This past month, the selection process for writers and producers for Population Media Center’s two new shows in Uganda commenced. Held at Kabira Country Club in Bukoto, a suburb of the Capital City Kampala, 39 writers attended the first week of training in addition to four representatives from Makerere School of Public Health, the PMC-UGA administrative and production team, and PMC’s training team – which included two new trainers from Zambia. Chengo Musakanya and Justin Mukumbuta Mubita went through the same selection process last year in Zambia.
“It’s rewarding to watch the evolution and addition of trainers,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President for International Programs who has been training PMC teams for more than 15 years. “Chengo and Justin’s recent participation on the other side of the coin made it easier for participants to connect with them and get excited about what they can learn. Chengo and Justin demonstrated the remarkable depth of knowledge from previous training and writing the Zambia shows. This inspired participants about the possibilities and opportunities to expand their skillsets and make an impact.”
The selection process includes a broader, one-week training at the beginning so a large pool of writer candidates can become knowledgable with PMC’s methodology and improve their understanding and skills in using entertainment for social and ecological justice, even if they aren’t ultimately selected to work on this project. After the first week, the strongest writers are selected to be writers for the shows and training continues in a more detailed way as the writers and producers work to build the fictional world and characters that will befriend, betray, and change – bringing Ugandan fans along for the adventure.
Lindsay Reid, Uganda’s Program Manager and one of the PMC trainers in Uganda, noted that participants across all portions of the training seemed to really enjoy and engage in the presentations, both in-person and on their written feedback forms. It was Lindsay’s first time as one of the lead presenters on the PMC methodology.
“The training went perfectly. Patrick and his team did an excellent job vetting the participants and making all the arrangements and the writers and producers that were selected by PMC-Uganda are talented and – importantly – are very excited to be part of RISE,” says Reid.
PMC will produce the two (yet to be named!) unique shows in Uganda in association with The Rise Launch, a country-wide project that includes partners like PMC, MarieStopes, FHI360, Reach a Hand, Makerere School of Public Health, and UNFPA. The theme is “Empowering Women through Innovative Approaches to Social Protection” in a continued effort to promote family planning programs and resources in the country.
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