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Saturday, March 17, 2012


 I have been looking at some effective writing for change strategies that I have used over the years and decided I would like to share some of them. Please do feel free to contact me if you need further details. What is PCC? It is simply parent/child communication strategies. In today’s age when we all speak at the top of our voice a language that is not understood across the divide, particularly for those of us that have teenage children, sometimes learning a few strategies could be helpful.

Now scriptwriters would find a veritable goldmine in using these guides to write BCC. Ugh! Seem to be doing a lot of acronyms today. BCC simply is Behavioral Change Communication which is what writing for change is all about.

So how do we use BCC strategy to write for better communication between parents? BCC drama follows certain set pattern.
You need to identify what the goal of the BCC drama seeks to achieve and it is best to write it down to serve you and your client. An example is something like: The goal of this series is to enhance better communication tips for parents and children with particular emphasis on teenagers.

Then you will need to identify what category of teenagers you are talking about and intend to reach.
This is important as it would be significant what type of language you will need to use.

If for example the scripting and production of these series will be teaching both parent and child advocacy skills, then you will need to have certain definitions clarified and identified as generally understood.

You will also need to identify some general assumptions for writing the BCC drama.

What are the assumptions we can make about the types of parents we are appealing to in the drama? One such assumption could be:
·        That parents generally love their children and want the best for them.
·        Parents generally have a faith and values system.
·        Parents need to be given more capacity in negotiating better communication with their children.

 A general assumption for the children may therefore be:
·        That the adolescents generally are cool, intelligent, and inquisitive.
·        Adolescents generally start evolving from dependent to independent identity as their bodies mature and are usually at their most vulnerable, they will thus need to be taught communication skills.

Parents are the first educators of life skills for adolescents but this is usually not the case because for a lot of reasons like religion, social and cultural constraints parents are somewhat shy of discussing sexuality issues with their children and wards at home. In these days of information technology and uncensored viewing of electronic materials, the adolescent of today is bombarded with all kinds of information.

This leaves the child with the wrong information processing ability. Adolescence is the transition period between total social economic dependence to relative adult independence. It is a period fraught with confusion.

A poorly informed parent is a risk to the adolescent who thus sources for his information from other (just as risky) sources sometimes resulting in devastating consequences for parent, government and society.

It is thus necessary to conduct ‘refresher courses’ for parents on the needs to educate their wards and children on sexuality issues.
Alarming messages or strictures do not always have the intended effect.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Years ago I had a concept of teaching teenagers how to write and what good could come out of writing. I do not necessarily mean the money. The African child of my time is used to the art of storytelling. As the years rolled by, I started learning another concept of writing loosely identified as writing for change. That was quite new for me and I guess it was also new for quite a number of my writing friends. I had evolved from writing romantic stories to crime thrillers, mysteries and even became a fan of Stephen King and Dennis Wheately.

Let me start this way, I will get to the subject but I want to give you a small background to what made me start writing at all. I was on duty one afternoon in the studio and became bored. A programme was on and I did not want to lose interest so I start scribbling some poems, got bored with that and started writing a play. I got suddenly immersed in the play that my studio manager had to come into the vocal booth to nudge me into signing off the programme. I started carrying the character of the play along with me and was impatient to get home. I liked our conversation and it took me out of my immediate misery. I have always being alone but rarely felt lonely for I always had a ‘situation’ going on in my head. So I eventually became a writer and went to university to learn the technics and technicalities of writing.

I assumed I had learned all there was to writing until I wrote a series and showed it to a friend and she invited me to send it to an international agency. I had forgotten all about it until one telephone call came. The agency UNFPA had read my story and would like to talk to me. I learned a new form of writing thereafter… Writing for Change. There are different names for this style of writing and I would like to use the name I became very familiar with, and that is,  Enter-Educate drama. It is of course at different medium of entertainment.

Enter-educate drama writing is basically technical writing as you are required to follow a required theme, certain words are essential and a format is usually followed. Why is it necessary for us here in Nigeria? Simple, our culture makes it a very natural way for social propaganda by government, civil societies and agencies. It is a vehicle  to pass ideas as the message is passed through popular artistes and actors. These artistes are believable and acceptable to the populace.
How do you write enter-educate drama particularly if you are used to sitting for the muse to give you inspiration. How do you work excitement to a story you are given to write and a theme you are to follow? These were questions that I had problems with when I started. So what happens if you are asked to write such ‘technical’ story. I use the word technical because you are expected to  use these phrases.

Rationale: why are you writing such a story at all.
Outcome: what do you hope to achieve at the end of the story?
Minimum measurable indicator: what level of changes do you expect to see when you have finished the story?
Your story is also expected to be S.M.A.R.T.

First I heard that I wondered. It was my welcome to the world of social propangad writing. Not like  in advert storyboards but in writing for enter-educate in such a way as to make your story SMART.
This simply means, your story should be Simple, Measurable as I have indicated above, the concepts and theme you propose must be Achievable. Relevant and Realistic and within a Time frame that is it is Time bound.
In my corner of the universe this style of writing has been used effectively to pass messages and enhance messages about behavior change. The series I NEED TO KNOW became wildly popular because we had used this style to pass on sexuality education that was considered sensitive.  I became an advocate of this style of social drama on a lot of other issues and used it extensively in my work with International agencies and some notable agencies.
Benefits: Writing for change fulfills some hidden longing of the writer to be the voice that teaches and molds society. It is a form of writing that takes from the lessons life had taught to show in subtle ways correction that needs to be made in certain behavior that may militate against positive progress.

Social Drama helps to show through everyday activities the faults in some wrongly held concepts. It is the sugar coating on the pill for change as the human being is naturally resistant to change.