June 18, 2016

FLORIDA, 17 June 2016 – Today, PCI Media Impact, an innovator in international Entertainment-Education, was awarded the Millbank Social Marketing Award for Innovation in the Environmental Field for its hit serial radio drama, Punta Fuego that airs across Belize on Love FM. The program is produced by PCI Media Impact, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Belizean Fisheries Department, with funding from the Oak Foundation.

The Millbank Award honors social marketing work that has a profound impact on an environmental or conservation issue. With Punta Fuego and its associated call-in show and campaign, PCI Media Impact and WCS aspired to build support for sustainable fishing practices such as “no-take zones” among Belizean fishers — and succeeded.

“I will be honest, I used to fish in the [no-take] zones from time to time. Now I think about what I hear in the show and I don’t think I will be doing that again,” one listener reflected after season one.

Sustainable fishing practices are a pressing need in Belize to ensure viability of fish stocks and the livelihoods of fishers and their families.

Season one of Punta Fuego, a steamy soap opera full of passion and betrayal, earned a significant following in 2015. The radio program was broadcast every Wednesday across Belize, followed by the call-in show. Campaign activities included highlighting positive role models for sustainability through the Punta Fuego Outstanding Fisher of the Year Contest. The show has recently returned to the air waves for a second season.

The success of this radio drama, call-in show and campaign is due to its ability to speak to the actual experiences of fishermen and women themselves. The adventures of the protagonist, a young fisherman named Ritchie, drew a large fan base. Of the fisher community members polled following the first season, about 50% were active listeners of the show. One fisherman even said that through Punta Fuego, “finally someone is talking to us, speaking to our issues!”

After Season One, an external evaluator found that Punta Fuego listeners were significantly more likely to exhibit correct knowledge, possess positive attitudes, report interpersonal communication, and perform positive fishing behaviors compared to their non-listening peers. In addition, the more each fisher listened to and engaged with the drama, the more likely they were to have made positive knowledge and attitudinal shifts.

At its core, Punta Fuego is simply good entertainment — a captivating drama with role models for sustainable fishing built seamlessly into the plotline. For over 30 years, PCI Media Impact has worked with partners such as WCS across the globe to bring this Entertainment-Education approach to the most pressing social, health and environmental issues.

“Good content drives good conversation; good conversation inspires behavior change and shifts social norms,” said Sean Southey, CEO of PCI Media Impact. “We believe that this radio drama is provoking the necessary conversations to pave the way for a more sustainable future for Belize. We are honored to accept the Millbank Award on behalf of our partners and those who benefit from this remarkable story.”

PCI Media Impact is a pioneer and world leader in Entertainment-Education and communications for social change. We empower communities worldwide to inspire positive social and environmental change through storytelling and creative communications. For over 30 years, we have used a unique capacity-building approach to advance the wellbeing of vulnerable populations by improving knowledge, shifting attitudes and changing behaviors on critical social issues. For more information about PCI Media Impact, visit: www.mediaimpact.org.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value biodiversity. It is focused on the protection of species while developing an ambitious plan to engage with a rapidly changing world. Its goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 15 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the planet’s biodiversity by using science to discover and understand the natural world, engaging and inspiring decision-makers, communities, and millions of supporters to take action to protect wildlife and wild places. To learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Society, visit: www.wcs.org.