BBC Media Action's blog

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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Inside a randomised control trial: insights from Bangladesh

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Author: BBC Media Action Research and Learning team, July 27 2016 - BBC Media Action conducted its first ever randomised control trial (RCT) on the impact of our health programming on audiences. In this blog, we explore some of the methodological challenges of conducting an RCT and ensuring randomisation in the field based on our work with pregnant mothers and women of childbearing age in Bangladesh.

This is the second blog in a two-part series on BBC Media Action’s Bangladesh RCT, read more about the results of the study in the first blog.

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When the skill of questioning is listening: interviewing refugees in Europe

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Author: BBC Media Action Research Editor Katy Williams, July 26 2016 - Having recently undertaken the perilous journey from Damascus to Berlin, researcher and filmmaker Reem Karssli – now seeking asylum in Germany – had a strong connection with the people she interviewed for BBC Media Action’s research into the communication needs of refugees in Europe.

Filmmaker Reem Karssli knows first-hand the importance of reliable communications to refugees. Six months ago, she fled the war in Syria and is now a refugee herself in Germany where she became part of the team researching the communication needs of refugees for BBC Media Action’s Voices of Refugees report.

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Can mass media cause change? A randomised control trial finds out

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Author: Paul Bouanchaud and others including a team from BBC Media Action, July 20 2016 - Can the mass media cause changes in an audience's knowledge, attitudes and intention to practise behaviours? At BBC Media Action, we have just successfully conducted a randomised control trial to investigate this chain of causality in a prime time health TV drama in Bangladesh.

Do BBC Media Action programmes cause changes in our audiences? Do our television and radio shows increase knowledge, make people think differently or change their actual behaviour? In short, what is happening as a direct result of our programmes?

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Sexploitation in Tanzania - how a radio show is helping young people

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Author: Gaure Mdee, July 20 2016 - We arrived in Kahama in north-western Tanzania on a cool Thursday afternoon. The town is home to one of the country’s largest gold mines but unemployment here is high. Many people struggle to make ends meet in spite of the riches that lie hidden below the ground.

Our radio show Niambie (Tell Me) aims to give young people a voice. We had travelled to Kahama to make a show about how corruption affects them and ways in which the community can tackle the problem together. As a national corruption chief told us during our visit, 'corruption is rife and rampant here.'

In preparation for the show we interviewed young people at the offices of local youth development charity Kahama Heroes. Young people spoke openly.

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How can humanitarian broadcasting help support recovery from crises?

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Author: Theo Hannides, July 7 2016 - When disaster strikes – whether in the form of an earthquake, conflict or epidemic – people need the right information to understand what is happening and how they can best respond. In recent years, the humanitarian community has increasingly recognised the importance of providing accurate and trusted information and using communication in crises. However, there is very little evidence available of what actually works best in information and communication responses to emergencies, not least because it is so difficult to do robust research. BBC Media Action’s recent report looks at how to meet these challenges and, by synthesising research from across four of its emergency responses, adds to the evidence base of what does and doesn’t work.

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