Learning4Peace in the Solomon Islands
- Download the project brochure here
- Preview chapter about this project, of a forthcoming book to be published by COL in mid 2009
- Isabel Youth and Women Network Google group (email list)
- Download the Isabel Youth Policy here
This is the new page for the Solomons. A project has started (Feb 2009) to build communities of youths and women to network and create OERs related to L4P. It is being piloted in Isabel (Ysabel) Province. Isabel has about 27,000 population. It is mostly rural with no road other than a few km near Kolotubi and 2km in Buala. Travel is by dugout or motor canoes or round-island ship. There are 2 airfields, the main one on Fera Island next to Buala with three flights a week to the capital Honiara by Twin Otter. There are four main languages spoken in Isabel, besides Solomon Islands Pidjin and English. Most people speak Pidjin but some mostly older people only speak their mother language.
The project has 2 phases. This first phase is a scoping mission, but the ultimate purpose is to empower (especially) youth and women to network together and collaborate to create open educational resources (OERs) around certain themes of interest to them, related to “Learning4Peace”. For instance leadership skills, human rights, conflict resolution, and as a sub theme, domestic violence.
It is piloted in Isabel, because of the following reasons:
- the existence of the various ICT networks you can see in the diagram below. Isabel has 7 community email stations (PFnet), each attached to an FM “community” radio station set up by UNDP, and a broadband-equipped distance learning centre at Guguha near Buala;
- there are strong human networks of women, youth and church on Isabel. Isabel has a "Tripod" local goverance system, based on the Provincial Authority, the Council of Chiefs/Elders and the Church;
- Isabel Province has launched a Youth Policy and Action Plan in February 2009. This is the first Province to have achieved such a policy development. Isabel also held a "Youth Parliament" in 2007. They therefore have demonstrated a clear vision of Youth and development.
As the project is focusing on young people, the outputs (materials) will be exciting to them, for instance audio is a very popular format, which ties in nicely with the network of community FM radio stations which could broadcast their productions. We are using the email stations and Distance Learning Centre at Guguha, and the email stations creatively to support networking and collaborative development of materials. FM radio stations can broadcast their recordings and discussions/debates around the various themes, with contributions from young people and women all over Isabel. We are using a range of tools from Google email groups, specially created social networking sites, the COL’s wikieducator website and others. We even have participation involving popular music groups from Isabel. However, face to face support is needed in the early phases.
The networking technical component is supported through the existing PFnet, FM stations and the distance learning centre (DLC). Thus, we can help people to network even if they don’t know how to use computers or the Internet, through human intermediaries.
In terms of the content, we are linking in programmes and organisations whose own missions are connected with the same themes, whom might help to lead discussions through the networking. A volunteer from the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) is also sought.
A first planning workshop was held in Buala March 21-28 to develop the specific details of how to build and sustain the networking and use it to develop creative educational resources (which hopefully will be fun, exciting and relevant to young people especially). This was followed by a technical workshop for the PFnet and FM radio station operators, held in Honiara in early April.
More information on the continuing project is given below.
More information on Isabel Province
- Isabel Province development profiles by constituency on the People First Network
- Isabel on Wikipedia
- Isabel photo gallery from Ministry of Commerce and Tourism
- Isabel traditional dancing and panpipes on Youtube
- Isabel popular girl band Sisiva on Youtube
Community ICT facilities in Isabel
Click on this thumbnail to view a map of Isabel showing the various community ICT facilities available in Isabel.
Links to more information:
- Distance Learning Centres Project
- People First Network
PFnet email stations
These are part of the national network of HF-radio (PACTOR3) email stations established by the People First Network (PFnet is a flagship activity of the Rural Development Volunteers Association RDVA, which has a partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development].
- Can send emails, text but not browse the Internet or send multimedia. Can also make and receive HF voice calls if configured with the frequencies needed.
- Full power of email – can cc to many recipients world wide
- Extremely low operating costs (no airtime charges)
- Can send documents (text only) and highly compressed non-text files at a rate of about 1 minute per KB in practice
- Operator can assist people to send messages, even if they have no computer skills, and even in local languages
- Messages can be sent to other email stations, the PFnet Internet Centre in Honiara, the Internet café at Buala and Guguha DLC where they can be printed out and delivered or collected. Thus, it is possible for people with no ICT skills to use the facility.
- Community and private messages, one to one or one to many, over global email network.
Community FM broadcast stations
These were established by UNDP in partnership with PFnet under their Isabel Province Development Programme. Each is combined with a PFnet email station. The two together are known as Community Communications Centres.
There is also a Community FM Radio station in the provincial centre, Buala, operated within a UNDP-established public Internet cafe (currently using a dial-up connection as of Feb 2008).
- Broadcast audio information to reach a large audience
- Users do not need to have ICT skills
- Very accessible as content can be broadcast in local languages
- Content can be live or recorded in various formats including cassette tape, CDs as mp3 files.
- Printed information emailed to the station can be read out over the radio.
- Mass media service to share information of interest to the whole community.
- Possibly the most powerful way to include rural people on a large scale due to it’s local ownership.
- Can be used to inform and to solicit feedback, and for people to become involved in creating their own content.
- Could be a powerful tool for promoting good, transparent and accountable governance.
Distance Learning Centres (DLCP)
Established under the Distance Learning Centres Project, Guguha DLC is hosted in a community school in a rural area, but is within walking distance along the beach, or 10 minute motor-canoe ride, of the Provincial centre Buala.
- Full broadband Internet.
- Online conferencing possible.
- Can send and receive large documents, including video, audio, multimedia documents, etc.
- Distance learning linked to technical, vocational, tertiary, academic and continuing education.
- Enrollment and study via USP, UPNG Open College, other distance education providers
- Workshop facility with full audio-visual equipment
- Trained “Supervisor” (full-time manager) acts as technical trainer and facilitator for distance learning
- Supervisor can play an active role in building capacity within different community groups to use the networks
- DLC can act as an information hub, with the Supervisor and assistants providing information services
- Could act as a multimedia and training hub for the whole province.
Technology and Tools
- Ning - social network (we are yet to choose the name)
- Wikieducator - collaborating for content
- 3C - virtual meeting room, cyber collaborative community
- Solomon Islands SchoolNet Moodle - content and learning management
- Google Groups
- Audacity - Open source audio editing software
- Wantok Enterprises - FM radio station in a suitcase
Partner Organisations with the Commonwealth of Learning
- Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP)
- Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT)
- Isabel Provincial Government (IPG)
- Ministry of Women, Youth and Chidren's Affairs (MWYCA)
- People First Network (PFnet)
- Distance Learning Centres Project (DLCP - European Union EDF funded, Ministry of Education)
- Community Sector Programme (Ausaid)
- Inclusive Community Programme (ICP)
Participatory Planning Workshop
- Monday 21st – Thursday 26th March 2009
- 8.45am – 4.30 pm
- Monday – Diocese of Ysabel Conference Room, Buala
- Tuesday – Guguha Distance Learning Centre (DLC)
- Thursday – Diocese of Ysabel Conference Room
Objectives, Participants, Agenda, Outcomes, Materials
Development of Ideas and Storyboards
The participatory planning workshop was follows up by a technical workshop on participatory programming for community media, Apr 1-3 2009. This was held at Solomon Islands Development Trust (SIDT) in Honiara, organised and facilitated by Jerry Watkins (consultant) and Ian Pringle (COL) with Joe Major and Walter from SIDT. It was attended by many of the FM and PFnet email operators from Isabel, as well as other Community Media stakeholders.
Development of Storyboards
The Phase 2 of the project started with the opening of the discussions on ideas via the Google Group (linked top of this page). The Isabel FM radio communities are (except for Lelegia) linked by the PFnet email stations. Early ideas for content development were discussed.
Within the short time frame of the phase 2 of the project, some examples of completed content for Community FM radio (and Wikieducator) are required by end of June. Additionally, some face to face technical support and training is required to help the Youth coordinators and operators to learn how to use the networking and to organise their ideas via storyboarding.
With this short term aim in mind, it was decided to focus on two or three locations to demonstrate the process. Tataba and Sigana were selected, due to their proximity to Buala and their state of readiness following the attendance of key persons at the previous workshops.
A visit took place to Buala, Tataba, Sigana and Kolotubi communities between 23rd and 30th May, 2009. This process produced some concrete ideas building on the four themes selected during the March workshop (see outcomes of March workshop).
A one day workshop will took place at CYP on 4th June, to allow the wider stakeholder group to improve and build on these storyboards, and agree on how we can support the Isabel communities in their development. Thus, we will have at least four finalised storyboards to work with, by 6th June.
At the workshops in Tataba and Sigana, 6-13 June, content was created for the four storyboards above. One example of content was completed and sufficient contributions completed for three additional storyboards. Click here for the Content page or on any of the below for details.
- Shortage of sea resources and need for marine conservation
- Highlighting our customs - Kwarao Fishing
- Influences from town affecting youth in Isabel
- Combating ill effects of drug and substance abuse
A first draft of “Highlighting our Customs” was completed and mixed down to Mp3. This is a serial programme which can be repeated with contributions from each of the FM communities and shared between them. The programme is intended to celebrate and preserve valued customs and traditions. Wikieducator articles will be created for each programme, with transcripts and illustrations.
Although the recording was all carried out on one busy day, and understandably is a bit rushed, and the sound quality is variable, this programme is significant because it was entirely the product of Isabel youth using sound community media principles. They consulted their communities to identify the Isabel customs that should be highlighted, developed the storyboards and recorded the content. The only outside help came in the digital editing, however it is intended that training will be given in this skill using Audacity.
See our Ning site  to hear “Reviving our Customs – Kwarao Custom Fishing” by Sigana community.
Support from CSP, Ausaid
The Community Sector Programme (CSP) funded by Ausaid has granted SBD 121,000 (USD 16,000) to provide each of the Isabel "FM communities" with equipment to improve their capacity for community media programming. This assistance includes:
- 9 netbook computers
- 10 digital voice recorders
- 10 CD burners
Plus additional items. Bold text
Sustainability and ongoing development of community media in Isabel and Solomon Islands
The project is being carried out in close association with Isabel Provincial Government (IPG), and linked to their Youth Policy. It is hoped that the project will demonstrate through the Youth application the wider potential of the integrated, inter-modal communications. The Permanent Secretary, IPG, has been briefed and has requested recommendations on the on going support and sustainability of the networks. The consultant David Leeming will be briefing IPG on 8th of June, 2009, to develop such recommendations in close collaboration with IPG.
David Leeming P.O. Box 652, Honiara, Solomon Islands Tel: +677 76396(m) Email: leeming AT pipolfastaem.gov.sb alt leemingdavid AT yahoo.com.au