International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in Action


Caribbean Audio Soap Opera to reduce risks associated with disasters

Based on the highly successful radio soap opera of Central America, an audio soap opera focusing on disasters and risk reduction has been developed for the Caribbean Region by the Port-of-Spain Sub Regional Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in collaboration with other agencies. The Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) are among the agencies involved in this project. Through the project, the region's stakeholder agencies in disaster management are strengthening inter-agency co-operation and partnerships.

Entitled "the rough season", the audio soap opera aims at raising awareness and changing behaviour regarding disaster and risk reduction. It is expected that the project will result in the reduced impact of disasters through saving lives, and the protection of human health, resources and assets in the english-speaking Caribbean.

The material was developed at the average reading level to ensure maximum understanding and listening. The soap opera's main target medium will be radio and other possible uses of the material include schools broadcasting; educational agencies, community and youth groups, religious and other organizations. In the longer term, it is hoped that the audio soap opera will be adapted for theatre and expanded to include video.

While the project content is driven by the mandates of the agencies involved, the underlying theme will be consistent - reduction of risk. The initial offering to the public will focus on what has been agreed as the most common problem of the target audience - flooding and related issues of hurricanes, storms, landslides and food security.

Each storyline contains a number of key sub-topics including such issues as preservation of public health, (community) early warning systems, climate change, building codes, and community empowerment. The script and its characters will encompass the attitudes and personalities that one might expect to encounter in a typical Caribbean scene.

Each of the ten episodes of the radio soap opera is expected to be 15 minutes. Musical interludes (in some cases developed specifically for this purpose) will be included. The region's musical community will be invited to support the project through their performances.

A number of evaluation and monitoring tools will be utilized to measure the success of the project. This will include surveys of radio stations, schools and other entities broadcasting the audio soap opera, direct feedback through dedicated call-in segments and panel discussions after airing as well as a questionnaire to be inserted in the audio soap opera's CD packaging. The audio opera is expected to be aired before the end of this year.

By Allison   Ali:
Information Officer
Port-of-Spain Sub Regional Office
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies