Today was probably the toughest day we will encounter during our time here. We have a tight schedule but I needed to get the students into the correct headspace and there was a lot to do. One of the drawback of working in this lovely land is the heat in a classroom. No matter how enthusiastic they started off and they did the heat was going to make them tired. Especially as we had much ground to cover before the community come in for our first meeting tomorrow.
The morning session was actually the killer for the students. During my lectures I always like to get the students into breakout groups to discuss certain points we’re covering and report back. This morning’s session focussed on Community Radio in an African context. This is based on the work of Abdou Sarr “Community Radios – Tools to promote peace, culture, democracy and development in Africa” which tells stories and shares experiences of various community radio initiatives across the continent. Whilst here in September I had gotten the media Studies Diploma students to review the text by section and took notes (compared to my reading of said text) of their presentations and their reflections on the arguments and issues raised by Sarr. Subsequently I knocked it into shape for a presentation but as I hadn’t used it I had no idea whether it would work or how long it would take. Well it worked well enough and generated some really interesting discussions among the students when they reported back from their breakout sessions. The problem was it all led to a very long session for the 12 Rongo and 5 Brighton students (as well as me).
One of the points I made to them before we started was that for the next 2 weeks there are no Brighton or Rongo students – there are only CM4K students who are co-investigators with our community partners. The ice breaking games the day before had got them communicating socially. This session was intended to get them communicating intellectually.
The much shorter afternoon session was designed to introduce them to community-based participatory research as a methodological approach and how community research is linked to community media practice through inquiry, discovery, knowledge sharing and dialogue. All attributes of community-based and community learning. Although a shorter session than the morning lecture it tied together CM4K’s approach; jogged a few memories among students from both institutions and prepared them for tomorrow’s session with the community when we employ CM4K’s PEARLS approach (Partnership Education: Action Research & Learning Scenarios) and introduce the concept of community communications asset mapping.
After dinner, we visited the Treat House Hotel where I sometimes stay to buy a few cold beers (we earned them today). I was greeted like a long lost friend by the staff which was very heart warming. We then spent a pleasant evening sitting in our little social area (a sort of folly – I’m sure there’s a proper word for it but my brain has switched off) which is encircled by the rooms of the Pastoral Centre. It was my first chance to socialise with the students since we arrived and the chatter and humour was very relaxing.