Radio and climate change meet in the Andes in Peru

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A shorter version of this lesson has been featured on the booklet produced by the MDG-F Environment and Climate Change window "Seeds of Knowledge - Contributing to Climate Change Solutions". - Read more about the booklet or download it in English / Spanish / French / Arabic.

Contents

Summary

The United Nations Joint Programme on Environment and Climate Change under the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) decided to launch in February 2010 an integrated communication approach, using both radio and formal education institutions to build awareness about climate change and adaptation measures. – The integrated approach includes; training of radio broadcasters; campaigns aiming to address environmental issues caused by climate change; and working with schools to educate children, who can in turn educate the community.

The radio broadcast popularly known as “Pachamamanchista Munakusun” (literally, “Protect our Mother Earth”) airs daily in Quechua the local language, and Spanish to encourage families and farmers to identify local problems and propose ways for adapting to the new climate change conditions. The broadcasts also motivate farmers to implement adaptation measures such as; water harvesting; reforestation of native species; biodiversity, protection and prevention of forest fires and overgrazing.

Thanks to the information transmitted over the radio, farmers are now adapting methods that are ensuring the improvement of crops and fields and are diversifying their crops as a way to meet the challenges of climate change.

In addition, several awareness campaigns have been developed to promote the protection of natural resources and to reduce climate change vulnerabilities in the sub basin of Santo Tomas.

Different workshops with teachers and specialists on climate change have been conducted to strengthen the skills and knowledge of teachers about the potential effects of climate change. And to identify strategies to incorporate these issues into the school curriculum.

Lessons Learned

Radio Programmes:

  • The radio is the best medium to reach rural populations where there is very limited access to information.
  • The people have great expectations for climate change information and they need to know how to do to adapt to climate change.
  • The radio programs need to be managed by local municipalities to ensure sustainability.
  • It is necessary to train rural radio broadcasters who know the reality of the area before launching the radio programs. This gives more credibility and captures audiences.

Awareness campaign:

  • It is very important to organize awareness campaigns in partnership with the local government’s management environmental units. Their participation ensures the involvement of local governments in these issues.
  • The involvement of educational institutions is key to ensure people participation in awareness campaigns.
  • A work plan with yearly strategic dates with city councils and private and public institutions avoids duplication of activities.

Schools Curriculum:

  • Any activity related to teachers, should be planned at the beginning of the school year in order to ensure the presence of all teachers.
  • The teachers are a very important group to work with. They are the ones who enhance student’s values. They can teach children about the importance of protecting the environment.
  • The sustainable use of natural resources and environmental education is important for development.
  • The improvement of human relationships with the environment ensuring high development at a lower environmental cost is key to ensure sustainable use of natural resources.
  • It is also needed to educate citizens in the promotion of quality production using fewer resources with the least environmental impact possible.
  • Only our values for life and nature will make a difference.

Purpose of the activity

  1. To develop Radio programs in Quechua and Spanish in order to build awareness among the local communities about climate change and the possible adaptation measures (Act 2.4.1).
  2. To develop information and campaigns awareness on forest fire control, overgrazing, use of water and promoting good practices in the rural areas (Act. 2.4.2). And to inform and sensitize the population and authorities on water protection and water sources, the prevention of forest fires, overgrazing and deforestation.
  3. To conduct workshops with teachers and educational institutions concentrating on climate change. (Act. 2.4.3). This strengthens the skills and knowledge of teachers about the potential effects of climate change, to identify strategies to incorporate these issues into the school curriculum.

Original issue addressed by the activity

The rural indigenous communities in the southern Andean highlands of Peru’s Cuzco and Apurímac have been hit hard by climate change. Endemic poverty in these remote mountainous regions has meant that the communities cannot afford a bad harvest. Yet, in recent years sudden changes in weather are impacting traditional crops like potato, maize and quinoa, a grain grown for its edible seeds high in proteins and other valuable nutrients. Several environmental problems have been identified in the sub basin of St. Thomas, mainly:

  • Inappropriate use of water and water sources.
  • Forest and grassland fires.
  • Overgrazing
  • Cutting of native forest and other forest species.

Living in altitudes of over 3,000 meters, these indigenous communities are far from the urban knowledge hubs that are researching solutions for dealing with climate change. And so with most people dependent on the radio for information, the UN Joint Programme on environment and climate change under the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F) decided to launch in February 2010 the radio broadcast popularly known as “Pachamamanchista Munakusun” (literally, “Protecting Mother Earth”) to build awareness among the local communities about climate change and the possible adaptation measures.

Strategy / approach chosen to address the issue

The strategy chosen is an integrated communication approach, using both radio and formal education institutions to build awareness about climate change and adaptation measures. – The integrated approach includes; training of radio broadcasters; campaigns aiming to address environmental issues caused by climate change; and working with schools to educate children, so they could in turn educate the community.

Implementation of the strategy / chosen approach

Radio Programmes

In the Sub Basin of Santo Tomas, four radio programs are transmitted in four districts of Santo Tomas Sub Basin. The radio program called Pachamamanchista Munakusun, Protect our Mother Earth, has been transmitted for 11 months in order to inform and sensitize the population and authorities on the effects of climate change. Radio programs are driven by rural journalists who were previously trained during training workshops held in December 2010 and August 2011. The radio programs are promoting adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change, reaching households further away from the districts.

The messages are transmitted in Quechua (native language) and Spanish ie raising awareness on preventing natural pasture burning and overgrazing. From 2011 the burning of grasslands has decreased considerably.

The strategies used by rural radio broadcasters to transmit radio program are:

  • Capacity building of rural radio broadcasters leading radio programs.
  • Design of a monthly programme schedule structured with thematic issues related to climate change and adaptation measures. It is based on the agricultural calendar of the area.
  • Mobilization of local people (farmers, women, community leaders and authorities) to attend the radio programs and to share their testimony about extreme climate change events in their communities. There were no such events a year ago. And to identify adaptation measures.
  • Interviews with specialists (technicians and municipalities officials, public and private institutions in the field of JP) on climate change.
  • Recording and disseminating comments from other national radios ie various Radio Programs (PRP) on climate change in the world are retransmitted in Peru in the radio programme Pachamamanchista Munakusun.

Awareness campaigns

Awareness campaigns have been developed to promote the protection of natural resources and to reduce climate change vulnerabilities in the sub basin of St. Thomas.

The following are examples:

  • Campaign "Fires kill Earth" Cease fire.
  • Campaign "Watch the Water. Water is Life".
  • Campaign "Give Joy to the Pachamama, planting a tree"

These campaigns used theater in schools as a strategy. Teachers and students actively participated in the campaigns. The population perceived positively that students are the ones sensitizing their families and the authorities.

School Curriculum

The training workshops for teachers and specialists seek to incorporate climate change issues into the school curriculum. Teachers aim to enhance values in the students about the adoption of responsible consuming habits, to aim for eco-efficient schools and to create spaces for water saving, protection of water sources and energy conservation. They also promoted re-forestation and forestation activities to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change.

Results and Impacts

People were sensitized by their own leaders and women leaders on climate change. The radio programmes also encouraged better use of natural resources. Since 2011 the burning of grasslands has decreased considerably.


After two months of closing the programme three radio programs are continuing on air, thanks to the efforts of the rural broadcasters who got support from the municipalities. The municipalities have contracted radio spots to report and analyze climate change, environment, prevention of malnutrition, alcoholism and other social issues.

The awareness campaigns have been gradually assumed by local governments through the Environmental Management Units- EMU who have prioritized these activities in their annual work plans. In the 19 workshops with teachers, strategies on how to incorporate adaptation measures in schools were identified. Students were encouraged to lead the process.

Evidence

Now that people are sensitized to climate change and encouraged to manage their natural resources better, there is more interest to maintain the broadcasts and more appropriation of the Programme by stakeholders. While the UN Programme has ended, three radio programmes are still on air, thanks to the support of the local municipalities.

In addition, the municipalities are now using radio spots to highlight climate change, environmental protection and other social impacts. The awareness campaigns have also been taken over by the local government’s Environmental Management Unit, which have not prioritized the activity in their annual work plans.

Finally, international radio programmes on climate change are now being transmitted to Peru via the Pachamamanchista Munakusun broadcast.

Next Steps

  • The consolidation and appropriation of the programme by stakeholders and local leaders is needed.
  • The Resolution by the Regional Bureau of Education for the adoption of Cusco methodological guidelines on climate change is still pending to be issued.

Potential replication / application

Lessons Learned from the Radio Programme have been compiled, the Climate Change educational guidelines have been produced and radio products are available. This experience can be replicated in other Andean regions and other country regions, to inform and sensitize remote communities and authorities about the importance of knowing and acting on climate change.

When replicating it is important:

  • To implement an integrated communication approach, using both radio and formal education institutions to build awareness about climate change and adaptation measures.
  • To train rural radio broadcasters before launching the radio programs and to design the radio programmes schedule according to the agriculture calendar of the area. This gives more credibility and captures more audiences.
  • To build partnerships with the local government’s environmental management units. Their participation ensures the involvement of the local authorities in combating climate change.
  • To involve educational institutions, those who are key to assure the participation of youth in awareness campaigns.
  • To strengthen teacher’s knowledge on climate change and environmental issues. Teachers are important players for the children sensitization. They are the ones who enhance student’s values and can teach children about the importance of protecting the environment.
  • To plan any activity with teachers, at the beginning of the school year.
  • To create a work plans together with the city councils and private and public institutions to avoid duplication and to coordinate on a yearly and strategic basis.
  • To promote ownership of the programmes by the local community

Information products

  • Consultant’s Reports
  • Compilation reports on experiences of the program
  • Radio Programmes
  • Radio Report campaigns
  • Radio Products (eg http://www.pnuma.org/peru/Materiales_Publicaciones.php)
  • Reports on awareness campaigns
  • Methodological Guide on Climate Change
  • Climate Change information poster
  • Curriculum for schools

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