Tuesday 22 July 2014, 15:52
How the BBC Media Action team in Freetown trained radio station managers from across the country to tackle fear and misinformation about the deadly Ebola virus.
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 in society. So I’m thrilled to say that as the new presenter for BBC Media Action’s debate show in Nepal, Sajha Sawal (Common Questions), I’m doing exactly that.
With over 350 episodes now broadcast, the weekly TV and radio show tours the country to enable people to directly question their leaders, setting the agenda on the issues that matter to them the most.
The topic of violence against women, therefore, has been raised on Sajha Sawal many times before.
But this time we took a different approach and decided to focus on dowry-related violence. The decision...
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.
Since the first confirmed case in May this year, Ebola has dominated both daily headlines and everyday conversation in Sierra Leone. And as the deaths have mounted, so has the misinformation and fear.
For example, rumours have circulated that the virus doesn’t really exist, that traditional medication can protect you and even that it’s being used by the ruling political party to reduce the population in opposition areas ahead of the national census.
Despite the fact that Ebola is actually quite fragile – it can be destroyed by sunlight and bleach...
Friday 18 July 2014, 11:20
"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). Listen to another clip of Mr Condom on Soundcloud.
Mr Condom is only a small part of a much larger sexual and reproductive health programme in Zambia which BBC Media Action is running in partnership with the youth-led development organisation, Restless Development.
As well as the radio show, over the next three years we’ll be creating TV shows, broadcasting from live events and building a community on Facebook where young people can find out how they can stay healthy.
Let's talk about sex
Every week two community radio stations – Radio Mkushi in Central Province and Radio Kasama in Northern...
Thursday 26 June 2014, 10:38
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...
Friday 20 June 2014, 16:20
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...
Friday 20 June 2014, 14:03
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...
Thursday 19 June 2014, 10:08
Over the past three and a half years, a large team of over 250 people has been hard at work on an ambitious project that aims to improve family health in Bihar, one of the poorest and most populous states in India. This month about 60 of us came together to take stock of all that's happened, learn lessons and forge the way ahead for the next year and a half. These are the inspiring things we found out.
Monday 9 June 2014, 16:14
When I was invited to speak on a panel at a UN conference on climate change in Bonn, Germany, I wasn't sure what to expect. I envisioned a large, dimly lit amphitheatre filled with diplomats in dark suits, whispering to their colleagues between reading their official, pre-prepared statements out loud.
I was pleasantly surprised. I was there to speak at the 2nd Dialogue of Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While that may sound terribly formal and bureaucratic, it was anything but.
Article 6 is all about how best to promote public awareness...
Friday 6 June 2014, 14:31
It was my first foreign trip. My first international conference. And my first chance to talk about our radio programme Khirki Mehendiwali on the international stage.
As an associate producer for BBC Media Action, I was in Colombo, Sri Lanka for the three-day Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Conference to represent our weekly show whose title means "Mehendi opens a window" and which aims to improve the health of mothers and babies in India.
The conference hall had been abuzz with discussion about modern technologies and marketing techniques, but after I hit play, everyone was drawn in...
Wednesday 4 June 2014, 10:48
When fighting broke out last December in South Sudan, members of our radio team were among the thousands who had to flee. After a few very difficult months, we’re all back in Juba and our health radio shows Our Tukul and Life In Lulu are back on air. But the conflict has left its mark on us all – and, what’s more, changed our programmes too.
Once most of our production team had managed the return to Juba - from Kenya, Uganda and other parts of South Sudan - the first thing to think about was how to make our programmes meet the changing needs of our audiences.
For example, wehad...