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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2000 MAL: A Study of Media For and About Children in the Maldive Islands



Author: Rasheed, A.; Kareem, K. A.

Executive summary

Background

The years 0-5 are critical to the formation of intelligence, personality, and social behaviour, and the effects of early neglect are cumulative. UNICEF and the Maldivian government have embarked on an ambitious project Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in the Maldives, to find and implement ways to help raise healthy, confident, happy and creative children. Identifying media as a key player in the development process of children, one of the key strategies of the project is to build the capacity of the government and private sector media professionals in developing and producing high quality and developmentally appropriate media for and about children.

Purpose / Objective

The primary objective is to produce a comprehensive analysis of these media in order to assist the development of strategies for the proposed media prototypes of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) project. Aimed at programmers, producers, writers and other people who will be involved in the production of these media, the study will:
- Catalogue and review the whole range of media for and about children 0-5 years
- Develop island profiles of the target areas on the accessibility and the consumption of these media
- Make appropriate recommendations about media production for and about children based on these findings

Methodology

Textual analysis was used to review the media. As well as the four wards of the capital Male, and Villingilli, four other islands from across the country were selected: Finey, Haa-Dhaalu Atoll; Thodddoo, Alif-Alif Atoll; Feeali, Faafu Atoll, and Hithadhoo, Seenu Atoll. This selection was made to represent the considerable variation of the island communities of the Maldives. The group has diversity in proximity to Male, population size, infrastructure and economy.

Ten pre-school children (5 boys and 5 girls) 0-5 years old and one preschool teacher were interviewed from each of the nine areas. Households were also visited in each area to interview five parents of 0-5 year olds.

Unfortunately, many TV programs are erased after broadcast to save tape. The media analyzed was mostly limited to what was broadcast during the time of the evaluation, November 1999.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The field study reveals that the availability and use of media for and about children depend, to a large extent, on factors such as proximity to Male, reception of broadcast signals and island-specific customs. Despite the differences, there is a remarkable similarity in what media children like and the media used in pre-schools. Media about children, wherever available, are widely used, particularly radio programs and print media published by the Department of Public Health and Society for Health Education. However, it is clear that there is a need for more of these, particularly for the 0-3 age group.

TVM's [the one local television station] programming appears to be neglecting the 0-5 age group on a massive scale, especially the 0-3 category. As a result, under fives are forced to watch programs targeted at older age groups. Moreover, there is virtually no programming specifically about children of these age groups aimed at parents and caregivers.

VOM [local radio] broadcasts a relatively wide range of programming for the 0-5 age group, although the 0-3 category is neglected. These programs, both for and about children, are not only popular, but also inventive, entertaining and informative.

By far, the widest choice of media for and about children exists in print, both local and imported. However, local publications for children under 3 years are virtually non-existent. But print media about children are particularly commendable, reflecting the efforts of a great many organizations. Clearly, there is a considerable amount of talent to be tapped in the vibrant world of print media.

Recommendations

There was a near universal call for more locally produced media that are of higher quality, more accessible to children, and more interesting, varied and attractive. There was also a general agreement that they should involve more games and fun, even as they perform their educational role. Resources should be provided to enable production teams to visit, study, and collect material and footage from outer atolls to incorporate into the media.

In order to bring together the fragmented efforts that characterize media production for and about children, a committee can be formed to provide help, support and guidance for media producers.



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Report information

Date:
1999

Region:
ROSA

Country:
Maldives

Type:
Survey

Theme:
Advocacy and Communication

Partners:
UNICEF

PIDB:
2003

Follow Up:

Language:
English

Sequence Number:
2000/002

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