Friday 29 August 2014, 14:23
A 30-minute weekly radio programme and BBC World Service updates are tackling dangerous rumours about Ebola and providing life-saving information in Sierra Leone.
Monday 29 September 2014, 15:18
For Boldit Deng, an unemployed father of five in South Sudan’s Warrap State, the news that his daughter was about to receive 125 South Sudanese Pounds (£25) meant only one thing: he could buy more goats.
But his daughter Rose, 18, had other ideas. She planned to spend the money on her education.
“I want to use this cash to buy a school uniform, as you can see the one I am now wearing is very old,” she told BBC Media Action’s Our School radio programme, “I also want to buy some exercise books for mathematics, English and chemistry, pens, rubbers and a ruler.”
Once Rose explained to her father that the money was actually intended to help girls like her with their school expenses, he was thrilled to hear there was such support for his daughter’s education.
“(This) is very good for me as a parent. It is my first time to see money being given to girls instead of asking us as parents to pay,” Boldit told Our School producer Atem Deng Malek, adding that there could be ongoing benefits for his daughter. “I understand from her that she may get another cash transfer if I send her back to school next year.”
Incentive to stay
Starting this year all school girls in...
Friday 26 September 2014, 10:42A BBC Media Action listening group in Madhya Pradesh, India.
After a two year journey and countless stories of success, our bonded labour project is coming to an end.
The project, entitled Majboor Kisko Bola (Who are you calling helpless?), provides information to help support bonded labourers - workers forced to work for free, often indefinitely, while they pay off a debt to a contractor. Today we are hosting an event in New Delhi to celebrate the success of the project along with some of its beneficiaries and other stakeholders. We kicked off the discussion with a Google Hangout last week, which included experts on bonded labour from around the world.
In the last year the bonded labour project has seen numerous cases reported and redressed in its 110 listeners’ villages across 11 districts in three states. The programme has prompted more than 5000 grievances against employers, 3000 demands for minimum wages, 400 press articles by trained journalists and 200 stories of escape.
But what are the real stories behind these statistics? Recently I visited a number of villages in Madhya Pradesh.
While I travelled around our target communities, I heard many stories of people being...
Thursday 18 September 2014, 09:10
Abdurrasul Pamiri stunned the studio audience of our discussion programme Open Jirga when he revealed he had travelled eight days from the Pamir Mountains in northern Afghanistan to ask a question.
"Twenty kilometres on foot from my village to the Wakhan district," he explained, "And approximately four days of travel by horse and donkey to get to the Eshkashim district [the first district in the north-east that is connected by roads]."
He then embarked on four "days of travel by car from Eshkashim to Baharak [district] and from there to Faizabad [the provincial capital], then to Kabul". He carried his bed and food with him, travelling during the day and spending the night at mosques.
An ethnic-Kyrgyz Afghan, Pamiri wants the Afghan authorities to pay more attention to his community which lives in a remote corner of the country. As he pointed out on the show, despite living in Afghanistan for centuries, “Afghanistan recognised us [as Afghans] only in the past five or six years."
Rule of law
Pamiri joined the studio audience – which hailed from 72 different districts and represented 17 ethnic groups – for an episode of Open Jirga that focused on the role of the...
Tuesday 9 September 2014, 12:48
Man Bahadur Lama was sitting in a relief centre when I first met him. Visibly shocked and heavy with grief, he told me he was desperately awaiting government papers which would qualify him for help as a person displaced by disaster.
We were at the makeshift centre - a vast hall in a disused mining plant in the Sindupalchowk district of Nepal - to record an episode of our TV and radio debate show Sajha Sawal (Common Questions).
Two days before, on 2 August, a stretch of land nearly two kilometres long had collapsed into the Sunkoshi river, killing more than 170 people as it swept...
Tuesday 2 September 2014, 16:02
A month ago I shut the door on the house that has been my home in Tripoli and, with one suitcase, climbed into a convoy with a dozen or so other "internationals" being evacuated from Libya.
I'd been living in this beautiful but chaotic city for a year working with Libya's State TV station, Al Wataniya and the national news agency, LANA. Before the revolution these institutions were at the heart of Muammar Gaddafi's extensive propaganda machine. Now, under new leadership, both were finding their voices.
Like the rest of Libyan society, Al Wataniya has acutely felt the divisions and pressures...
Friday 29 August 2014, 14:23
A couple of weeks ago in the middle of the night, phones started ringing across Sierra Leone. Despite the late hour, people were calling to pass on the latest rumour about Ebola – that bathing in salty hot water could protect you. By the next day, the rumour had swept across the whole country.
Such potentially dangerous misinformation is what our team in Freetown is tackling with a new radio programme. Called Kick Ebola Nar Salone (Kick Ebola out of Sierra Leone), the 30-minute show is produced weekly and broadcast three times a week on our 35 partner stations across the country.
Wednesday 27 August 2014, 16:39
The assignments I take on for BBC Media Action sometimes take my breath away. Take my most recent project, for example: travel to the Horn of Africa and facilitate the creation of a 24-episode radio drama, I was told.
Make sure it fosters a sense of Somali identity and inspires young people to engage in their communities and the social issues that affect them. It goes without saying it has to be relevant to all three regions of Somalia (Southern, Puntland and Somaliland). It must be entertaining, well written, have high production values and relevant to its target youth audience. Oh, and you...
Thursday 14 August 2014, 10:07
Every year in far west Nepal, the great river Mahkali brings tragedy to the lives of those living near it. Last month, as the annual monsoon rains beat down, it was no different: severe flooding and landslides claimed at least seven lives, displaced hundreds of families and destroyed vast areas of farmland. Yet more lives would have been lost, however, had it not been for one courageous radio station manager.
Dhirendra Sinal runs Shuklaphanta FM in the town of Kanchanpur. About a year ago, he and his production team attended training run by our BBC Media Action team in Nepal about how to produce...
Thursday 7 August 2014, 15:32
Earlier this year I blogged about the school children in Jonglei state who were forced mid-exam to flee to the bush in fear of their lives.
That was just the start of the widespread fighting that has since led to a severe humanitarian crisis in this country. States that were spared violence are now home to thousands of people displaced by the conflict, many living in camps. They are short of food, health facilities and clean drinking water. Added to this, parents are particularly worried about their children’s education.
As part of our radio programme Our School we have been finding out how schools...
Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:17
I knew this was going to be a story worth the 300km trip from my home town of Hargeisa to Burao in Somaliland. It was early morning and the sun was just about to set out from the east when I visited the brightly painted but crumbling Burao General Hospital in Somaliland. There in the courtyard I found Asha Farah Hersi, a remarkable 70-year-old woman who works to vaccinate people against incurable diseases like polio.
A tall woman stooped by age, Asha couldn't wait to start work even at this early hour. When I met her, she had a small, portable fridge containing vaccines in her left hand and her...