BBC Media Action
Executive Director, BBC Media Action
On World Radio Day, Caroline Nursey, BBC Media Action’s Executive Director discusses the ongoing importance of radio in a fast-changing digital world.
As the digital media landscape develops at a revolutionary pace it is easy to forget that radio still reaches more places and more people in the world than any other medium – and that it has an enduring power to change people’s lives in profound ways.
It can provide urgent life-saving advice in the aftermath of a disaster, help communities divided by conflict rebuild trust in each other, and inspire people to hold those in power to account.
At BBC Media Action we understand radio’s potential to make a difference to people’s lives, and we harness it to provide vital information for, rather than about, people in some of the world’s poorest and most fragile societies.
Radio saves lives
Training for emergencies starts years in advance. Our ‘Lifeline’ course shows journalists and editors how media...
Stakeholder Liaison, Production, BBC Media Action, Nepal
How radio drama helps earthquake affected communities in Nepal.
Harkhajit, 50, is a farmer from an earthquake-affected village in Nepal. He is saving to build a new house after the 2015 earthquake but doesn't have enough money. He's considering getting a loan from his relatives or neighbours.
“Why don’t you seek help from your neighbours to help build your house instead? Many villagers are using each other’s help to rebuild,” his aunt Bimla Kaki advises him when he approaches her for a loan. “You can help them build their house and they can help you. It will save you the stress of paying back a loan.”
After talking to more people, Harkhajit eventually decides to give up on getting a loan and reaches out to his fellow villagers who then help him rebuild his house.
This scene is from KathaMaala (Garland of Stories), a radio drama being co-produced by Radio Nepal and BBC Media Action to spark conversations – and action - within communities.
The five-minute episodes are broadcast as part of Milijuli Nepali, our radio programme providing people affected by the earthquake with practical information as they recover and rebuild.
During a recent trip the Milijuli Nepali production...
Country Director for BBC Media Action, Iraq
“The food we are given is not suitable for human consumption. They’ve taken away our identity cards and our phones,” says Ahmed during a phone-in programme at Radio Nawa, an independent radio station broadcasting across Iraq.
The caller is one of tens of thousands displaced from the Mosul area of northern Iraq. He’s in his own country but is not allowed to leave the UN-managed camp where he’s taken shelter; Iraqi security forces suspect anyone who has lived in Mosul during the past two years of being an IS sympathiser.
Radio Nawa and BBC Media Action worked closely with the UN refugee agency UNHCR to distribute radios to thousands of internally displaced people living in tents. This gives them access to news and information - something they lacked both in Mosul under IS and in the camps.
Radio is seen as decidedly “old” technology. Iraqis prefer social media and satellite television. But for Ahmed and many others, this is now a lifeline. So much so...
Producer, Our Tukul
How local and national radio is supporting work to prevent cholera in South Sudan.
“I didn’t know it was cholera until a health professional at my local clinic told me” said Mary Jabe, a mother of three. “When he instructed me to take my children to hospital in Juba for treatment, I started to cry, because their condition was critical, and I didn’t have any money to get there.”
Mary lives with her family in a one-room hut, containing a single bed in Hai Kugi, a settlement on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan. Outside, a dusty chair rests under the shadow of a small tree – and a short...
Senior Trainer and Content Manager, BBC Media Action
Refugees, nutritionists and film-makers created a series of short ‘how to’ films to help Syrians living in tough conditions in Lebanon pull together quick, simple, affordable and healthy meals for their families.
It is winter – and families of Syrian refugees in northern Lebanon are cooking in their tents – huddled around small, fitful fires to escape the cold and rain outside. Sometimes up to three families share a single stove – white and blue gas canisters or wood-fed fires on raised, iron containers – which double up as heaters in the frosty nights.
In this harsh environment, preparing...
BBC Media Action, India
Veteran Indian actor, Om Puri, who passed away last week, fronted our HIV and AIDS drama series, Jasoos Vijay – helping make it one of India’s most watched TV shows of its time. Devika Bahl, creative director for the series shares fond memories of an exceptional man.
I first saw Om Puri in his cult film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, while I was still in school. Amidst a formidable Bollywood ensemble cast, Om stood out in this brilliant satirical comedy. Watching him in other movies such as Ardh-Satya, Arohan, Akarosh, City of Joy, East is East, I, like million others, grew up totally mesmerised by...
Stakeholder Liaison, Production, BBC Media Action, Nepal
Timorous rays of winter sun fall on the potato fields of Nuwakot, a district in central Nepal still recovering from the impact of the 2015 earthquakes. The residents of Belkot village are outside, digging and weeding their patches of land.
I’m with Bhawana Gurung, one of the presenters for BBC Media Action’s radio programme, Milijuli Nepali (Together Nepal), to speak to our audience and find inspiring stories about people rebuilding their lives despite their ongoing difficulties. The daily radio show – which airs on the BBC Nepali Service and over 50 local radio stations in 14 earthquake...
Sharif Hossen Saimum
Talking about their bodies can be a taboo for young people in Bangladesh. A new series of interactive computer games – accessible in 350 schools – are helping them learn about growing up in a safe and fun environment.
Tania is lost in an enchanted forest. Her only way to escape is to correctly answer questions posed by a collection of exotic animals. First up, a troop of cheeky monkeys, blocks her path. “You shouldn’t eat fish during menstruation – it will make you smell” they say. To gain enough points to leave the forest – Tania must choose whether the monkey’s statements are ‘myth’ or...
Hundreds of thousands of people across the world joined our first two Facebook Lives from Nepal, grabbing the opportunity to question an inspiring group of female personalities and politicians.
Usually when I present the political debate show, Sajha Sawal (Common Questions), a sea of faces look back from a packed studio floor, ready to ask tough questions of a panel of public figures and politicians.
This time, the studio was almost empty. Audience members in their tens of thousands were instead joining the debate on Facebook Live – while catching a lift to work, on their lunch break or...
Project Officer, Afghanistan
Security threats against journalists and financial pressure are just two of the challenges facing local radio in Afghanistan. Mukhtar explains how training and information-sharing helped stations survive against the odds in 2016.
Take five very different radio stations from across Afghanistan, add an intensive schedule of training and mentoring then throw security challenges and an unstable political situation into the mix.
It has all the ingredients of a seriously challenging media development environment. But as the year comes to an end, I’m proud that the resilience and creativity of the...