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Mainstreaming Child-Friendly Schools in Sri Lanka: A Case Study

Author: 
Sonia Gomez
January 1, 2009
Affiliation: 

UNICEF Sri Lanka

From the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), this case study examines the child-friendly schools (CFS) approach in Sri Lanka - where, since 2002, UNICEF Sri Lanka has been working closely with th

Contact Information: 
Source: 

UNICEF website, February 15 2011; and "New Child-friendly Schools Bring New Hope to Communities in Sri Lanka", by Sarah Crowe and Mervyn Fletcher, July 15 2010. Image credit: © UNICEF Sri Lanka/2010/Crowe

http://www.comminit.com/files/ibc_3_9160.jpg
See video

Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI)

Established in 2003, the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) is a national media development institute based in Colombo working to develop Sri Lankan journalism.

Communication Strategies: 

In the context of the recent ethnic conflict, the SLPI's approach is to serve Sri Lanka as a whole: in the diploma and other training courses, when receiving complaints, and when advocating for professional journalism. Although not an explicit objective, the SLPI believes that its approach helps bridge divisions across the nation. The SLPI strives to maintain good governance, human rights, gender equity, and poverty alleviation. SLPI operates from the strong belief that a diverse, professional, and vibrant media can be critical in times of conflict.

SLPI has 4 operational arms:

  1. Sri Lanka College of Journalism (SLCJ) - conducts 3 core programmes: the one-year diploma course for new entrants in journalism, the mid-career programme for working journalists, and the training programme for regional correspondents. This involves curriculum development, training of staff, and investment in technology.
  2. Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) - works to resolve disputes between the print media and the public and advocates for more responsible, ethical journalism. In its efforts to improve confidence and awareness of stakeholders about the PCCSL as well as the Code of Ethics it adopts (The Code of Professional Practice of The Editors' Guild of Sri Lanka [PDF]), the PCCSL conducts networking with key civil society organisations in an effort to expand its membership. Given the fact that there is strong support for a self-regulatory body in Sri Lanka, the PCCSL also plans to explore possibilities of opening up for third-party complaints, as well as initiating complaints on its own.
  3. Advocacy and Free Media Division - conducts programmes on an annual basis. While networking with like-minded local and international organisations, it also campaigns on media law reforms in Sri Lanka.
  4. Media Resource Centre (MRC) - offers facilities and training to support the financial sustainability of SLPI. MRC offers space for workshops, seminars, meetings, press conferences, and exhibitions. It also functions as a place of gathering for journalists. Rental services at the MRC include: audio-visual equipment, TV and audio production facilities, computer labs, film screening halls, and an auditorium with multimedia facilities. MRC also offers its own workshops on: how to write a press release; how to write an article; how to conduct an interview and be interviewed; how to take a good photo; how to produce a radio show; and how to write scripts.


Examples of past initiatives include: SLPI took the lead in a joint media effort and managed to block an announced censorship through the re-introduction of the Press Council in June 2007. SLPI also played a role in bringing newsprint to Jaffna in 2007 when the Jaffna papers were about to close down due to lack of newsprint. In the wake of another attempt by the government to formulate a "media policy," SLPI was the key networking point for all the media activist groups to formulate a united response.

Development Issues: 

Media Development, Rights.

Key Points: 

According to one of SLPI's funders (Sweden-based Fojo Media Institute), journalism in Sri Lanka is under siege. Reporters are murdered, media activists are forced into exile, and newsrooms are burnt. Currently, Sri Lanka is ranked as number 165 on Reporters without Borders press freedom index - making it the lowest ranked democracy in the world. Although the political situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated and the media has limited space to produce quality journalism, Fojo claims that Sri Lankan press, radio, and TV failed to remain independent during the conflict. Editors were appointed on political merits, and reporters who tried to publish balanced and impartial journalism risked their lives. Instead of balanced, impartial, and accurate reporting, the media supported one side or the other in the conflict. In many ways, these patterns have continued after the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. SLPI is working to change this.

Partner Text: 

Funders include the Fojo Media Institute, Danida, and Sida - the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Fojo Media Institute website and SLPI website, both accessed March 25 2010.

Health Exchange - Summer 2009 - Time To Act On Social Determinants of Health

Author: 
Alison Dunn, ed.
July 1, 2009
Affiliation: 

Health Exchange

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Email from Alison Dunn to The Communication Initiative on July 7 2009, and the Health Exchange website.

http://www.comminit.com/files/health-literacy-materials.jpg

Peace and Conflict Timeline (PACT)

Communication Strategies: 

PACT draws upon use of the internet to create a historical narrative that comes alive through new media. Visitors to the PACT website participate in the creation of an interactive research tool that records history. Centred around the creation of a timeline of events stretching from the 1800s to the present day, it features incidents and processes that are thought to be vital markers of the ebb and flow of Sri Lanka's conflict. In an effort to make the 420 entries (as of this writing) aspects of what is meant to be a living conversation, CEPA actively elicits comments and feedback - in the form of details of events and processes that have been left out, or alternative narratives and perspectives on existing events to enrich what is already on the site.

 

In short, PACT is a "living conversation" aiming to collect and understand the many perspectives on the Sri Lankan conflict.

 

Development Issues: 

Conflict.

Key Points: 

In 2007, the PACT concept was recognised by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR), a global think tank, for its innovative use of new media.

Source: 

Emails from Kannan Arunasalam to The Communication Initiative on October 28 2008 and November 25 2008; and the PACT website.

Regional Media Initiative

Communication Strategies: 

These reporters are trained to understand conflict partners from the inside and to recognise in all parties their joint creativity in finding ways to transcend the incompatibilities. Internews provides interpretation at all stages of cross-production to maximise both formal and informal exchanges. Cross-production participants also hold meetings with fellow journalists and community representatives across the east of Sri Lanka. These background briefings and discussions are designed to give a detailed picture of communities affected by military conflict and ethnic strife.

To facilitate this process, Internews established media houses in Matara and Ampara to provide a creative place for journalists of different ethnicities to come together for training, production, and resource support. Reporters are trained to understand conflict partners from the inside, and recognise in all parties their joint creativity in finding ways to transcend the incompatibilities and to address common challenges. The Matara media house also holds regular professional development seminars for journalists on issues such as globalisation and the media, and freedom of information. After the training, journalists receive hands-on guidance to help them cover issues important in their community. This support is designed to help ensure that the voices and concerns of local communities are included in the media – not just perspectives from the capital, Colombo, where most media are concentrated. According to Internews Country Director Matt Abud, "Local communities throughout Sri Lanka lack media that provide information and news about their own neighborhoods, making it harder for them to explore and understand local issues. Because of this, local perspectives on peace, development, democracy, and other issues are also rarely heard at the national level."

Both media houses support the production of Real Voices, a weekly radio programme covering community issues that airs on local radio stations in the East and South. Real Voices is now distributed in 9 outlets, including Sinhala-language radio stations, Tamil-language radio stations, podcasts, and a satellite network that broadcasts directly to 16 villages, with plans to expand to 1,000. Recent stories covered on Real Voices include: an update on reconstruction after the 2004 tsunami, including disputes over distribution of resources; domestic violence and mental health challenges faced by women in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps; the challenges of sharing water resources for both drinking and irrigation between different communities in Ampara; and the impact of the decline in tourism due to the worsening security situation in Sri Lanka.

Internews also runs a small grants programme called Radio Plus, which offers financial and technical support to organisations or individuals who lack the means to get their stories to the public. Some grantees tackle issues such as small arms proliferation, discrimination faced by disabled youth in rural areas, corruption in local communities, and the conditions of Free Trade Zone workers. Others are exploring the use of new media, including an SMS (text messaging) news service, and internet radio programmes.

Development Issues: 

Conflict.

Key Points: 

Ethnic conflict has plagued the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka for decades and has claimed over 60,000 lives. In late 2005, after a peace process and ceasefire fell apart, the fighting intensified. According to Internews, the conflict has coloured many Sri Lankan journalists' coverage of local issues. For example, in one case, journalists jointly covered a local tsunami reconstruction dispute at Deepagavi that had split community attitudes. "Before this cross-production I misunderstood the Deepagavi issue," said one Sinhala journalist. "I thought the Muslim community had unjustly treated the Sinhalese, and I wrote that in my stories. But now…I realize there was no injustice....This problem is over-politicized."

The exchange between journalists is not only about producing stories, but also about individual relations. "Before the cross-production, I didn't like the Sinhala language and I had a bad impression of Sinhala people," said one Tamil trainee. "But since [meeting southern colleagues through] the cross-production I love the language, and I've now enrolled in a Sinhala class."

Partner Text: 

Funded by the US Agency for International Development's Office of Transition Initiatives.

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Internews e-newsletter, sent from Annette Makino to The Communication Initiative on August 7 2007; and Internews website.

Forgotten Diaries

Communication Strategies: 

This year-long project draws upon the internet to both offer participants the means to "blog" (converse online) about how conflict is affecting their lives and countries, and to provide them with the tools they need to start small development projects in their respective communities. YAC researched several countries, regions, and conflicts and decided to shed light on those unreported, underreported and neglected crisis, conflicts, and issues. Then, they extended a call for applications, selecting up to 5 young people from each country who hailed from different cultural, social, and religious backgrounds (with a commitment to maintaining gender balance throughout the project). Throughout the pilot phase, YAC teachers and partner grassroots organisations in the target countries will train and help participants address local concerns through various activities organised by participants for their peers and communities - the details of which will be shared in the online blogs.

ICTs are also being used to educate and involve people of all ages in these young people's efforts to equip themselves for peaceful action. Any visitor to the Forgotten Diaries website may read about the conflict-related issues specific to, and shared commonly among, each of the countries highlighted. They may also read the weblogs, which are designed to serve as a way to get to know participants and the conflicts they live in. YAC explains that, "[a]s we hope to provide them – and YOU – with ongoing intercultural and interreligious dialogue opportunities, we encourage you to read, comment, and reply to our participants' posts....We also plan to organise chats with our participants periodically for you to get to share your perspectives live with them."

Development Issues: 

Conflict, Youth.

Key Points: 

From the Forgotten Diaries website: "There are now over 100 ongoing conflicts and crisis in world, and despite the fact that some of these have been going on for over ten years and have claimed several thousands lives, they have received very little coverage by mainstream media....They are, de facto, shunned by the international community at large and are generally referred to as 'forgotten conflicts'. Several million children and young people are confronted daily with war, and have no chance to tell the outer world about their lives, hopes and expectations, nor the way they perceive conflicts and their struggle to survive." It is this perceived lack of "voice" that Forgotten Diaries aims to address.

From the YAC website: "Our...approach consists of engaging skilled young people to motivate and teach other young people, so as to empower them with all the tools they need to create a lasting and meaningful change at different levels. We offer all of our activities online and totally free of charge, and employ the peer-to-peer methodology."

Contact Information: 
Source: 

Posting from Selene Biffi Youthful Media listserv on June 17 2008; the Forgotten Diaries website; and the YAC website.

THINK WISE: The Global Cricket AIDS Partnership

In advance of the February 2011 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, players and squads from the 14 competing countries teamed up to help combat the AIDS epidemic.

Communication Strategies: 

The campaign, running throughout the ICC Cricket World Cup, is using television, online media, and in-stadium messaging in the 3 countries hosting the tournament (Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka). The concept is that sport can help bring people together to address key issues and encourage social change. The partnership has 2 major components:

  1. THINK WISE awareness: The advocacy work carried out by the partnership and leading international cricketers is designed to deliver key information about HIV at the international, regional, and national levels through public service announcements (PSAs) - such as the one visible below - event publications, and the THINK WISE website. This information focuses on awareness, inclusion, and informed decision-making for young people and volunteers, coaches, and commentators and broadcasters about the AIDS epidemic.
  2. THINK WISE projects: The partnership is piloting community-based cricket for development projects, aimed at using the power and popularity of cricket to help young people develop the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and skills to reduce their risk and vulnerability to HIV. For example, the campaign is being rolled out in schools and communities in match-playing cities to engage young people in HIV/AIDS education. The participating schools are building on the popularity of cricket, and excitement about the ICC Cricket World Cup, to engage young people in interactive HIV-prevention learning opportunities. Even the session on stigma and discrimination is delivered in a participatory style - e.g., games and group activities - designed to engage students in games and lively conversations.
Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Children.

Contact Information: 
See video
Source: 

"UNICEF and World-class Cricketers Team up to Battle HIV and AIDS: ICC Cricket World Cup 2011", by Amy Farkas, UNICEF website, January 25 2011; and THINK WISE website, February 10 2011. Image credit: International Cricket Council/2010.

Connecting to Work: Non-Agricultural Livelihood Opportunities for Rural Labour: Sri Lanka (Wage Labour)

Author: 
Amila Balasuriya
Nilakshi De Silva
October 22, 2010
Affiliation: 

Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA)

This paper sets out an evaluation methodology to understand and assess the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on rural livelihoods - specifically, of wage workers in Sri Lanka.

Source: 

Emails from Shalini Kala and Apoorva Mishra to The Communication Initiative on November 25 and November 29 2010, respectively.

Digital Media in Conflict-Prone Societies

Author: 
Ivan Sigal
October 19, 2009
Affiliation: 

Global Voices

This document from the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) focuses on media and conflict. It points out that both media and conflict have changed markedly in recent years.

Contact Information: 
Source: 

CAMECO New Publications on Media in Developing and Transition Countries, October 2009-June 2010; and email from Ivan Sigal to The Communication Initiative on October 13 2010.

The Communication Initiative Network and Partnership

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Featured

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Reducing Violence

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Quality Early Learning to Scale

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Improved Physical Environments

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Community Participation

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Strategic Thinking

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Evaluations

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Digital

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The goals of BVLF are:

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What kind of apps are available in the Education category? What are some lessons learned from the 'edutainment' era? How do teachers use games in the classroom?"

@UNICEF

"Data do not, of themselves, change the world. They make change possible - by identifying needs, supporting advocacy, and gauging progress. What matters most is that decision-makers use the data to make positive change, and that the data are available for children and communities to use in holding duty-bearers to account."

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Radio

"The three A&T country programs reached more than 11 million mothers of children under two years of age within the first three years of implementation through interpersonal communication and/or mass media."

Author: Manyang David Mayar, August 11 2014 -  Earlier this year I blogged about the school children in Jonglei state who were forced mid-exam to flee to the bush in fear of their lives....

Author: Daniel Realkuy Awad Barnaba, June 11 2014 - When fighting broke out last December in South Sudan, members of our radio team were among the thousands who had to flee.  After a few very difficult months, we’re all back in Juba and our health radio shows...

This set of seven briefings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, aims to cover what works to prevent interpersonal violence (including against women and girls) and self-directed violence.

This research brief from the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) discusses how mass media and information and communication technology (ICT) can "achieve society-wide changes in social and behavioral drivers of health because they reach millions of people quickly with high quality information.... These approaches include strategic...

BBC Media Action

Author: Peter Horrocks, January 14 2014    I've met audiences of BBC programmes in the UK and many parts of the world. But never have I met a group for whom a BBC programme inspired so much discussion as the women of the village of Vyapur in Bihar state in northern India.

"Long before there was a UNICEF, faith communities were among the greatest advocates for the world’s neediest children, providing guidance, aid and comfort to millions of disadvantaged families. In fact, the Convention on the Rights of the Child - the most widely accepted human rights treaty in the world - reflects deeply-held values embedded...

In January 2013, two meetings, a consultation on population-level social and behaviour change  (SBC) evidence review and "African Leadership for Child Survival: A Promise Renewed", led to a consensus to "accelerate child survival efforts. This decision was endorsed by more than 120 delegations from Ministries of Health across the continent...

"In the small village of Hafizibad in Pakistan's Punjab province, a young girl is using her mobile phone to send an SMS [text] message in Urdu to her teacher. After sending, she receives messages from her teacher in response, which she diligently copies by hand in her notebook to practice her writing skills."

The organisation Puntos de Encuentro compiled this multi-media library on the issue of sexual abuse because "sexual abuse is one of the worst human rights violations committed against women and children, a type of aggression against the integrity of their bodies, minds and spirits. As an information centre, we believe that citizens should have...

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Television

"...[T]he media children use can have a profound impact - both positive and negative - on learning, social development, and behavior. The only way to maximize the positive impact of media on children is to have an accurate understanding of the role it plays in their lives: which platforms they are using, the activities or content they are...

"The three A&T country programs reached more than 11 million mothers of children under two years of age within the first three years of implementation through interpersonal communication and/or mass media."

Author: Lisa Jordan, crossposted on May 14 2014 - Even with youth unemployment at high levels, business leaders complain that they cannot find graduates with the right skills for the modern workplace. A new report from McKinsey published this month found that although almost a quarter of the young people across the European Union are unemployed...

This set of seven briefings from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, aims to cover what works to prevent interpersonal violence (including against women and girls) and self-directed violence.

"This is the story of how Alive & Thrive integrated a national mass media campaign into its comprehensive program to improve infant and young child feeding in Viet Nam. Read what it takes to use mass media and why it's essential for scaling up behavior change."

A nationally representative online survey of more than 1,500 parents of children age 2 to 10 in the United States (US) released by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop found that, although children's media use soars as they approach school age, the amount of time that they spend with educational media plummets...

This research brief from the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) discusses how mass media and information and communication technology (ICT) can "achieve society-wide changes in social and behavioral drivers of health because they reach millions of people quickly with high quality information.... These approaches include strategic...

Author: Jacques Brodeur, January 14 2014     In this modern hypermediated world, the entertainment industry consider children's attention as a merchandise to be caught by television networks in order to be sold to marketers. How can society help children escape such attractive prisons? 

"It is heartening that an educational television series such as Baghch-e-Simsim has the potential to contribute to early childhood education in Afghanistan. In a context of economic and political challenges, such a mass media intervention carries the promise of offering informal educational opportunities to young children."...

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