Our approach to capacity strengthening

Through our media production, outreach and interpersonal communication work, we aim to contribute to shifts in knowledge, attitudes, social norms and behaviours that help improve governance, health and resilience.

However, we believe that if lasting change in these areas is to be supported, it is important that we work with partners to ensure they are able to play an ongoing role in meeting public needs beyond the lifetime of donor funded projects. Our capacity strengthening work also seeks to extend the reach and impact of projects while they are underway. It is at the core of our approach.

Our capacity strengthening interventions most often target media and communication organisations to deliver sustainable improvements in the editorial, production and technical quality of their output. We also work with partner NGOs, civil society groups, government agencies and frontline service delivery staff to support their ability to communicate more effectively with the public, where this will contribute to governance, health and resilience outcomes.

Our approach

Capacity-strengthening may take place as part of production partnerships, through ‘on the job’ mentoring, or through formal training workshops. We embed experts into organisations to build capacity with staff at different levels over time and support the development of organisational cultures and systems which will reflect and safeguard improved practice. We also support individuals outside an organisational context where they are working in isolation or in challenging circumstances.

In this work, we draw heavily on BBC editorial, creative and technical expertise, but also invest in the development of mentors and trainers from the countries in which we work. Their knowledge and direct experience of those media and communication environments, along with the BBC’s reputation for journalistic and production innovation and editorial independence is a powerful combination.

Audiences are at the heart of our approach to strengthening capacity. Audience research is central to fostering our partner’s understanding of and engagement with their audiences. This enables them to better meet audience needs and increase audience share, but also empowers audiences to participate in shaping the media environments which they inhabit.

Research on capacity-strengthening

BBC Media Action has developed an approach to evaluating capacity strengthening which continually evolves as it is applied. This approach includes a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods such as in-depth interviews with people trained by the intervention, content analysis to assess the programme produced as a result of this training and focus groups with viewers/listeners to understand how the programme has changed over time. This approach is designed to assess impact at the four interdependent levels of audience, practitioner, organisation and the wider media system.

Working in partnership

  • Governance: In Nepal, we are training and making radio discussion programmes with community radio stations to help them boost the quality of local debate and discussion and attract advertising revenue.
  • Health: In India, we advise government departments on ways to strengthen health communication.
  • Resilience: In Bangladesh, we have helped the government prepare communication plans in the event of humanitarian emergencies.
  • Media Development: In Iraq, we helped found Al Mirbad, an independent television and radio broadcaster in Basra. It is now the most listened-to local radio station in southern Iraq.
  • Media Development: We have set up journalism training centres in Russia, Ukraine, Serbia and Indonesia. These deliver on-site workshops, seminars and distance learning to equip broadcast professionals with technical and ethical journalism skills.