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BukSU counters infodemic with social innovation extension project

Anchors Ana Ninfa B. Caballero and Joanna Ruth S. Paloma discuss a point raised by the resource person on Episode 6 on September 9, 2020/OVPREI photo

MALAYBALAY CITY (OP-IPS) Bukidnon State University has spearheaded a social innovation project as its extension arm to help counter information gaps brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entitled Pag-Ambitay Daw Ag Kaulian (Share To Heal): A Social Innovation Kontra COVID-19, the university-wide extension project sought to address the ‘infodemic’, which the World Health Organization has sought to address by promoting healthy behaviors and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation. 

The university initiated the project in partnership with the Malaybalay City Government thru City Mayor Florencio T. Flores Jr and the Office of Bukidnon Second District Representative Atty. Jonathan Keith T. Flores.

The project uses a narrowcasting innovation model vis-à-vis the university’s radio station, DXBU 104.5, which streams the radio show live via the DXBU 104.5 and Pag Ambitay Facebook pages.

The university launched the project on August 5, 2020 with no less than CHED Chairperson, J. Prospero E. De Vera III, as one of resource persons in the maiden episode. The project has aired a total of 19 episodes from August to December 2020, with accumulated views of 43,699 and 115,497 people reached based on the livestreamed videos Facebook Metrics.

The radio program airs every Wednesday, 9-11 AM with credible speakers from international, national and local agencies and organizations. The program tackles the nine dimensions of the new normal; Governance and Management, Health and Wellness, Economic Development and Food Security, Legal Systems, Education, Mental Health, Media Literacy, Spirituality and Culture.

Aside from the digital radio program, the extension project will also be producing information, education and communication (IEC) materials on the new normal. This include posters, infomercials and radio plugs on the new normal in Bisaya and Binukid dialects.

The Office of the Vice President for Research, Extension and Innovations (OVPREI) leads the implementation of the project involving faculty extensionists from all colleges.

Dr. Joy M. Mirasol, VP for Research, Extension and Innovations, said the extension project pioneers a new platform for the conduct of extension and community engagement activities. Health protocols against the spread of COVID-19 imposed challenges on the conduct of face-to-face extension trainings.

The narrowcasting innovation model, which is the anchorage of this extension program, migrates face-to-face trainings to radio-based and digital platforms. The narrowcasting approach underscores the identification of target audience and specific topics, based on the profile of the beneficiaries – in this case, residents of Malaybalay City.

Dr. Mirasol explained that the extension project was born out of the university’s COVID-19 IEC campaign last March – May 2020. In those months, the entire country was placed on lockdown and BukSU initiated the BukSU Bayanihan IEC Initiative to address the need for reliable and accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic. One unique component of the extension project, she added, is its emphasis on the cultural aspect of the new normal. The IEC materials have Binukid translations and a culture-episode is slated every last Wednesday of the month. In this episode, the initiatives of the Bukidnon IP Communities are highlighted and their concerns on the new normal are discussed.

Another component of the radio program is the inclusion of a social media segment where the resource persons respond to questions generated from the social media and other sources. (Ms. Joanne Vivien S. Belderol/OVPREI publication contributor)   

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