Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Work Update

For the past month and a half, I've been working for an Environmental NGO called Fundación Biosfera. My boss, Horacio, started the NGO in 1991 and still lives in the same dual house/office. The biggest asset is his network. There are about 50 or so professionals, students and interns that put in work for La Plata and I'm sure I will describe each and every one at some point.

However, as of now, I am the only Yanqui, and at that, the only Yanqui with a Master's from a well-known U.S. University. While it's nice to think you're special because of something you've done, this has actually put a lot of pressure on me to live up to my Masterly ambitions. When I first arrived, (like any job where I'm not getting paid) I laid down what I wanted to learn and what I was interested in doing. Horacio counteroffered with the task of developing a strategy for using Argentine television to subliminally educate the masses on environmental issues.

Sounds crazy huh? It's actually not. There's been a history in Latin America of using Telenovelas to change behaviors and attitudes of the masses. Check Social Marketing and the Sabido Method. Using Mexican telenovelas, Miguel Sabido was able to socialize Mexicans to important social issues, such as AIDS, contraception and family planning. The use of social marketing to promote family planning within several Mexican telenovelas were accredited with helping reduce Mexico’s population growth by thirty-four percent between 1977 to 1986. And my boss is counting on me to do the same with the environment here. Well, not really, but it's a good place to start.

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