involved participants to think through topics of CLP’s if they could do with without constraint of resources. A list of potential Community Learning programmes emerged with that exercise, and most of them fit in with work they are already doing.

Seventeen participants from ten countries attended this workshop namely from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji Islands, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. A list of the participants along with the name of their organisation and email address is attached herewith.

Day One:
The workshop began with a round of introduction of the participants and the trainers/facilitators. The trainers shared the agenda for the three days and outlined the workshop objectives.

The first session was on “Introduction to community learning programmes”. The major topics covered by Community learning programmes CLPs are:
1. Focus on the local, typically at the district level, involving local stakeholders from the outset in decision making
2. Bring together different types of groups into collaborative programme design and management processes, particularly community networks, media/ICT outlets, health and development experts, policy groups
3. Prioritise the lived experience and stories of learners and other community members, combining them with “expert” information
4. Draw on traditional cultural formats, such as storytelling, drama, music and other folk media
5. Use interactive, dynamic and engaging formats, e.g. stories, vox-pop
6. Promote multichannel and blended approaches, e.g. combining radio with mobile telephony, and face-to-face interactions and community mobilisation with broadcast media

Following the presentation the participants were asked to outline the model: local, collaborative, participatory, blended and the process: message identification, programme matrix, formats, learner support, etc.

This exercise encouraged participants to start thinking about what programmes they will develop: location, target audience, topics, etc. and also identify the messages that they wanted to put across.

In the afternoon session the participants were introduced to using the message matrix tool for participatory content planning. The following example was shared:

Program Matrix
Issue Communication Objective Outcomes Target Audience Sources Key Message
Pregnant women not attending at least four antenatal clinics during pregnancy During and after the program series, all pregnant women in our community to attend at least four antenatal clinics during pregnancy so that all pregnancy danger signs are identified in order for the woman and the medical personnel are prepared to deal with them All women are seeking medical attention

All women attending at least four antenatal clinics during pregnancies Pregnant women

Husbands and boyfriends of pregnant women Pregnant women

Husbands of pregnant woman

Traditional birth attendant Are your wives pregnant?

To let pregnant women attend antenatal clinics to access free HIV counselling

Tips and advice for maternal and child

An exercise for content planning followed where participants shared their experiences of formative research and participatory content planning, i.e. focus groups, listener surveys, etc.

Day Two:
Day two of the workshop began with a presentation on the “Role and Responsibilities of the Partners in a Community Learning Programme”. Some of the key issues discussed:
• Collaboration is at the heart of the community learning programme concept and practice.
• The key elements that need to be represented are:

- Media/ICT
- Health/development experts
- Community representatives (local networks, civil society groups, etc)
- Policymakers

• Key stages of the programme process are:
- Programme planning: topics, target learners, etc.
- Programme design: identifying and unpacking the key messages, deciding on formats, identifying the learner support systems, e.g. listening and or discussion groups, use of other technologies, etc.
- Programme management and evaluation: meeting regularly – i.e. weekly, bi-weekly or monthly – to make key decisions about the programme, e.g. to review and approve programme episodes that the producers have created, to plan new episodes, advise the producers, monitor and evaluation the programme, etc.

• Roles and responsibilities of:
- Community network representatives: To represent the target learners
- Policymakers: To link the programme to the official policies
- Health/development experts: To ensure that the programme has the “right information” and is understood to be legitimate and credible;
- Media/ICT groups: To create programme content and to distribute it on FM, mobiles, etc

Following the presentation the group work on the message matrix continued.

The afternoon session had practical assignments and playback. It also included a topic on Interviewing for experience and its relevance and context.

Day Three:

On the third day participants were introduced to the topic “Mobile Telephony for Learning.” This module got the participants thinking about how mobile phones can be used effectively to support both logistics and learning in the context of community learning programmes using radio and to identify practical ways in which they will start using phones to complement and extend the work they are already doing. The topics covered under this module were:
• Activity one – understanding how mobiles are used locally
• Activity two – understanding how mobiles have been used to support learning for development in other places
• Activity three – other applications; looked beyond the case studies to specific software applications
• Activity Four – identify applications to try out in the local context

This exercise taught the participants the use of integrating mobile phones, locating mobiles in local communicative ecologies and mobile applications across programming (logistics, interaction (learner support, including assessment), learning content and frontline SMS

The session also included Examples of how mobiles are used in educational and developmental programming.

Outputs of the workshop:
- The participants were able to learn more of community learning programmes and how it can be used in their own community radio stations
- The participants learnt the practical approach towards community learning programmes and steps involved in programme development
- The use of mobile in community learning programmes was shared so that it could be incorporated in their work
- Heightened awareness amongst the participants on the need to forge collaborations between the community networks, experts, policy makers and media

Recommendations from Workshop 5:
- Bring together groups from the Asia Pacific region, which are at the same stage of development (e.g. new community radios etc)
- Region specific (language-based) workshops – every participant station gets an opportunity to implement a CLP – over 6-12 months
- Follow up workshops (inviting specific stakeholders – such as govt. etc.) who can support the subsequent CLP cycle
- Monitoring, assessment, impact based workshops OR coming with other learning programmes (approaches other than CLP as well) – consultative approach
- Exchange of experience (running CLPs) as well as exchange of content – region wise
- Availability of best practices of running a CLP in a given region
- 5 regional workshops within Nepal – in collaboration with ACORAB (covering all 200 stations)
-  Support for experiential learning opportunities – exchange visits, fellowships or internship opportunities for starters etc.
-  AMARC and COL partnering with regional partners like SPC and femLINKPACIFIC to developing CLPs in the Pacific region
-  Need for further workshops – Training of Trainers at the South Asian level – a forum to exchange techniques, tools, modules and experiences
-  Future support needed for participatory evaluation and assessment (before and after the CLP is implemented)
-  An archive for how audio content, radio formats and scripts of Community Learning Programmes can be shared amongst practitioners across the region
- Need for further capacity building programmes on participatory learning and mobile telephony within Sri Lanka
- Need for detailed and hands-on workshops on mobile telephony, digital mapping etc. and how they integrate with community radio/media
- CLP in Afghanistan – literacy for women (mentoring/support needed)
- Focus on women in Afghanistan – technology literacy etc
- CLP via community radio in Pakistan – support needed

 A method of developing capacity inside Myanmar communities that exist in countries that have free media or existing community radio networks/stations

- Greater number of community radios use community learning programmes
- More effective use of broadcast airtime and program development at the local level
- More exchange of experience and contents amongst the community radio in the region