“Love and Greed in the Valley of Cashmere Goats” – A Radio Drama Series in Mongolia

24 February 2023

The drama’s 26 episodes of 13-15 min each are broadcast weekly on the popular nationwide radio station FM 98,5 in the context of the My Green Mongolia (MGM) national campaign, also initiated by GIZ. The first episode was broadcast in early January, and the first season of the drama’s story arch will conclude in June 2023. When a new episode has been broadcast it will also be shared via Facebook, and YouTube. Some of the radio drama’s story lines and characters have also been transferred to another media format. These short animated videos and comics with forest-related messages also reflect objectives of the SPACES project and are disseminated through social media. In addition, themes taken up in the radio drama will be the subject matter of an expert panel podcasts via the radio, online and mobile phone service providers after every 5th or 6th episode. This will further increase the awareness raising outreach of the radio drama itself and its My Green Mongolia campaign context. The series is meant to target urban and rural youth as well as herder families, especially. Its major goal is to raise awareness on environmental issues and to foster environmental education and communication (EEC) in the country.

The innovative environmental education format combines information with attractive entertainment. This edutainment approach fosters 3H (head-heart-hand) learning by relying more on emotions than scientific facts and technical concepts. Intriguing story plots and creative dialogues address a variety of environmental challenges such as forest fires, illegal hunting and logging, wildlife protection, water scarcity and soil erosion – and most of all pasture degradation and overgrazing, for which the cashmere goats are a driver. Scripts are written in a simple language and in a socio-cultural context that is understood by all Mongolian citizens.

As the drama series was launched only recently, it is too early to tell whether it will be a success story. But the initial response by the target audiences is encouraging. The radio drama’s Facebook page has reached more than 750 followers within less than month. FM 98.5 received a lot of calls from listeners asking when Garid – a protected area ranger and one of the good guys who has been jailed by corrupt business people in Episode 2 – will be released from prison in order to stop the illegal hunting schemes going on (attention: spoiler – in Episode 6). These are clear indications that the radio drama series catches people’s attention and interest and, hopefully, leads to better informed citizens and positive environmental attitudes and practices.

Advertisement for the radio drama series “Love and Greed in the Valley of Cashmere Goats”
Advertisement for the radio drama series “Love and Greed in the Valley of Cashmere Goats”

One of the reasons why the radio drama initiative had a promising start is its co-creation with environmental stakeholder organizations that are partners in the My Green Mongolia campaign. In an EEC workshop of the SPACES project in April 2022, more than 20 partners from government, non-government, donor, and research organizations, and selected protected area administrations agreed to share as well as streamline EEC media and materials to create wider outreach and impact. Hence, the campaign was born, based on a partnership model with equal rights for and shared responsibility among all partners.

Based on this commitment for collaboration, the SPACES project in August 2022 organized a co-creation workshop in which the mentioned partners interacted with national and international media consultants – among them the Head of IUCN-CEC – to develop the general plot and the character profiles for the series. A Mongolian production company was then commissioned by SPACES to turn the initial ideas into a radio drama series.

Initial visualizations of the radio drama’ characters as developed by workshop participants
Initial visualizations of the radio drama’ characters as developed by workshop participants
Workshop participants presenting ideas for the story line of the radio drama

The many partners of the My Green Mongolia campaign explain the wide range of environmental themes and the diversity of EEC media, materials, methods and tools shared by the stakeholders of this initiative. The initiative aims at cooperating and collaborating with each other based on a partnership model of equals that will safeguard leverage, outreach and cost-effectiveness. The existing EEC media, materials, methods and tools collected, shared, exchanged and used will help establish joint ventures for  additional innovative media and materials, trainings and curricula.

To this end, the campaign is contributing to the National Environmental Education and Communication Strategy for the Protected Areas System in Mongolia and its Action Plan 2022-2024, that the SPACES project developed in 2020 and updated in 2022.

Link to further materials

Contact person
Mr. Batzorig Tuvshinjargal — Expert on Communication
Supporting Protected Areas for the Conservation of Ecosystem Services in Mongolia (SPACES)

Key buzzwords
Environmental education and communication, Mongolia, radio drama, protected areas, edutainment, national campaign