BBC Media Action's blog

Gaza Strip: communication saves lives

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Mohammed Abu Asaker Humanitarian Liaison, Palestinian Territories, on November 25 2016 - Mohammed Abu Asaker’s neighborhood in the Gaza Strip was bombed in 2009. His personal experience is helping him train journalists and humanitarian workers about the importance of practical information for people affected by conflict.

Radio Gaza FM has a huge social media following. Its regular posts of cute wrestling cats and playful puppies provide light relief in this conflict-affected region.

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Kakalliya: The rapping granny

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Chibuike Utaka, Head of Factual, BBC Media Action Nigeria, December 2 2016 - Granny-power hits the airwaves to help improve the health of mothers and babies in northern Nigeria.

An old woman is wearing native dress and a hijab, both fairly common in northern Nigeria. Cast your eyes down though and you'll see a pair of bright red sneakers peeping out from beneath her dress. She opens her mouth, a strong hip hop beat kicks in and she begins to rap in Hausa – the main language of the north.

"When you're lost, and you don't know what to do,

Ask me (mothers and children), and I'll get answers for you."

[Click here to listen to Kakalliya on SoundCloud.]

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Our Girls, Our Future

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Catherine Juma, November 22 2016 - Girls in South Sudan are less likely than boys to start school and more likely to drop out. Our radio producer visited her former school to find out if educational aspiration for girls is improving.

“Where’s my mango tree?” I wondered, as I entered the gates of my former school, welcomed by a gaggle of smiling school girls dressed in smart red and white uniforms

As a young girl, I’d planted a mango tree in a shady area of Juba Girl’s Secondary School. The tree was a symbol of a future ripe with possibilities, where if you nurture something – feed it, water and protect it - then delicious fruits will eventually appear.

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Somalia: one of the toughest places to give birth in the world

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Mohammed A. Gaas, November 15 2016 - A tribute to Amran Mahad, lead actress in Maalmo Dhaama Maanta (A Better Life than Today), an interactive drama helping young people to talk about both the opportunities and the obstacles that they face in Somalia. She died 3 November 2016 following complications during childbirth.

Amran Mahad was known to audiences as ‘Ugasso’, a strong, ambitious young woman determined to make the world a better place. The character she played – beloved by Maalmo Dhaama Maanta’s listeners – was similar to Amran herself. A household name in Somalia, her beguiling voice floating through the airwaves, Amran captivated and inspired listeners every week.

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Myanmar: Our Wish, Our Question

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action blog by Yan Htaik Seng, November 1 2016 - We recount a nerve-racking visit to Myanmar’s ethnically diverse Kayin State - as it recovers from years of conflict - to give young people a rare chance to voice their opinions and question their leaders.

Rain is sparkling in a pool, reflecting the lush, green mountains behind it. I’m in Kayin State, south-eastern Myanmar the day before our youth radio debate and despite the peaceful surroundings I am worried.

We’ve invited four high-profile panellists – a government minister, a youth activist, a speaker from a political organisation, and a newly elected MP – all of whom have agreed to face questions from a group of young people. Several questions flash through my mind: Will the panellists show up? What sort of questions will be asked? Will our debate be shut down?

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Media, participation and social inclusion: what are the links?

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Chris Snow on November 10 2016 - Reviewing the results of a survey of 23,000 people across seven countries, Chris Snow looks at the potential of media to engage even hard-to-reach groups in politics.

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What are the challenges facing young people in East Africa?

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Originally posted on the BBC Media Action Insight blog by Alasdair Stuart on November 3 2016 - Alasdair Stuart shares the challenges faced by young people in Tanzania, Somalia and Kenya and outlines how they themselves think the media can help.

“Life becomes better for just a few – your neighbour owns ten cars but you don’t even own a bicycle.” (Arusha, Tanzania)

“Adults, the government, businessmen and parents have no confidence in us to bring new ideas or trust us in doing thing.” (Puntland, Somalia)

“Extremist groups are an option for some young people because they are fed up with the hardships of life.” (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 

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Coming out about indoor pollution in Ethiopia

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Author: BBC Media Action's Andrey Vladov, November 3 2016 - A new radio drama is helping improve people’s health in Ethiopia by drawing attention to the harmful effects of traditional ways of cooking, heating and lighting homes.

“Bring that wood over here and make some fire in the room!” Although the woman can see the smoke has already made her daughter’s eyes “so red, they’re like pepper”, her voice is so commanding that disobeying her is unthinkable.

These are actors taking part in BBC Media Action’s new radio drama and they’re more than convincing.

After barely two months on air, Golaafala (meaning ‘solution from within’ in Ethiopia’s Oromiffa language) is already one of the most popular shows on ORTO (Oromia Radio).

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We need more media coverage of disaster prevention

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Author: Marcus Oxley, October 20 2016 - Marking International Day for Disaster Reduction, Marcus Oxley argues that we need more media coverage of disasters before – rather than after – they happen. This would make prevention more of a priority, allowing more people to ‘live to tell’.

After big disasters, the world responds with compassion for the victims and the humanitarian assistance machine kicks into gear. National and local governments respond with rescue operations. Other countries offer assistance. International NGOs deploy personnel and provide shelter, food and basic health services. Local and international media show images of the destruction and share victims’ appeals for support with the world. The international public responds with donations to alleviate the suffering of their fellow human beings.

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"In my next life I want to be a boy"

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Author: Ragini Pasrichan, October 20 2016 - Why we chose “real people” instead of actors to feature in our Public Service Announcements (PSAs), TV adverts sharing simple solutions to prepare for cyclones, flooding and drought.

“In my next life I want to be a boy because they can do anything they like”, said the 15-year-old girl.

Then, looking at me, she added: “I too want to own a mobile phone, have short hair and wear jeans. Tell me how I can become like you.”

It was a poignant cry for voice and a self-determined identity which opened my eyes to a world full of opportunities for boys, where elder brothers are the disciplinarians of sisters and a girl owning a mobile phone is something to be ashamed of.

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