BBC Media Action's blog

Are there alternatives to counter-propaganda in an information age?

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Author: James Deane and Will Taylor, September 7 2016 - Looking at information responses to extremism, James Deane and Will Taylor reflect on the challenges for media development organisations and call for an evidence-based debate that accommodates different approaches.

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Scriptwriting for Syrians

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Author: Hozan Akko, September 7 2016 - A new radio drama for Syrians hopes to bridge divides and help people deal with the pressures of prolonged conflict.

To the relief of her family, a woman miraculously emerges from the rubble of a collapsed building on a small street in a Syrian suburb. She is scratched and dusty but otherwise unscathed. Amidst the sirens, there is the faint sound of broken wood and glass cracking beneath her feet. She’s escaped with her life – but her family business, a small restaurant, has been completely destroyed in the blast. Gazing back at the restaurant ruins, Archi has already resolved to rebuild what she has lost.

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We need to start talking about AIDS again

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Author: Caroline Sugg, August 31 2016 - In the early days of HIV, communication was at the heart of many successful prevention efforts but has never been fully integrated into the global response. Caroline Sugg explains why this needs to change, by explaining how a focus on behavioural and social change can help tackle current challenges posed by HIV and AIDS.

The early days of HIV were dark indeed. Freshly made coffins lined the streets of African towns, stark symbols of communities ravaged by a new and little understood killer. The intense stigma faced by people living with the disease around the world cruelly compounded their suffering.

But in those frightening times, important clues on how to effectively fight HIV were already emerging. We should remember these clues today as the world wakes up to the fact that we are failing to prevent more than 2 million new infections a year.http://www.unaids.org/en/resources/fact-sheet

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How a volunteer journalist used radio to combat cholera in Kenya

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Author: Mark Okundi, August 31 2016 - Passing on skills to a new generation of broadcast journalists is helping save lives in Kenya. Mark explains how a fresh-faced volunteer single-handedly developed a radio programme designed to tackle cholera.

I began mentoring Sayid in a studio at Wajir Community Radio and was immediately impressed by him. He had just finished his fourth year of high school and had joined the station as a volunteer presenter. Fresh faced and without any previous media experience, it was a gutsy entry into the industry.

Developing young journalists

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

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Author: Melanie Archer, August 25 2016 - 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.

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Zambia Elections 2016 - championing live TV debate

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Author: Changwe Kabwe, August 17 2016 - In an election campaign dominated by personality politics, a national TV debate featuring key presidential contenders in the Zambian general election presented a rare opportunity for people to directly question candidates and hear about their plans for Zambia’s future.

In a large auditorium filled with hundreds of people, bright lights and watching cameras, Philip Sikainda, a gentleman in his sixties stood up and addressed the panel of presidential candidates.

"Zambia today has a lot of retirees languishing in poverty because of unpaid benefits, some of them die without receiving their benefits, what will you do if elected into government to [support their] plight?” he asked.

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"You runaway": the challenges of research in South Sudan

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Author: Trish Doherty, August 17 2016: Writing from Juba, Research Manager Trish Doherty explains the importance of conducting research in conflict-affected countries like South Sudan – despite the very real risks for both researchers and the people they speak to.

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How can media and communication improve your health?

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Author: Emebet Wuhib-Mutungi, August 10 2016 - 'When have you taken steps to improve your health as a result of something you read or heard in the media or talking to someone?' asks an activity in a BBC Media Action health workshop exploring the complexities of behaviour change. Delegates were asked to reflect first on their own personal experiences of behaviour change before they started to think about how to influence others.

The BBC Media Action workshop – designed to help people harness communication to help people become more healthy – challenged participants to think about something they wanted to start or stop doing to improve their health. I had to reflect on what had made things difficult, what motivated me, the influence of media and communication and describe in pictures, my journey of change. My goal sounds simple enough. To start exercising again.

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Making politics work for development is all the rage

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Author: BBC Media Action's James Deane, August 10 2016 - Through arguing that development outcomes are less the product of specific “projects” than of enabling governance systems, two new World Bank papers help make the case for supporting independent, informative and engaging media.

We’re currently seeing a profusion of reports arguing that development organisations find it difficult to understand and respond to political realities. Most conclude that development fails to deliver impact because politics gets in the way. 

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Helping communities to make Naija better

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Author: Uche Joy Nnogo, August 3 2016 - A small community in Nigeria is demanding better services to protect their children from diarrhoea. Joy Nnogo, of radio show Talk Your Own - Make Naija Better, shares their story.

A young woman sits silently. Older women in her community are consoling her.

"My two year old woke up one morning with a fever,” she tells us. The young woman had taken the child to the health centre for medication. A day later, her child started convulsing with severe diarrhoea. She had no idea how to deal with it. She is crying now. In-between her tears, she tells us that the child became weak and collapsed. She’s grieving but doesn’t blame anyone or anything. She just looks tired and defeated.

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