BBC Media Action's blog

Women and girl's rights in Sierra Leone: Let Us Know!

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Author: Olabisi Olu Garrick, February 23 2015 - Despite my fourteen years as a journalist, I didn’t always want to work in the media. I actually wanted to be a lawyer.

The ability to hold people to account and help people understand their legal rights always appealed to me. Little did I know that a chance meeting with a woman one sunny afternoon would change my life.

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Women making history in Nepal - the story of Sajha Sawal

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Author: BBC Media Action's Pratibha Tuladhar, originally posted February 19 2018 - As Sajha Sawal (Common Questions) takes a break, we revisit the questions and answers that changed lives - and the evolution of the most-watched debate show in Nepal. By its last episode, the programme had reached out to 6.6 million viewers.

In 2008 Nepal was emerging from a decade-long civil war and entering a new political era. Sajha Sawal (Common Questions) - a Question Time-style debate show - found a ready audience that was used to dealing with volatile political circumstances.

One of the first questions came from a schoolgirl Rejina Niraula.

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Rohingya crisis: When information is a matter of life and death

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Author: BBC Media Action's Executive Director Caroline Nursey, originally posted February 7 2018 - The scale of the humanitarian crisis is visible on the road winding away from Cox's Bazar long before you reach the camps.

Empty aid trucks head back to town as the landscape shifts from palm trees to rice fields and then hillsides full of shacks with orange and blue plastic sheeting for roofs.

These camps are now home to nearly 860,000 Rohingya people who have fled violence in Myanmar - with more than 600,000 arriving since August 2017. That's more than the population of Sheffield.

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Shining a light on girl's education in South Sudan

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Author: BBC Media Action South Sudan's Kenyi Betuel, editor of 'Our School', originally posted on January 15 2018 - Agol Deng Tong dreams of going to university and setting up her own business, but living in rural South Sudan - with no electricity - made studying in the evening difficult. But Agol was determined this wouldn’t stop her passing her exams. Radio programme ‘Our School’ shared her innovative solution to show how girls are tackling barriers to education across the country – and to inspire others to do the same. 

"Anything a man can do, you can do as a girl if you’re educated. Never think marriage is the only answer, I ensure that I am in school because I know that later I’ll be better off," says 21-year-old Agol Deng Tong.

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How can media help people in Bangladesh prepare for disasters?

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Author: BBC Media Action Bangladesh's Research Officer Aniqa Hossain, originally posted January 15 2018 - In Bangladesh, we’re pretty disaster-prone. Cyclones are a regular occurrence and much of our coastline is low-lying and often floods. This is a fact of life for many people, and they have little option but to find a way to survive. However, the lack of infrastructure can be too overwhelming and make it hard for people to know where to start.

As communicators, there is a lot we can do to help people become more resilient, so that they can take steps to prepare in advance and mobilise resources in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But we have found that communication is most effective when you don’t just tell people what to do but how to do it.

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A novel approach to maternal health in Nigeria

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Author: Producer Trainer for BBC Media Action in Nigeria Akile Gojo, originally posted December 5 2017 - Earlier this year, after a day of training producers at one of our partner radio stations in Gombe state, I was eating dinner in a nearby restaurant. In the background, a radio was playing, and, as I sat there, I realised that all the women - and some men as well - were listening intently to a novel being read aloud on air.

I knew listening to romance novels on the radio - especially those written by local authors - has been growing in popularity with women and girls in Northern Nigeria. They often go to the market to buy copies of their favourites to read again at home with family.

How can media and communication address violence against women and girls?

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Authors: BBC Media Action Gender advisors Kanwal Ahluwalia and Elanor Jackson, originally posted November 30 2017 - We are often asked what a gender transformative project looks like.

A gender transformative approach explicitly tackles social norms around gender discrimination, power and violence, as well as broader ideas about male superiority and what it is to be a "real man" or "real woman" in the eyes of society. It means addressing systemic change by looking beyond individuals and focusing on unequal power relations between women and men, girls and boys.

How we attracted women to our shows

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Author: Head of Research and Learning, BBC Media Action Nigeria, Anu Mohammed, originally posted November 22 2017 - As a child and throughout my teenage years in northern Nigeria, I saw men in our neighbourhood shopping for the food needed by the family. To my young mind, this was fascinating, and I thought “how helpful and thoughtful of them”.

It was only later I came to understand that, for cultural reasons, women were not expected to be seen in public. But deep down, I still couldn’t understand it.

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Coping with conflict: making media to support children in Syria

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Author: BBC Media Action's Assistant Project Manager in Syria Julie Boutros, originally posted November 19 2017 - As the world marks Universal Children’s Day, Julie Boutros describes how we're helping children in Syria survive and cope with the conflict. By supporting media based in the country to make tailored 'lifeline' content - animations, radio dramas, discussion programmes and a documentary - we're tackling issues around child rights, development and survival.

Children in Syria have paid the heaviest price in a conflict that has affected their daily lives for more than six years. Going to school, playing outdoors, or enjoying a healthy and safe life has become difficult for many children living in areas affected by conflict.

Using human-centred design to achieve your goals

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Authors: Radharani Mitra, originally posted November 7 2017 - This blog was originally posted on India Development Review (IDR’s) Practice blog.

One can’t talk about design without quoting Steve Jobs.

"Design is a funny word," he said, "Some people think design is how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works." He hit the bullseye as always. Look at the success of design-driven companies like AirBnB and Pinterest, or even digital giants like Google, eBay and LinkedIn, who have invested in the design of more engaging and differentiated user experiences.

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