Author: James Thomas, cross-posted on October 4 2016 - Ebola has once again surfaced in Guinea. Meanwhile, the battle with Zika virus continues in Latin America. American responses to outbreaks tend to be disease-specific, driven in part by the latest images in the media. The White House recently requested $1.8 billion of emergency funds to respond to the Zika outbreak. This follows $5.3 billion of emergency funds allocated in 2014 to fight Ebola. Can these disease-specific responses be used in a way that lays a coherent public health foundation capable of responding to both of these, as well as future outbreaks?
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Author: Anele Herbet Dube, October 3 2016 - One of the key challenges facing Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in Zimbabwe has more to do with programming rather than funding or diminishing funding opportunities. In my more than 5 years involvement in the work of civil society, I have been convinced that there is a need for serious reflection by many organisations on how they approach programming especially if they are to contribute to social change. The call to put people or communities at the centre of any project through incorporating them at every stage of that project has been an old tale, but, however, very few organisations take that seriously. Defining and perceiving themselves as ‘experts’, Programme Managers, Officers and Directors and those involved in project development have tended to replace communities with technological gadgets (computers, laptops) and the internet in terms of problem identification and solution finding (desktop programming).
Author: BBC Media Action's Caroline Chukwura, September 28 2016 - Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I had a pen pal far away in Nice, France. I was always excited to receive letters from her – I remember we bonded over photos of our home towns and discussions about our pets. She had dogs, while I had a parrot and 40 pigeons.
I’m older now, and have a daughter of my own whom I hope will have pen pals soon. But just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy being in touch with people far away. In fact, I do it daily as part of my work – although my pals are all in Nigeria, and mobile calls and text messages have replaced pen, paper and stamps.
Author: BBC Media Action's Melanie Archer, September 29 2016 - 2016 has been a busy year so far. The World Humanitarian Summit took place in Istanbul while the British Government hosted a major anti-corruption conference. But the year’s not over yet and the next few months hold a lot in store. Here are some autumn (and early winter) highlights from the international development calendar.
Author: Jim Thomas, PhD, Project Director, MEASURE Evaluation, June 28 2016 [a MEASURE Evaluation blog reprinted from the Global Digital Health Network on the Knowledge Gateway] BANGKOK, Thailand - With a cellphone application, mClinica can monitor trends in prescriptions for diabetes medicines in a sample of pharmacies in Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. With sensors connected to smokeless cook stoves, SweetSense can monitor if the communities are actually using them. With satellite sensors, Servir detects how fish swim in the Xe Kong River and identifies potential barriers that may result from the placement, design, or operation of dams.
Author: Dr Faisal Mahmud, September 28 2016 - Garment factory workers in Bangladesh are watching screenings of a health drama during their lunch breaks to help improve their - and their children’s health.
Rows of factory workers in colourful dress sit attentively looking up at flickering images cast on the wall by a purring projector. Many of the clothes they produce make their way to high-street shops in Europe and America.
They are sitting comfortably on fabric-covered benches watching Ujan Ganger Naiya (Sailing Against the Tide), a television drama designed to help improve child and maternal health in Bangladesh.
Author: Will Taylor, September 21 2016 - Will Taylor reviews the ‘green cover’ draft of the World Development Report, which puts a spotlight on the media but could do more to lay out how to support inclusive public dialogue at scale.
Induced participation sounds both painful and unappealing. And taking it to mean a state-led mechanism of consultation – the definition initially used by the draft 2017 World Development Report (WDR) – it might well be.
Subtitled ‘Governance and the Law’, this report provides a broad-ranging analysis of how to help shape formal governance mechanisms for development outcomes. Yet some of the report’s most interesting thinking – on induced participation and public deliberation, which can be more encouragingly thought of as supporting societies to discuss and determine their future – is buried deep within its 300 pages.
Author: Tom Hannen, September 21 2016 - I was watching my one-year-old son playing on a beach in Turkey when the terrible photo of Aylan Kurdi lying motionless on a beach further along the coast appeared on social media. I will never forget the shock of seeing this while my child played happily in the same sea.
When BBC Media Action's research team told me about their refugee project - a series of in-depth interviews about the communication needs of refugees in Europe - I was very keen to make a video to support it. Initially we planned to make a conventional motion graphic explainer video in a 16x9 widescreen TV format. But since the target audience was humanitarian agencies working in the field, I decided to play with the vertical mobile phone format.
Authors: Shelby Grossman, Jonathan Phillips and Leah Rosenzweig, August 23 2016 [first posted in the Monkey Cage at the Washington Post, linked below] In early August, Nigeria announced new cases of wild poliovirus, two years after the country's last reported case. This was a setback for the Nigerian government as well as the global health community, which has invested [US]$14 billion over the past three decades to wipe out polio.
Author: James Deane, September 14 2016 - James Deane argues that the concept of media systems capable of: engaging everyone in society, acting independently and enabling dialogue across divides appears increasingly – rather than decreasingly – relevant in the 21st century.