Punta Fuego (Fire Point)
(Belize)

Season One followed Richie, a struggling fisherman who is pressured to pamper his girlfriend with gifts. Richie is offered an opportunity to make a lot of money by fishing in areas where it is illegal. Our protagonist is faced with very real hardships and his decisions can have a serious impact on his life and the Belizean environment.

Punta Fuego Season One and Two will implement the following activities in Belize:

  • Production and broadcast of two seasons (46 episodes) of the local Entertainment-Education radio drama Punta Fuego to role model desired actions, demonstrate alternative behaviors, increase knowledge, and shift social norms regarding RZ and MPA issues. Positive role models include female characters for gender equity
  • Production and broadcast of interactive radio call-in shows (46 shows) to engage community members in interpersonal communication. Shows feature expert guests who spark further dialogue and answer questions of the target audience
  • Coalition building with key stakeholders, including conservation institutions, community organizations, and other key stakeholders as described under Stakeholder Coordination / Involvement
  • Campaign activities, such as the Punta Fuego Fisher of the Year Award. An annual prize is awarded to an outstanding fisherman who promotes sustainable fishing practices, including advocacy for the movement. Last year, Mrs. Anna Ramirez won the award and was celebrated at the International Fisherman Day and Caribbean Fisherfolk Day, as well as in media. She mentioned: “The same way a man could fish, you can. The same way they could throw a net, you could throw a net!”
  • Monitoring and evaluation activities. A qualitative and quantitative impact survey after implementing Season 1 informed and improved the development of Season 2. More M&E findings can be found at the “Impact” section, but highlights include:
    • Listeners of the radio drama were significantly more likely to exhibit correct knowledge, possess positive attitudes, report interpersonal communication, and perform positive fishing behaviors compared to non-listeners.
    • For fishermen, the primary motivation for listening was because the show was about them: “We gain a sense of importance and relevance to society. Before the show nobody pay the fishermen mind, instead discussion is based on politicians, tourism.”
    • A more consistent marketing campaign for Punta Fuego is needed to make sure key messages reach all homes across Belize. Creative marketing efforts such as the Fisher of the Year contest were highly successful.

Punta Fuego is a serial radio drama, call-in show, broadcast and mobilization campaign in Belize. The first season took important steps to promote responsible fishing practices, and to increase respect for marine protected areas and replenishment zones. The script of the drama followed a version of the traditional Entertainment-Education method innovatively applied to the environmental subject matter. The community-driven, participatory approach, contributed to its large audience within the fishing community (about 50 percent of survey subjects) and the significant positive change in its audience members. Fishermen were involved in the formative research and program development processes and thus connected with the drama based on a feeling that it truly represented them. PCI Media Impact and partners are now broadcasting Punta Fuego Season 2, which hit the radio waves beginning in mid-June 2016 on Love FM.

Belize rests among marine ecosystems such as coral reef, sea grass, and sea algae that are in need of protection. In an area where fishing is prevalent among communities, promoting sustainable fishing practices becomes even more important in protecting the ecosystems. In an effort to directly engage fishermen and their communities, the Wildlife Conservation Society and PCI Media Impact joined to create a campaign geared toward sustainable fishing practices and the preservation of marine life entitled Punta Fuego.

Punta Fuego utilizes PCI Media Impact’s My Community approach to administer a detailed and well-rounded campaign. The My Community approach employs three core components: a radio drama, a talk show, and a community mobilization campaign. At the heart of the program is the Punta Fuego radio drama rooted in PCI Media Impact’s Entertainment-Education framework. The drama provided entertainment through storytelling which included weekly lessons about sustainability to take away from the plot. These themes are later discussed on the accompanying call in show Talking Fuego.

Punta Fuego has succeeded in engaging an audience to perform and promote positive, sustainable, fishing behaviors among their community. According to the fishermen of Belize, they were more inclined to tune in to the show because it was about their lives and it was accessible while at sea via LOVE FM. Quickly adopted by Belizeans, the radio show has gathered a large fan base. Audience members indicated they not only enjoyed the entertaining storyline, but also learning about the lives and hardships of fishermen. The engaging drama prompted conversations within communities, households, and over LOVE FM’s Facebook page.

After season one of Punta Fuego, it was proven listeners experienced a change in attitude, knowledge, behavior, and interpersonal communication regarding sustainable fishing practices and protection of the ecosystems. These included knowledge of the location of replenishment zones, how to identify them, and the purpose of not fishing in those areas. Fishermen learned the importance of carrying their fishing license, over-fishing can be detrimental to the environment, and fishers opinions matter to their local fishing cooperative, association, and the Fisheries Department.

With season two premiering in mid-June, the focus will be to build upon feedback from the community; broadening the audience, implementing text messages to facilitate talk show conversation as they are cheaper, and featuring fishermen on the show.

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