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Who to follow on Twitter if you’re interested in international development, media and communication

Melanie Archer

Digital Editor, BBC Media Action

A list of Twitter accounts covering governance, health and humanitarian affairs that are well worth following.

August is a time for recharging on holiday, resurrecting neglected projects and… refreshing social media feeds. To help reboot your Twitter timeline, here are some recommendations of international development accounts to follow.

In an attempt to transcend the #commisaid and #mediadev silos, this list includes opinion makers (and sharers) from the wider governance, health and humanitarian communities – BBC Media Action’s three main themes – with an appreciation for the role of media and communication in development.

The aim is to feature a variety of voices from across the great expanse of the Twittersphere, so hopefully you'll nod with recognition at some familiar handles while also getting introduced to some new faces who should definitely be on your radar.


@fp2p: Duncan Green, Oxfam's Senior Strategic Adviser, runs one of the best-known international development blogs. Follow for updates on all the sector’s hot topics from #WormWars to ‘doing development differently’.

@alanhudson1: Executive Director for @GlobalIntegrity. Tweets about open government and corruption, while providing a weekly round-up of links on accountability.

@Shaistajafri: Manila-based Shaista Hussain works for the Asian Development Bank. Expect articles on a wide range of subjects, from gender to NASA, alongside live updates from conferences and inspirational quotes.

@MssZeeUsman: Zainab Usman is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development (@ODID_QEH). A keen-eyed watcher of Nigeria and all things Africa.

@WordsAreDeeds: Kate Ferguson, Research and Policy Director at UK NGO Protection Approaches (@IBVprev). Looks at the interplay between communication and countering violent extremism, a topic of growing interest within the international development and foreign policy communities.  


@SaleemulHuq: Director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development (@ICCCAD) in Bangladesh and Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (@IIED). Follow for updates on adaptation to climate change.

@BenParker140: Co-founder of @irinnews. Offers an acerbic take on the aid world, which is humorous while not being afraid to take a critical look at the humanitarian system. 

@JoanneLiu_MSF: International President of medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières‎ (@MSF). Follow for updates on MSF’s work and the organisation’s position on key developments in the humanitarian sector.

@SaraPantuliano: Managing Director at the Overseas Development Institute (@ODIdev). Tweets frankly about the refugees crisis, South Sudan and conflict.  

@NEAR_Network: The newly founded Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR) reflects the growing push for increased localisation of humanitarian action.


@glassmanamanda: Amanda Glassman, Director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development (@CGDev) and co-author of Millions Saved, a collection of success stories in global health.

@HansRosling: Professor of Global Health at the @karolinskainst. A must-follow for those interested in data and global health.

@globalhlthtwit: Anthony Costello, Director of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organisation (@WHO). Tweet topics range from immunisation rates in India to maternity leave in the US. There's also a dash of sport, politics and medical history for good measure.

@UCLGlobalHealth: University College London feed that not only promotes their own inter-disciplinary activities, but also shares global health content from a variety of other sources.

@defeatDD: Intent on breaking “the poo taboo”, this is a feed firmly focused on how to defeat deadly diarrhoea through a combination of means, from oral rehydration salts to breastfeeding to vaccines.   

And finally, time for a little self-promotion. BBC Media Action tweets as @bbcmediaaction and details of a few of our staff tweeting about governance, health and humanitarian issues can be found below. 

@JamesMDeane: Director of Policy and Learning. Follow for insights on how #mediadev relates to the broader governance agenda.

@SLPWilkinson: Senior Health Adviser. Particularly interested in nutrition, immunisation and WASH, as well as reproductive, maternal and sexual health.

@JackieD_BBC: Lifeline Programme Senior Producer/Trainer. Tweeting about communication in emergencies.

But who’s your favourite international development tweeter? Share your recommendations in the comments or tweet us at @bbcmediaaction.  

Melanie Archer is Digital Editor of the Media Action Insight blog; she tweets as @MelanieBArcher

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