RRP used radio as a community-based tool to strengthen and expand parenting and ECD (P/ECD) interventions, by documenting and communicating best practices to a wider audience. It drew on interpersonal communication and partnership to build the capacity of community media to share information with parents and early childhood educators about such issues as: poverty/unemployment, child health and education, parental stress, abuse, illiteracy, parent-child communication, discipline, impact of drug/alcohol use/abuse on family, migration, teen pregnancy/early parenting, relationship building, and fatherhood.
The involvement of community media and community members (including children) in creating radio programming to support children's development, was central to the RRP. Implemented over an 18-month period, the first phase centred around national (local) and regional components including focus groups and stakeholder consultations. These interactions served as the basis for development of plans of action for strengthening, marketing, and sustaining P/ECD radio programme development. The second phase involved implementation of radio programmes at the local level (with regional-level activities such as a Radio Drama Workshop); these programmes shared information and/or entertained listeners in an effort to educate them, and engage them in communication, about P/ECD issues. The specific programmes included:
- "In This Life" - Drama and panel discussion on teenage pregnancy and early parenting, broadcast on NICE radio (St. Vincent & Grenadines).
- "Mamay-la" - Short drama with panel discussion, broadcast on Radio St. Lucia.
- "Spice It Up" - Drama scripts were developed by a volunteer; topics focus on family stress after disaster, potential for uncustomary behaviour, and school challenges after disaster (Grenada).
- "Focus on the Family" - Magazine-style programme for all ages, broadcast on Radio Toco (Trinidad). The focus was on single parenting, self-esteem; the programme drew on children's stories developed at a Story Building Workshop.
- "Tobago Today - All About Good Parenting" - Drama focusing on topics including family communication and generational issues, broadcast on Radio Tambrin.
- "Shaping Our Children's Future Through Good Parenting Practices" - Live, community panel discussion in Carib Territory, broadcast live on DBS Radio (Dominica) and streamed on the internet on November 4 2004. Dominica also created a children's programme series entitled Kalinago Kids, the first episode of which was broadcast on DBS Radio on October 9 2005.
Throughout this process, partnership was been a key strategy. To cite only a few examples, the RRP established a working relationship with the Caribbean Institute of Media & Communications (CARIMAC); 2 final-year CARIMAC students contributed to the RRP in Bequia and produced materials relevant to the project/radio programme. In addition, RRP/CSI collaborated with UNESCO, which provides equipment and training for multimedia centres (with a focus on indigenous Caribbean cultures). Through such cooperation, RRP focused on providing locally developed, relevant P/ECD content. RRP also collaborated with sister project Story-Telling Project for Early-childhood Parenting Support (STEPS) to faciliate the Story Building Workshop referenced above. These organisations collaborated in Belize, where in 2006 the RRP was established in two indigenous communities - with the Tumul Kin Centre of Learning in Blue Creek (a Maya community) and in Dangriga with the National Garifuna Council on Radio Hamalali (for the Garifuna community).
Early Childhood Development.
RRP was based on the following principles:
- The rights of the child (as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child) to survival, participation, protection, development
- Gender equity - the idea is that both male and female parents and children must be
involved and their respective perspectives, issues, differences, etc. addressed
- Life-cycle approach - RRP recognises that early childhood is not a stage but, rather, part of a process of human development
- Recognition of the adaptation of other interests into P/ECD (e.g., nutrition, HIV/AIDS, drugs, sexuality, conflict resolution, the environment).
Parenting Partners and CCSI. Support provided by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation.
Emails from Colleen Wint-Smith to The Communication Initiative on January 21 2006, January 23 2006, and May 31 2006; Caribbean Support Initiative website; and RRP website; email from Lorraine Walker Mendez to The Communication Initiative on January 26 2006; and emails from RRP and Parenting Partners to The Communication Initiative on March 23 2007.