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  1. Tackling fear of Ebola on the airwaves

    Friday 24 October 2014, 11:24

    Mariama Khai Fornah Mariama Khai Fornah Radio Producer, BBC Media Action in Sierra Leone

    Volunteers in Freetown, Sierra Leone, share information about Ebola. Samuel Aranda | Panos Pictures Volunteers sharing Ebola info in Sierra Leone. copyright: Panos Pictures

    Here in Sierra Leone, the Ebola virus continues to spread, and misinformation spreads with it. 

    In my work as a radio producer I have heard stories of people recovering from Ebola, only to face terrible stigma, making it difficult for them to get on with their lives. One survivor James Ngebah, told me, ‘’I lost 19 of my family members as a result of the Ebola but I survived the virus but when I returned home, my neighbours stopped my wife from fetching water from the water well even though she doesn’t have the virus.”

    “This stopped me from trying to fetch water too,” he added. Our neighbours totally ignore us. This is a bitter experience for me and worse than the virus I’ve survived.”

    Greatest fear

    After a radio programme in which we had given advice about Ebola Virus Disease (often just called “Ebola”), I took a call from a man called Mustapha Kamara, a 37 year old cocoa farmer who lives in Mandu village in Kailahun, Eastern Sierra Leone. Mustapha’s greatest fear, he told me, is that if he catches the virus, his entire household could become infected.

    Although there have been...

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  2. Pushing boundaries: a TV birth in Bangladesh

    Tuesday 21 October 2014, 14:15

    Georgis Bashar Georgis Bashar Director, BBC Media Action, Bangladesh

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    BBC Media Action health drama Ujan Ganger Naiya (Swimming Against The Tide).

    Ujan Ganger Naiya (Sailing Against the Tide) is a TV drama about teenage sisters in a rural village in Bangladesh. They each marry despite the youngest sister Anika being only 16 and desperate to complete her education. As the drama unfolds, we learn more about the dangers of early pregnancy and issues that arise as a result of it.

    I have worked on other TV productions about health. But there were a few significant 'firsts' for me in directing in Ujan Ganger Naiya.

    For the first time, the storylines and characters were completely grounded in research. We drew on field research and an audience survey and we also collected case studies to find out what was going on in our health context and develop the storylines.

    Conservative country

    We realised it was important to show birth as it really is so we could inform people about the danger signs and how to respond to them and ensure mothers have the safest possible deliveries. But this had never been done on television before. Even though some of the women in the cast had children, when we asked them what they had experienced during labour, they said "nothing!" because they all had Caesarean sections.

    Bangladesh is a very conservative...

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  3. Open Jirga: one man’s amazing Afghan journey

    Thursday 9 October 2014, 16:32

    Zabiullah Faizy Zabiullah Faizy Finance Officer, BBC Media Action in Afghanistan

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    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...

    Read more about Open Jirga: one man’s amazing Afghan journey

  4. How people behave really matters to health

    Friday 3 October 2014, 15:21

    Caroline Sugg Caroline Sugg Head, Advisory and Policy Team, BBC Media Action

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    The Ebola emergency in West Africa shines a fresh light on the way in which peoples’ everyday actions are critical to maintaining public health.

    Trained medical staff and health facilities are of course vital to the response but, in the absence of a vaccine and with few available treatment options, it’s clear that what people do or don’t do really matters. Whether they go for a test and seek treatment if they fall sick; how they look after family members who are ill; and how the dead are mourned and buried - all become matters of life and death.

    Interviewing people for a programme about Ebola in Sierra Leone. Interviewing people for a programme about...

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  5. Investing in girls' education in South Sudan

    Monday 29 September 2014, 15:18

    Manyang David Mayar Manyang David Mayar Producer, BBC Media Action in South Sudan

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    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...

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  6. ‘I now know my rights’: preventing bonded labour in rural India

    Friday 26 September 2014, 10:42

    Aashish Yadav Aashish Yadav Senior Project Manager for BBC Media Action in India

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    A BBC Media Action listening group in Madhya Pradesh, India. A 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...

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  7. Open Jirga: one man’s amazing Afghan journey

    Thursday 9 October 2014, 16:32

    Zabiullah Faizy Zabiullah Faizy Finance Officer, BBC Media Action in Afghanistan

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    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...

    Read more about Open Jirga: one man’s amazing Afghan journey

  8. Bringing hope after disaster in Nepal

    Tuesday 9 September 2014, 12:48

    Bidhya Chapagain Bidhya Chapagain Presenter of Sajha Sawal (Common Questions) for BBC Media Action in Nepal

    Sajha Sawal presenter Bhidya Chapagain meeting people in a landslide-hit community in Nepal.

    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...

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  9. Libya's Media Frontline

    Tuesday 2 September 2014, 16:02

    Anne Reevell Anne Reevell Country Director, Libya

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    The Al Wataniya team filming in Tripoli, Libya. 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...

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  10. Ebola in Sierra Leone: new radio shows join the fight

    Friday 29 August 2014, 14:23

    Musa Sangarie Musa Sangarie Programme manager, BBC Media Action in Sierra Leone

    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.

    In the studio in Sierra Leone

    As...

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About this Blog

We believe in the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights. Find out more at BBC Media Action

Registered charity in England & Wales 1076235.

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