By Valentina Di Felice
When Womanity Foundation decided to expand its media work by developing an Arab-language radio drama to promote women's rights, we decided to share our plan with Amy Bank of Puntos de Encuentro, as she had many years of experience using serial drama for social change. We asked Amy to share insights that could help us as we ventured into a new field for us. Her advice was extremely helpful, in particular the points summarized below, and we are putting them into practice. In addition, we are currently in discussions to coordinate more formally with the Pop Culture with a Purpose project. What started as a two-hour conversation has grown to a much larger mutual collaboration!
Points from our conversation with Amy that we have taken on board:
- Don't have the radio drama be a stand-alone activity. Link a series of outreach strategies and activities to the drama (e.g., talk shows, leaflets to distribute, magazines, public events, listening groups) - each reinforcing and adding information to the overall message.
- Consider the drama more a commercial media product than an "educational" one. It should attract listeners because of its entertainment value. Therefore, it needs to be appealing to the identified audience and not be either too didactic or generic. We also need to identify the right time slot, as well as allow for re-runs in complementary time slots.
- Build the programme step by step, starting out with a few pilot episodes and then a first season. For each step, do focus group-type consults with listening groups in our target audience to adjust the programme offerings and to learn from the past.
- For evaluation models, reach out to organisations working in radio drama to request a copy of their evaluation report(s), as well as methodologies and indicators they have used. They can provide useful insights, even if we're only able to carry out a small-scale study.
- In general, continue talking with others about what we're doing, in order to get feedback on our initial thoughts and possibly revise some of the programme parts. This kind of feedback loop can also build confidence with regards to implementation and to potential impact.