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Gender is not destiny: Turning Indian girls and boys into allies through TV drama

On International Women's Day, hear from our Global Creative Advisor, Radharani Mitra, and Director of Content Strategy for BBC Media Action India, Ragini Pasricha on how media can help create a #BalanceforBetter.

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  • Media freedom and rethinking support to independent media

    Caroline Sugg

    Director of Strategy and Partnerships

    At BBC Media Action we are dedicated to the cause of media freedom – the principle that expression and communication through media is a right that should be exercised freely – which is at the very core of effective democracies and inclusive societies. This freedom can never be taken for granted, and cannot be exercised in many places around the world.

    This World Press Freedom Day commemorates another dark year, with precipitous plunges in rankings on media freedom indices and increasing – and increasingly egregious – attacks on journalists, most notably the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    Independent, sustainable public interest media are increasingly threatened, not just by laws and politics, but also by economics and the sheer pace of technological change. Each day, we see media co-opted by the powerful, and challenged to secure income that comes without strings attached, especially as more and more advertising revenue becomes concentrated in the pockets of those with a powerful hold over online eyeballs and clicks.

    This crisis faced by public interest media, particularly in resource poor settings, is so great that we at BBC Media Action are working hard to apply…

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  • 5 steps to enable health workers to better meet the needs of hard-to-reach communities

    Genevieve Hutchinson and Emebet Wuhib-Mutungi

    Senior Health Advisors, Advisory and Policy

    As World Health Day approaches, and as we look towards the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage later this year, we’re sharing insights from BBC Media Action’s work to help health workers and communities work better together to build a healthier world.

    In low-income countries in Africa and Asia, many health systems are staffed by community health workers. In Nepal they are known as Female Community Health Volunteers, in Ethiopia, Health Extension Workers, while in India and Bangladesh they are generally known as Frontline Health Workers.

    Whilst the names may differ, most are women, most work in remote areas, and many are volunteers. They play a vital role connecting people to, and sometimes providing, basic primary care; referring patients to clinical services and motivating families to adopt heathier practices.

    All are tasked with communicating about health, but often they lack sufficient training or engaging communication tools that would help them do this more effectively.

    This is where BBC Media Action comes in. Over the last 10 years we’ve been supporting community health workers to better meet the needs of their communities. These are five important…

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  • Gender is not destiny: Turning Indian girls and boys into allies through TV drama

    In the 2018 Global Gender Gap Index, India ranks a dismal 108 out of 149 countries. The country’s 253 million adolescents are currently growing up with a deeply-rooted gender bias which disproportionately affects girls.

    Marriage and motherhood is the mandate for adolescent girls in India. Most Indian parents pay dowries for daughters’ marriages. While more girls are receiving an education than ever before, this is typically done to improve their marriage prospects, rather than their career choices. The onset of adolescence for girls spells a curbing of their interaction with boys, their mobility, and use of mobile phones. It is virtually mandatory for them to do housework, while boys who cook are jeered at and pressured into pursuing careers as doctors and engineers – even if they dream otherwise.

    Media is often accused of reinforcing harmful gender stereotypes. But at BBC Media Action, we know that the power of media can help create a #BalanceforBetter.

    AdhaFULL lead characters: Tara, Kitty and Adrak

    From December…

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  • The truth about health misinformation: it’s not just about fact checking

    Yvonne MacPherson

    Director, BBC Media Action USA

    Imagine: Ebola is spreading in your city and you’re scared. You see a tweet from a friend saying you can avoid catching Ebola by drinking or bathing in salt water.

    What would you do?

    Last month, I recalled this story at a technology and ideas hackathon called CredCon. The event aimed to address the challenges of reducing misinformation online, and I was there to lead a session on health misinformation. Many clever ideas were being hacked out, from building tools to help people – and, importantly, their social networks – be more aware of their sharing habits, to using machine learning for…

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  • Missing: A cutting-edge hub for risk communication for action

    Lisa Robinson

    Senior Advisor for Resilience and Humanitarian Response

    When I lived in Los Angeles, my neighbour got grumpy with me one day when I suggested we prepare our apartment building for earthquakes. He said: “If an earthquake hits and damages the property, so be it! It survived the 1994 earthquake just fine. Earthquake insurance and retrofitting is so expensive it’s not worth it. Part of living in California is dealing with the fires, mudslides, earthquakes, tsunamis...and now it's also horrible traffic, no middle class, rising crime, unaffordable housing, homeless encampments, etc…”

    It’s not that my neighbour didn’t know about the risk of earthquakes,…

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  • Why communication needs to be at the heart of humanitarian response

    Jacqueline Dalton

    Senior Producer / Trainer – Humanitarian Programming

    “One organisation delivers blankets; then another also delivers blankets. One organisation distributes rice, and then another also distributes rice. Talking of blankets, for example, I’ve got six or seven new blankets in my home.”

    These words, spoken by a Nepali man sitting on a pile of rubble after the 2015 earthquake, have stayed with me as a reminder of what needs to change in the global approach to humanitarian response.

    “Instead of giving us such things, they could give us what we need, like water, for example”, echoed a woman. “We asked particularly for water pipes and they didn’t give…

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  • What matters? The Rohingya crisis, one year on.

    Richard Lace

    Country Director, Bangladesh

    Tagged with:

    Originally posted here by Dhaka Tribune on August 17th, 2018.

    Imagine that you’re in charge of the response to the Rohingya emergency right now. Daunting, right? For a start, you’ve got to make sure that hundreds of thousands of people get the basic services they need. By itself, that’s a huge logistical and operational challenge. But at least your ‘to do’ list might seem pretty obvious: people need food, water, toilets, a place to sleep, medicine. It might be big in scale, but it maybe doesn’t feel so complicated.

    Now throw in some of the quirks of Cox’s Bazar: the hilly terrain which makes…

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  • Helping people spot fake news in Sierra Leone

    George Ferguson

    Country Director, BBC Media Action Sierra Leone

    National elections are always a fascinating experience when working for BBC Media Action. Frequently played out in fragile governance contexts, national elections are generally viewed as a key milestone in the democratic progress of a country.

    For the recent elections in Sierra Leone, rapidly increasing levels of access to social media – particularly among young people – had created an important and influential space for political discussion. In 2009, around 2% of people had internet access nationally. By 2016, 16% of people aged 15-30 nationally had access to the internet, rising to 48% in…

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  • Is it time for a Global Fund for Free and Independent Media?

    James Deane

    Director of Policy and Research

    Recognition that free and independent media around the world is in deep trouble is growing. Most democratic countries understand with increasing alarm the impact that the current assault on media freedom is having on prospects for democracy, development and stability. Misinformation and disinformation preoccupy multiple policy debates. Shrinking civic spaces and the fixing of elections – often by intimidating, co-opting or distorting traditional and social media - form a mainstay of anxious commentary among those who care about freedom and democracy.

    The response to all this, however, is a…

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  • Training the next generation of risk communication professionals

    Lydia Cumiskey

    Water Youth Network

    We need to support the next generation of risk management researchers and professionals to broaden their understanding about risk communication. Many of them are working in silos within their own disciplines and need opportunities to think about how scientific information can be communicated to those who need it most.

    So, together with a team of young professionals at the Water Youth Network and a host of supporting organisations - GFDRR, NERC, FM Global, and NASA - I led the development of a 24-hour Interdisciplinary Pressure Cooker event on risk communication at the Understanding Risk…

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