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  1. A radio drama with youth appeal for Somalia

    Wednesday 27 August 2014, 16:39

    Jackie Christie Jackie Christie Senior Production Manager, Sema Kenya

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    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’ve got ten days.

    Sometimes working here can feel a bit like the start of a Mission Impossible film.

    A script reading for BBC Media Action radio drama in Somalia, Maalma Dhaama Maanta.

    To be fair, we didn’t have to create all 24 episodes. But writing and producing four of them still felt like a tall order.

    Return to Somalia

    It’s been eight years since I was last in Hargeisa and my memories of it are a bit vague. On arrival I’m shocked to see how the hot dusty little town, famous for its “plastic bag trees” has grown into a metropolis, albeit still pretty hot and dusty. Hotels are bursting at the seams not just because the town is hosting the 7th International...

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  2. Flooding in Nepal: how radio can save lives

    Thursday 14 August 2014, 10:07

    Bhuwan Timilsina Bhuwan Timilsina Humanitarian lead, BBC Media Action in Nepal

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    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 ‘Lifeline’ programming – special programming that helps people survive a crisis by providing them with timely, relevant and practical information.

    Radio station Shuklaphanta FM in Kanchanpur, Nepal Radio station Shuklaphanta FM in Kanchanpur, Nepal

    Alongside staff from two other local stations and key humanitarian workers in the area, Dhirendra and his colleagues took part in a large-scale flood simulation exercise and learned how Lifeline programming differs from news coverage. It doesn’t just tell the world what is happening, but provides useful and accurate information to the people affected by disaster so they can decide...

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  3. Schools bring hope to South Sudan’s children

    Thursday 7 August 2014, 15:32

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

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    Children from Gumbo Primary School in Juba, South Sudan Children from Gumbo Primary School in Juba, South Sudan

    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 in relatively peaceful parts of the country are coping with displaced children.

    “All children are welcome here to learn and get educated,” says Bernard Ladu, Head Teacher of Gumbo Primary School in the country’s capital Juba.“In these children, we have doctors, teachers and all. It is in them that we have resources for South Sudan.”

    Gumbo School has seen an influx of children. They are allowed to enrol even if their parents can’t afford to pay their school fees, a policy that has been embraced by many other schools across...

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  4. Asha’s story: stopping polio in its tracks

    Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:17

    Barkhad Kaariye Barkhad Kaariye Producer, BBC Media Action in Somalia

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    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...

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  5. Lifting the lid on dowry-related violence in Nepal

    Tuesday 29 July 2014, 13:52

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

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    Stories about violence against women in Nepal are, sadly, not rare. Since my schooldays, I’ve heard of women beaten by in-laws or taking their own lives because they could no longer stand the abuse.

    But I also vividly recall other stories I heard as a girl. That of a young woman for example, who was asked for a motorbike as a dowry by her prospective husband and his family. Her response? She told him he should marry the motorbike instead and put the bridal garland of flowers on the bike and not her. 

    This story has always inspired me to stand up for my rights and help other vulnerable people...

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  6. Using radio to respond to Ebola in Sierra Leone

    Tuesday 22 July 2014, 15:52

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

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    For the past four years, the BBC Media Action team here in Sierra Leone has been building the skills of radio stations' producers and journalists across the country. We've trained community journalists on how to gather news, for example, helped them to develop new programmes and coached station managers on how to find new sources of revenue.

    But never have we run a training workshop with such high stakes as the one we did this month. On 2 July in Freetown, we gathered together staff from 30 radio stations from across the country to learn how best to tackle the current outbreak of the Ebola virus...

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  7. Mr Condom and me

    Friday 18 July 2014, 11:20

    Boyd Chibale Boyd Chibale Project Manager and Senior Journalist Mentor, BBC Media Action, Zambia

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    "Well, I am made of latex, and I come in lots of different brands, shapes and sizes. I am anything from small to extra-large, strawberry and banana flavoured," says Mr Condom, one of the stars of a brand new radio show in Zambia. "Sex is still sweet with me and you save yourself stress about STIs, HIV and unwanted pregnancies."

    Mr Condom appears on Tikambe Natulande, a show broadcast on Radio Mkushi which aims to get young people talking about sex, STIs and how to prevent HIV/AIDS – a taboo subject in Zambia. (Tikambe and Natulande mean "Let's Talk" in Nyanja and Bemba languages respectively)...

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  8. A step backwards: media in today's Iraq

    Thursday 26 June 2014, 10:38

    Haider Al-Safi Haider Al-Safi is head of project, consolidating media freedoms in Iraq, BBC Media Action. Twitter: @Haider888

    Iraqis sit outside their tent in a camp for Iraqis fleeing the fighting around the city of Mosul. (Getty Images) Iraqi men and children sit outside their tent in a camp for people fleeing fighting around the city of Mosul. As news came in earlier this month that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) had taken Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, I turned on my TV and satellite box in London to see how Iraqi TV channels were covering the crisis. To my surprise, what I saw transported me back to my life in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's three wars. Once again, I saw a presenter on one of the pro-government channels wearing military uniform. Once again, I heard the popular chanting and poetry that...

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  9. Proving the impact of media on behaviour change

    Friday 20 June 2014, 16:20

    Kavita Abraham Dowsing and Leonie Hoijtink Kavita Abraham Dowsing and Leonie Hoijtink Director, Research and Learning and Quantitative Research Officer, BBC Media Action

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    A mother and child from Burkino Faso (Getty Images).

    The expectations and excitement levels among our research and learning team here at BBC Media Action were high. The largest single study using a randomised control trial (RCT) to investigate media impact has published midline results online last month. Had the company behind the trial, Development Media International, cracked the Holy Grail and isolated the impact of media on behaviour change? Could these results from their trial in Burkino Faso begin to answer the questions of attribution which trouble the impact evaluation of health communications while resonating through the halls of our...

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  10. South Sudan: making PSAs that matter

    Friday 20 June 2014, 14:03

    Cassie Biggs Cassie Biggs Senior Project Manager, BBC Media Action in South Sudan

    Voice of Hope radio station in the South Sudanese town of Wau lies in a green and peaceful compound, overlooked by an impressive red brick cathedral built in the 1900s.

    I had the chance to visit this friendly station last month while training eight partner radio stations to produce Public Service Announcements (PSAs). 

    Voice of Hope has been on air since 2010 and is one of eight radio stations in the Catholic Radio Network. It is staffed by a small but dedicated group of journalists – some are paid, but most are volunteers.

    While Wau town has largely escaped the conflict affecting much...

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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

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