Vila Pisa Bem: Landmine Love Story

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A young women returns home to find her village in the midst of a delicate transformation. Then her young brother's disappearance starts a chain of events that turns her whole world upside down. Step into a world of unseen dangers, feel the pain of passion, and find love in the most unlikely places. This 6-part radio drama aired on 30 radios in Mozambique to raise awareness about the long-term impact of landmines.

As part of the initiative to deal with the continuing landmine problem facing Mozambique, especially for those living in rural areas, the serial radio drama seeks to raise awareness, disseminate information and encourage safe behaviours in landmine contaminated regions. It also aims to increase awareness of the Mine Ban Treaty and Mozambique's deadline to remove all anti-personnel mines by 2014, and encourage people to push government to meet the deadline.

The storyline focuses on a fictional rural village, Vila Pisa Bem (Step Well village) around which a demining operation is in progress. The central characters are a young village woman who has returned from college in the city for school holidays and a young deminer.

Click to listen to audio from Vila Pisa Bem...

Vila Pisa Bem Theme Song
Portuguese Trailer
Changana Trailer
Macua Trailer

Sena Trailer

Links to related  CMFD work

Passo a Passo Digital Stories on landmines

Through the situations they face – the search for a missing brother, the antics of well-meaning friends who try, but repeatedly fail, to set them up, a land mine accident, and heavy rain that cuts the village off from the main road to town - the two young people and the community learn about love, dealing with life in a mined community, and the importance of a world without mines.

Considering that radio is still the best way to reach the majority of people in Mozambique, as television or internet penetration is very low outside major cities, the six-episode drama, with each chapter running for 8-10 minutes will be aired in Mozambique on 30 community radio stations in four key languages, in the second half of 2009. With the majority of the population in landmines affected areas speaking Portuguese, Shangaan, Sena and Macua these languages have been selected as relevant languages for the drama.

Whats been Said

Radio Homoine em inhambane
The district of homoine suffered the most with mines because of the war that the country had that lasted for 16 years. And until now there are still zones that have mine and by listening to the drama they will be more aware.

Radio nova na Zambezia
In general the listeners of this station all liked the programme. They said it was very motivating; they mostly use radio because television hasn’t reached there yet. It’s a very nice prevention programme.

Radio Vembe em Gaza
Listeners didn’t only approve of the programme, they also asked for more programmes like this one because they would like more information so that they can also alert and teach more friends and family that are living in other places. This program was so important to the radio that the radio sparked interest in doing something like it.

Radio Watane em Nampula
We had a lot of complaints from our listeners; they said that we shouldn’t only put the programme on air on weekends. They want it every day so that it reaches all the communities. It was also nice to see that they used the local leaders to talk about the programme. The radio should air the programme always because it brought a positive impact.

Radio Catandica em Manica
The programme had incredible impact because the local population was in need of a programme similar to this, because besides being a radio soap opera that is helpful, it also entertains and encourages people in communities here, because you hear more radio than TV. The listeners also said that the programme was good, educational, and useful for the community and that it should continue for much longer.

Radio Cascata em Namaacha
The initiative was very good; the drama was well received and has increased the work of deactivation of explosive devices in the neighborhood on the outskirts of Mandev Namaacha. The local people say that the radio quoted the letter and appreciates the fact that in addition to receiving the spots, they have received three t-shirts that were distributed to support staffs, who were undoubtedly very motivated to work, hence to the coordinator that the message was clear and think that people were touched.

Rádio Cuamba em Niassa
The programme is very good, because it is educational, and knowing that our people depend on agriculture, and are a nomadic people regarding the use and enjoyment of land, because there are more than 2 years in the same farm and this in itself represents a great danger because the farmers are going further and further away each time they change their farm.

Rádio Kussinkga em Inhambane
Radio Kussinkga had a success, winning a lot of audience because in the area there are still many concerns about the [mine] affected areas.The radio found itself inundated by people who wanted to learn more about the mines, the various types of explosive devices, each time the drama was aired, which leads us to a lesson for future programmes - the programme producers are also able to respond properly, since the radio producers, broadcasters also play an important role in the life of those communities, with regard to education., awareness etc.




No Name of Station Pronvince/District Coverage Area Audience
1. Cuamba Niassa / Cuamba 75 km 187.458 People
2. Lago Niassa / Metangula 75 km 75.504 People
3. Mandimba Niassa / Mandinba 100 km 136.238 People
4. Sem Fronteiras Cabo Delgado / Pemba 80 km 141.316 People
5. S. Francisco de Assis Cabo Delgado 50 km 63.739 People
6. Chiúre Cabo Delgado 75 km 432.086 People
7. Encontro Nampula 75 km 477.900 People
8. Watana Nampula 100 km 207.894 People
9. Ribaué Nampula / Ribaué 50 km 48.839 People
10. Thumbine Zambézia / Milange 75 km 515.029 People
11. Nova Rádio Paz Zambézia / Quelimane 100 km 192.876 People
12. Morrumbala Zambézia/ Morrumbala 150 km + 50.000 People
13. Alto Molocué Zambézia/ Alto Molocué 150 km + 60.000 People
14. Funrancungo Tete / Planalto 250 km 112.551 People
15. N’sanangwe Tete 40 km 101.811 People
16. Nkantha Tete / Chifunde 50 km + 30.000 People
17. Gesom Manica / Vila Manica 75 km 238.976 People
18. Sussundenga Manica / Sussundenga 100 km 213.206 People
19. Catandica Manica / Catandica 50 km 137.582 People
20. Dondo Sofala / Dondo 75 km 142.387 People
21. Pax Sofala / Beira 200 km 436.240 People
22. Búzi Sofala / Buzi 120 km 159.614 People
23. Homoíne Inhambane / Homoíne 60/70 km 107.475 People
24. Save Inhambane / Govuro 60/70 km 34.809 People
25. Kusinga Inhambane / Massinga 60 km 184.531 People
26. Vembe Gaza / Chokwe 60 km 187.422 People
27. Limpopo Gaza / Mabalane 50 km 26.648 People
28. Nkomati Maputo / Manhiça 30 km 159.812 People
29. Maria Maputo / Machava 500 km 675.422 People
30. Cascatas Maputo / Namaacha 70 km 41.914 People
    Total Audience   5.076.547 people

Fonte: INE

Landmines in Mozambique

Many years after the end of war in Mozambique, there remains a significant number of landmines and unexploded ordnance within the country, causing death and serious injury, but the resulting insecurity affects development and survivors live with trauma for many years. Given that the affected areas are no longer in urban centers but rather in the rural remote areas, there is a need to particularly make people aware of the possibility of landmines, as they may be very far from hospitals and places of care. Although providing information is the key, there is also a need to encourage discussions, so that families and communities will discuss the issue. There are some conflicting views about the ongoing extent of the problem in the country as well as the need for mine risk education. However, it has been widely recognized that some continued awareness is needed, and although it may be ideal for the de-miners in the field to conduct this sensitisation, this rarely happens.

Key Issues

Loss of land
Access to land for agriculture, grazing, and trading between communities is severely restricted when mines are planted. This prevents subsistence farmers and local economies from flourishing, thereby putting a damper on national economic growth.

Deminers and HIV

Deminers are generally locals or nationals of the country there demining. They come from diverse backgrounds, but are likely to be educated. However, there is anecdotal evidence of a commercial sex trade within communities hosting deminers, and of deminers engaging in commercial sex, which puts both the communities and the deminers at increased risk of STI and HIV transmission.

Mines and children
Mines are attractive to children because they may be shiny or colourful, and can be mistaken for another harmless piece of metal. Children use scrap metal to make toys, for example, cars, carts and prams. In regions where mines have been widely disseminated they become a familiar sight and a casual attitude to mines is often encouraged by the irresponsible behaviour of soldiers and other adults, who may disarm them.

Mines and floods

The inevitaMacuable soil erosion that comes with heavy rains and floods can cause mines to become unearthed or unstable, and even to move. Areas that once posed no risk can become dangerous. Mines may also be pushed further into the ground, making them more difficult for mining operations to detect and remove.

Informal deminers

In some cases, individual community members take it upon themselves to become informal, untrained deminers. They are generally respected by the community for their efforts, and the more mines and UXO they remove, the more respect they receive. This poses a problem for several reasons.

Land mine avoidance

The continued existence of land mines around rural communities means that individuals are always at risk, even if the mine fields are marked or known. Avoiding land mine accidents and communicating what to do in emergency situations is extremely important, especially given that most rural communities are located far from medical facilities, and not all mine fields are marked.

Mine Ban Treaty

Mine Ban Treaty, under which Mozambique must destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but originally no later than 1 March 2009, and now extended to 2014. The government has set up the National Demining Institute (IND) to deal with demining operations, land mine awareness, and land mine policy, but it is still far from reaching its Treaty commitment

For immediate release New drama to draw attention to landmines

Maputo, 10 August 2009; A young women returns home to find her village in the midst of a delicate transformation. Then her young brother's disappearance starts a chain of events that turns her whole world upside down. Step into a world of unseen dangers, feel the pain of passion, and find love in the most unlikely places. Welcome to Vila Pisa Bem!

A project of World Without Mines: Mozambique, produced by CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions, Vila Pisa Bem is a 6-episode serial radio drama to raise awareness and encourage safe behaviours around landmines in Mozambique.

The story is set in a rural community where a demining operation is in progress. A young village woman returning from college for school holidays and a young deminer are the central characters, who find themselves searching for a missing brother. Despite landmine accidents and heavy rains that cut the village off from the main road to town, the two young people and the community "learn about love, dealing with life in a mined community, and the importance of a world without mines."

Mozambique has made great strides in demining much of the country and deaths due to landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) accidents have dropped significantly in recent years. However, there is still work to be done to reduced accidents to zero and ensure rural people have access to much needed land.

"It is crucial that the land is demined because people are not cultivating the fields,” says Madalena Baptista da Silva. “Most of the time, mined fields are fertile land; demining that land would improve the lives of the nearby population and contribute to the alleviation of extreme poverty through ‘land release.’”

The series addresses issues such as safety, lack of access to medical services, the real dangers of demining, high stress levels deminers face, the importance of a community educator, and children’s vulnerability to landmines accidents. The drama theme song, sung by Mozambique’s internationally renowned music group, Eyuphuro, also talks about the desire to reclaim the land from landmines, especially for planting.

“The radio drama is entertaining and informative at the same time,” says CMFD Director and Executive Producer Daniel Walter. “By showing how one community copes with landmines, we hope it will encourage others to be cautious and report any suspicious metal objects, in order for landmines to be safely removed.”

The drama is being broadcast in four languages - Portuguese, Changaana, Sena, and Macua - on 30 community radio stations across the country through the National Community Radio Forum (FORCOM). Reaching out to diverse communities is a big challenge. Each participating radio station will receive a copy of the Portuguese and relevant local dialect versions.

"Some of the information is getting through, but Moçambique is an enormous country where there are still a great percentage of villages with very difficult access, no electricity, no water,” points out Da Silva. “It is difficult to get the information around where it is needed."

Vila Pisa Bem actor Efraime Francisco Nhabomba agrees that the drama can help communities understand potential hazards of landmines. “The communities that suffered from such situations need this type of information.”

For more information:

Madalena Baptista da Silva

World Without Mines
Av. Julius Nyerere, 657- 2º- Porta 4
Maputo, Mozambique
Tel: + 258 82 727 54 27
Fax: +258 21 497 323
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deborah Walter
CMFD (Community Media for Development) Productions
PO Box 66193, Broadway 2020
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 615 6278
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