Media Impact Empowers Indigenous Voices

Aug 9, 2012 10:30 PM ET

(3BL Media) August 9, 2012 - Today marks the International Day of the World Indigenous Peoples and this year’s theme "Indigenous media: empowering the indigenous voices" is particularly important to PCI-Media Impact (“Media Impact”).

Time and time again, our work leverages the power of Entertainment-Education to inspire relevant social change and reminds us of how integral it is to tell one’s story.  A marginalized group with an inability to disseminate its story is fated to be misunderstood by the rest of society.  Moreover, the lack of access to crucial social and environmental messages impacts a community’s health and livelihood. Many of our programs work to amplify these voices and bring critical awareness to the issues facing Indigenous Peoples around the world.   Thanks to the generous support of our donors and partners, we have worked with a number of indigenous communities throughout the world, since our inception 27 years ago.     The Mexican State of Chiapas is the first in the world to incorporate into its state constitution the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and focus its mandate on specific community development initiatives.  Mucho Corazón (A Lot of Heart), a television drama that began broadcast in January (currently being dubbed into Tzotzil), works to spread the word about the MDGs and the importance of sustainable development, gender equity and respect for indigenous peoples by weaving information into a dramatic storyline.    In Peru, My Community, My Water: The Story of Our Water, a national radio drama which is complemented by local radio talk shows, addresses sanitation, hygiene and water resource management issues. The complexity of the story of Peruvian water stress starts with the geographic diversity of the country. To put it simply, 60% of households in rural areas don’t have access to piped water and the quality of this water is deteriorating quickly.  In 2006, the Peruvian government found that most Indigenous People living along the river Corrientes had unhealthy levels of lead in their blood and 95% exceeded the healthy limit for cadmium. A nation-wide radio drama, which is set to begin airing in 2012, The Story of Our Water weaves together relevant information about water protection in a compelling story. In addition, radio dramas will be produced in Quechua, targeting specific needs of indigenous communities in the Peruvian highlands.   First beginning in 2010, Ciudad Espesa – Voces Nuestras (Dark City – Our Voices) is a nationwide program which focuses on enhancing the access of Indigenous Bolivian citizens to independent media. With a strengthened ability to broadcast high-quality independent programming in Quechua and Aymaralanguages, the aim is to increase understanding of media freedom, democracy and civic participation among Indigenous Peoples.   The issues facing Indigenous Peoples are complex and interconnected; they require a multifaceted approach that treats the causes and does not just center on the symptoms. Media Impact’s methodology, My Community, isn’t bound to a single thematic focus, but allows multiple issues to be addressed within the same program.  It works with coalition of local leaders to develop their capacity to produce a successful communications-based campaign. By engaging and informing the local community, the program encourages crucial behavioral changes by improving knowledge and attitudes surrounding the issues.   ABOUT MEDIA IMPACT: Media Impact is a leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. For more than 25 years, we have empowered communities worldwide to inspire enduring change through creative storytelling.  Using our unique My Community methodology, we engage coalitions of individuals and organizations to use serial dramas, interactive talk shows and community action campaigns to address issues important to their communities.  Working with our partners around the world, we have produced more than 3,000 episodes of 80 television and radio productions. Together, these programs have reached more than one billion people in over 40 countries. Our programs have increased knowledge, changed attitudes and inspired behavior change on some of the most pressing issues of our time, including youth and women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS prevention, sustainable development, family planning, reproductive health, conservation and human rights and democracy. Currently, Media Impact is working in more than 30 countries throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Africa and Asia.   For more information please contact:  Alex J. Cottin, Communications & Program Manager / PCI Media Impact; Mobile: +1(646-326-8377) /