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					Project Proposal


Project title
Maximizing the use of traditional, digital and satellite-based radio services to extend educational
programming and other relevant audio content to students and community residents of the
Republic of Nauru.


Project background and justification
The situation of the Republic of Nauru is extremely difficult. This isolated island state, located 42
miles south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, was once one of the richest nations per capita in
the developing world due to its phosphate resources. Those resources are now nearly depleted.
Phosphate income had been invested in trust funds and overseas investments to ensure
prosperity for future generations, but poor management and fiscal misuse wiped those assets
away in the mid-1990s.

Nauru is a small island measuring about 21 square km in size. Nearly 80 percent of its land mass
has been devastated due to mining activities. Its central plateau is considered one of the most
degraded areas in the Pacific region. Most of the population of 13,000 lives in urbanized
conditions on a strip of coastal land between 150 to 300 meters wide located between the coral
reef and the cliffs of the central plateau. There are few natural resources. Nauru imports its
drinking water and most of its food.

Forty percent of the population is under the age of 15. Primary education is compulsory in Nauru
but enrollment rates indicate only about 85 percent of eligible youth attend school. The official
literacy rate of 97 percent does not reflect the true level of literacy; many first-year university
students fail due to poor English language skills. Unemployment and under-employment in the
general population is estimated around 90 percent. Life expectancy on Nauru is among the
lowest in the Pacific region due largely to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and smoking-related
illness. The ratio of residents to medical doctors is about 700 to one. The per capita income is
less than USD$5,000.

The collapse of the Bank of Nauru in 1995 forced the country into a severe economic crisis that
continues today. The country is now heavily subsidized by foreign aid (AUSD$25 million per
annum). Political instability is a growing concern. There have been 17 governments in the past 20
years.

The economic situation means electricity supplies are hugely unreliable. In September 2005,
residents received only a few hours of electricity a day. The public water-purification plant
frequently does not function, public transportation is non-existent, public buildings are falling into
disrepair, and residents find it increasingly difficult to conduct their lives.

This proposal aims to combine satellite-communication networks now in place through the
University of the South Pacific (of which Nauru is a member country) with proven radio
technology so students and the general public can easily receive audio-based educational
materials. A 2003 UNESCO report encouraged the use of broadcast technology in Nauru. About
60 percent of the population is thought to own a radio set. The Commonwealth of Learning has
successfully used portable “radios in a suitcase” in many similar isolated and impoverished
developing countries.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the regional leader in distance education, with more
than 60 percent of its students studying via distance modes. Despite the competitive market of
distance-education providers in the Pacific region, the USP is the only university to serve Nauru.
The USP community radio station in Fiji, Radio Pasifik, is currently reorganizing itself into a
stronger regional presence to provide Pacific-centric educational and news materials. The
university already delivers via its satellite system more than 40 hours of audio tutorials every
week. This service, however, is only available in Nauru at the university centre. Many Nauruan
students are unable to find transport to the centre due to fuel shortages brought on the country’s
economic situation.

Material broadcast through a suitcase radio would capitalize on the university’s Pacific expertise
in areas such as marine science, good governance, cultural and natural history, and
environmental change. Content areas would most likely include preliminary, foundation and
degree-based academic courses (e.g: English and those involved with teacher training), as well
as Continuing Education programs, health awareness, youth issues, cultural programs, and
information on establishing community-based businesses. A successful radio project in Nauru
could serve as a model for similar projects in other countries in the region. Nauru serves as an
excellent pilot project due to its compact size and the direness of its situation.


Project objectives
       To adapt existing traditional, digital and satellite radio communication resources to serve
    the educational and development of the students and people of the Republic of Nauru.
       To create and deliver targeted audio-based educational materials to USP students and
    others in Nauru.
       To evaluate the effectiveness of audio-based instructional methods and assess what
    “blended media” materials work best (blended media materials include the use of
    photographs, telephony, video tape, etc in conjunction with audio-only resources).
       To create the precursor of a community-based radio station for Nauru and to train
    interested community residents in the management and operation of such a facility.
       To enhance the training of primary and secondary teachers through targeted audio
    programs.
       To use radio broadcasting to increase public awareness in a number of critical areas
    such as health matters, business entrepreneurialism, environmental awareness including
    coastal resource management and climate change, and human resource development and
    good governance.


Project beneficiaries
     Students of the University of the South Pacific based in Nauru.
     The general public residing in Nauru, including primary and secondary school students
        and teachers.
     Regional non-governmental organisations by providing a communications outlet for
        dissemination of information pertaining to community development, health, youth, micro-
        enterprise, etc.


Project sustainability
After the initial costs of establishing the physical suitcase radio, all other costs associated with the
radio station are manageable. These include the salary for the proposed production/management
staff, the annual broadcast license, and possible land leases for the antenna and tower. In the
spirit of community radio, show hosts will most likely be attracted from the community at large and
donations from the private sector and NGO community are not unreasonable to expect.


Project methodology:
The methodology for this project will include a blending of quantitative and qualitative research.
For the quantitative portion, it is taken as a given that the Government of Nauru has little
statistical data on hand. Researchers will investigate school-based data such into enrollment
rates, student pass rates, school-leaving test scores in select subjects (e.g.: English), etc. For the
qualitative portion, questionnaires and similar impersonal surveys are notoriously unsuccessful in
the Pacific for a number of reasons. Focus groups and personal interviews will also be used with
a number of key audiences (present and previous university and secondary school students,
community members, members of civil society groups (NGOs, churches, etc), government
officials, school teachers, etc). Staff from both the main university campus in Fiji and the
university centre in Nauru will engage in the research. Attention will be given to whether this
combination of technology is worthy of replication in other similar South Pacific countries (Kiribati,
Tuvalu).
Project Timeline

No. item                           Feb-06   Mar-06   Apr-06   May-06   Jun-06   Jul-06
1   Receive notification of
    grant award
2   Order radio equipment
3   Secure land (or access to)
    for mast
4   Secure radio license
5   Organise Audio content
    schedule
6   Staff recruitment and
    training
7   Publicity/Enrolment for
    inaugural semester
8   Install/test radio equipment

9    Begin broadcast regime for
     Sem 2, 2006

10   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 2, 2006)
11   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of Semester
     2, 2006
12   Assess Content, adjust for
     next semester
13   Begin broadcast regime
     Sem 1, 2007
14   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectation, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 1, 2007)

15   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of Semester
     1, 2007)

16   Assess Content, adjust for
     next semester

17   Begin broadcast regime
     Sem 2, 2007
18   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 2, 2007)

19   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of semester
     2, 2007)

20   Begin data analysis,
     complete surveys, focus
     group work, interviews as
     needed.
21   Draft report
22   Final report

Timeline (continued)
No. item                          Aug-06   Sep-06   Oct-06   Nov-06   Dec-06   Jan-07
9   Begin broadcast regime for
    Sem 2, 2006

10   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 2, 2006)

11
     Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of Semester
     2, 2006
12   Assess Content, adjust for
     next semester

13   Begin broadcast regime
     Sem 1, 2007
14   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 1, 2007)

15   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of Semester
     1, 2007)
16   Assess Content, adjust for
     next semester

17   Begin broadcast regime
     Sem 2, 2007
18   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 2, 2007)

19   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of semester
     2, 2007)

20   Begin data analysis,
     complete surveys, focus
     group work, interviews as
     needed.
21   Draft report
22   Final report

Timeline (continued)
No. item                          Feb-07   Mar-07   Apr-07   May-07   Jun-07   Jul-07
13 Begin broadcast regime
    Sem 1, 2007
14 Organise focus groups,
    interviews, surveys, for
    expectations, etc. from
    students (beginning of
    Semester 1, 2007)

15   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences, etc. from
     students (end of Semester
     1, 2007)

16   Assess Content, adjust for
     next semester

17   Begin broadcast regime
     Sem 2, 2007
18   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     expectations, etc. from
     students (beginning of
     Semester 2, 2007)
19   Organise focus groups,
     interviews, surveys, for
     experiences s, etc. from
     students (end of semester
     2, 2007)

20   Begin data analysis,
     complete surveys, focus
     group work, interviews as
     needed.
21   Draft report
22   Final report

Timeline (continued)
No. item                           Aug-07    Sep-07     Oct-07     Nov-07     Dec-07   Jan-08
19 Organise focus groups,
    interviews, surveys, for
    experiences, etc. from
    students (end of semester
    2, 2007)

20   Begin data analysis,
     complete surveys, focus
     group work, interviews, as
     needed.
21   Draft report
22   Final report



Project outputs:
     Creation of a broadcast vehicle to deliver academic programs from the University of the
        South Pacific to students in Nauru (secondary and tertiary) and their teachers (in-service
        training).
     Creation of a community radio station for Nauru.
     Training of community residents to oversee operation and management of the radio
        station at end of project.
     An increase in the dissemination of community-develop information, particularly in village-
        based business, health, and environment issues.


Project monitoring:
     Student data, both qualitative (interviews, focus groups) and quantitative (questionnaires,
        academic records, tutorial attendance, etc).
     Broadcast program logs (both written and recorded records of all material broadcast by
        day, time, duration of program).
     Consultation with Fiji-based USP teaching staff concerning their experiences with audio
        materials used in certain courses, and assessment of how distance courses could be
        revised to better suit the learning needs of Nauruan students as revealed through focus
        groups, interviews and questionnaires..
     Feedback (interviews) from civil society and government officials.
     Feedback from radio station volunteers and staff.

				
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posted:5/25/2010
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