Wednesday 6 November 2013, 11:34
Fiona Ledger, BBC Media Action's senior production manager in Ethiopia, talks about how to make training workshops that have a lasting impact – and deliver impressive results.
Friday 6 December 2013, 16:18
Recording radio programme Lin Lat Kyair Sin (Bright Young Stars) in a Rangoon park, Burma.
A professor of mine used to say that storytelling is like getting a child to eat something they don’t like, such as spinach. In order to get an audience to learn something, you must cook the most delicious dishes. This is how good journalists make us care about places we’ve never been to and people we’ve never met. The analogy is never truer than with BBC Media Action’s work where the ‘spinach’ we serve up is measured to see if we’re reaching our donor’s often ambitious and difficult goals.
Our recent creativity and innovation workshop Ignite Asia was all about sharing the tastiest recipes from BBC Media Action teams in India, Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, Nepal and Bangladesh.
Deep Gauchan from our Phnom Penh office in Cambodia told us one of his simplest recipes. “It is to put an ordinary person into extraordinary circumstances.” He said. “Or, to take someone extraordinary and put them somewhere ordinary.” Along the way, he argued, your audience is taken out of their own experience and problems to learn something new.
We also had...
Friday 29 November 2013, 11:27
Film is not just a big business in Nigeria. It’s huge. Every year nearly 2000 movies are made, a production rate which beats Hollywood, only coming second to the world’s largest film industry, Bollywood. But when the important topic of HIV and AIDS comes up in many Nollywood movies and Nigerian songs, it’s often not accurately - or helpfully - treated.
Our team at BBC Media Action in Abuja recently set out to tackle this by talking directly to the musicians, comedians and filmmakers behind our booming entertainment industry.
As part of the ENR (Enhancing Nigeria’s Response to HIV) project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development, we ran two workshops in Lagos. These aimed to not only inform the producers, directors, singers and scriptwriters about HIV but also encourage them to tackle the subject in their songs and films. This year World Aids Day – 1 December – is encouraging people to ‘act aware’ (Photo by Brent Stirton. Getty Images for the GBC)
According to Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS, 3.5 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV. But misconceptions about HIV and AIDS are common.
Our workshops gave people...
Friday 22 November 2013, 10:54
"Where in the past we were bound tightly by ten ropes, nowadays I feel like the number of ropes has been reduced by two.” These were the words of an elderly man who earlier this year took part in a BBC Media Action focus group in Burma (also known as Myanmar).
He was speaking from Yangon where there have been palpable changes in freedom of expression and access to information in recent times. Public demonstrations are now permitted more often, low-cost SIM cards are improving people’s access to information on mobiles and 11 new daily newspapers have launched - some carrying strong opposition views.
But for the majority of Burma’s population – who live in rural areas, did not finish secondary education and have more limited access to media – day-to-day life has not changed in any radical way.
As a researcher working to inform media projects to support improved governance in Burma, understanding the extent to which the public feels they are informed and able to speak, question and take action is crucial.
But the irony in conducting research of this kind is that the restrictions people perceive to remain around freedom of expression and...
Friday 15 November 2013, 14:33
This week the Climate Asia team are travelling to Warsaw where negotiators from around 190 countries are meeting to try to advance steps towards a global climate agreement.
It's the 19th annual Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the latest opportunity for us to share the findings of our research project which paints a picture of how people are living and dealing with climate change in seven Asian countries.
Over the past month, our team has met with media, civil society organisations, governments, businesses and academics across...
Wednesday 13 November 2013, 15:05
"Justifying rape because of the way a woman dresses is like justifying armed robbery because of poverty and hunger." So spoke Mustapha Bai Attila, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs in Sierra Leone, on a recent episode of our radio debate programme Tok Bot Salone (Talk About Sierra Leone).Deputy Minister Attila and the President's Gender Adviser Naasu Fofanah at the recording of Tok Bot Salone.
The deputy minister was part of a panel answering questions from an audience of over 200 people about an issue that has dominated headlines in Sierra Leone...
Wednesday 6 November 2013, 11:34
But a well-timed, well-planned workshop, aimed at producing media output, can be a powerful and inspiring jolt to busy...
Tuesday 5 November 2013, 15:41
Esfandiar Adena was the BBC Media Action Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) in Spring 2013, where he conducted a research project on social media and governance in Tajikistan.
On 6 November, Tajikistan will elect its president. The run-up to the election has proved a milestone for social media networks in the country – with fierce political debate taking place online and opposition leaders using social networks to call for a boycott of the election.
Although internet penetration is low in Tajikistan compared to its Central Asian neighbours, the level of political...
Tuesday 29 October 2013, 15:00
If you mention Tunisia to most people in the UK, they'd probably think of two very different things: the country which sparked the Arab Spring after protests in December 2010 and a holiday destination for those eager for winter sun. On my visit to the country last week, I experienced a combination of both.
While tourists relaxed on the pristine sands of one of Tunisia's many beach resorts, I met with journalists, academics and policy-makers in Tunisia's capital to discuss the findings of BBC Media Action's latest research.
The research surveyed 1000 people across Tunisia to find out...
Monday 28 October 2013, 14:37
In July this year, in a remote area of the central Indian state of Chattisgarh, a local farmer called Naresh Bunkar did something every one of us does every day: he made a phone call. But this was a call that had remarkable results.
Naresh is a citizen journalist for a voice-based, rural community news portal called CGNet Swara. (Swara' means 'voice' in Hindi and Central Gondwana is the area in which the portal works.)
Naresh was phoning the portal that day to record an audio message of how a forestry officer had extorted a bribe of Rs 99000 (approximately £91) from the Advisasi tribal community...
Thursday 24 October 2013, 17:34
When I worked at Dadaab Refugee camp in northern Kenya, I saw how refugees would day in, day out tune into the BBC Somali Service and crowd around our agency information board to find out the latest news. Communication, it was obvious, is life!
This was forefront in my mind last week in Nairobi when the BBC Media Action team and I took part in the launch of the annual World Disasters Report by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
This year, the report examines the profound impact of technological innovations on humanitarian action. We were at the event...