During the first two weeks of June, Alianza Arkana began an innovative project to make a radio soap opera about the role of oil companies in indigenous Shipibo communities. This project is being organized with 12 members of the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Indigenous Communicators’ Network (REDCIP in Spanish).
These individuals completed a highly dynamic two-week workshop run by Mexican Doctor Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, from the University of Guadalajara, who is renowned as the Latin American expert in using popular media for educational purposes. She has worked in nearly every country in Latin America creating radio soap-operas to educate audiences in areas such as women’s rights, teenage sexuality, HIV, emigration to the USA, and many other issues related to social change.
After a decree passed in the Peruvian Parliament in 2013, 80% of the Peruvian Amazon is now available as concessions to oil and gas companies. Many Shipibo and Ashaninka communities along the Ucayali river are currently experiencing contact with oil companies for the first time. There is an important need for these communities to be informed of their rights and to know more of the possible social and environmental consequences that can arise from the arrival of oil companies on their territories.
For this reason, Alianza Arkana, working with REDCIP, invited Dr. Queta Valdez to come to Pucallpa to run a workshop that would enable the participants to write a dramatic, entertaining and informative 24 episode radio soap opera in which they are the producers, editors, writers, and actors. Radio is an important medium for the Shipibo and many people listen to the programs put out by members of REDCIP especially oriented to indigenous affairs and issues.
The workshop involved a brief history of the field of what in Spanish is known as “educación entretenimiento” ( entertainment education), theories of communication and social marketing, and the essentials of how to write scripts including the importance of positive, negative and transitional characters. In addition, Lizardo Cauper, Vice President of ORAU (the Regional Indigenous political organization of AIDESEP), came to the workshop one morning to give a presentation about one particular Shipibo community, which had suffered forty years of oil exploration on its territory.
The bulk of the course, however, was devoted to writing, performing and producing one complete episode. This was successfully achieved and the participants felt very satisfied with their efforts. Several people showed themselves to be outstanding radio actors.
The first episode is set during the Shipibo Mundialito or Shipibo Football (soccer) World Cup, a major event for all Shipibo communities and will grab the interest of the listeners.
The overall series is called “Sin lucha no hay triunfo” (“There is no victory without struggle”) and will use the analogy of football to show the importance of unity and teamwork in being able to negotiate with the oil companies and assert the interests and rights of indigenous communities.
Sunday, 30 June 2013