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.
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 away villages and homes.
Man Bahadur told me how he had survived: “I was away working on a night shift. When I came back the next day after speaking to my sister, I saw nothing there but the landslide. I lost both of my sons, my wife, my mother and my house.”
A community in shock
Everyone I spoke to in the shelter had lost relatives, their home or both. Thousands more downstream had fled their homes for higher ground because the landslide had blocked the river, creating a temporary dam which threatened to burst. Power had also been cut off when floodwaters submerged a small hydropower...
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 of the unfolding power struggle. The Director General has been kidnapped twice. A large number of staff simply do not come to work.
Other staff, meanwhile work long hours to bring new public service values to the station's output through two programmes supported by BBC Media Action: (The Door is Open), a Libyan version of BBC's The One Show, and a debate show called Hiwar Mushtarak (Joint Conversation) which follows a similar format to the BBC's Question Time and gives members of the public the chance to question their leaders.
As I headed along the road to the border, I...
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...
Tuesday 29 July 2014, 13:52
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...
Tuesday 22 July 2014, 15:52
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...