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Global project finds home at CARIMAC

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Global project finds home at CARIMAC

Dr. Maria Protz (left), CSDI Caribbean Coordinator, and Tecla Fontenard, OPAAL Communications Specialist, at the July 2008 OPAAL Communication Strategy Workshop, St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Caribbean Centre for Communication for Development (CCCD) at CARIMAC is now home to the Caribbean component of a global project sponsored by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Territory.

 This new global programme, the Communication for Sustainable Development Initiative (CSDI) is already working in Bangladesh, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bolivia, and Costa Rica and will now be using communication for development (ComDev) to assist  agricultural communities in the English speaking Caribbean adapt to climate change.

What is the CSDI and Why is it Important?
For Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such those in CARICOM, the implications of climate change are profound. Climate change (CC) affects our food security, natural resource base, and the agricultural and tourism sectors upon which our economies depend. The CSDI seeks to facilitate and ease the changes that CC will bring to rural communities through the use of participatory ComDev principles and practices that are integrated and mainstreamed both at the policy/institutional level and at the community level.

CARIMAC’s Important Role in the CSDI Caribbean Programme
As the lead media and communication training institution in the region, CARIMAC is uniquely placed to lead the CSDI in the region. CARIMAC already provides ComDev services to rural communities through its outreach work in rural radio, risk communication, alternative media training, distance learning, and its variety of short-term training courses. CARIMAC staff have also provided consulting services in communication strategy design, participatory media, audience analysis, digital media production, as well as a myriad of other forms of technical assistance.

Activities Promoted under the CSDI
Under the CSDI, CARIMAC will be extending these services to a wider range of agricultural clients and will be building sustainable technical capacity among professionals engaged in agricultural extension and natural resource management, as well as supporting community-based media initiatives that already work closely with farming communities.

The key pillars and priorities of the Caribbean CSDI programme include:

1.    ComDev for community-based climate change adaptation in the rural farming sector– helping to prepare farm families to become more resilient to CC through the introduction of improved practices and through greater community involvement in setting CC adaptation priorities.

2.    Mainstreaming ComDev at the agricultural policy level – through technical assistance and communication strategy development assistance to Ministries of Agriculture and extension services in Jamaica, and possibly St. Lucia and Belize.

3.    Design and delivery of professional development courses for extension staff and other personnel involved in the sector.

4.    Facilitating the link between extension services and community-based multi-media centres in farming communities.

5.    Supporting the technical quality of Community multi-media outputs to ensure scientific accuracy while also facilitating Caribbean culture through pilot media projects

6.    Publication of Caribbean Case studies in best practices for ComDev

7.    Support for a Caribbean Community of Professional Practice in ComDev

8.    Creation of a platform/portal on ComDev for CC adaptation that provides resources through

9.    Creation of new academic programmes in ComDev for CC and Agricultural development at the undergraduate level.

Dr. Maria Protz – CSDI Caribbean Coordinator
The 18 month project is being coordinated by Dr. Maria Protz, a CARIMAC adjunct professor and senior associate of the CCCD. Dr. Protz has over 20 years of experience working in rural communications – for FAO, UNDP, UNEP and other organisations. In 2008 she provided Communication Strategy training services to both the Integrated Watersheds and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) Project, and also to the OECS’ Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods Project (OPAAL). Dr. Protz is very enthusiastic about the project and is confident that it will result in a number of ‘best practices’ for ComDev that will definitely help agricultural services prepare the sector and farm families to cope with CC.

Want more information on CSDI?
Link to the CSDI slideshare presentation:

Rural Radio in Congo Activities

CTA Seminar Presentation

FAO Climate Change Newsletter

IISD Summary of CBA Workshop in Bangladesh

Congo Presentation to the CBA Conference

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