November 4, 2015
The Drum BeatGlobal Voices - Geographically Diverse Selections from CI Bloggers - The Drum Beat 699
From The Communication Initiative Network - where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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Do you ever wonder what sets the sails under The CI as it seeks to canvass the proverbial seas of the cross-continental communication for development (C4D) community? It is you, the network, who shares with us your work and your words - such as in the selected blogs excerpted below.

Coming to us in 2015 from various types of organisations and backgrounds, these bloggers bring us their experiences in countries around the world as they express their perspectives on a variety of development issues and the way they have used or advocate for using a range of communication strategies and tools. Their work is featured on our Policy Blogs theme site - which is sponsored by our Partner, BBC Media Action.

Is your continent, country, or community not represented here? If not (or even if so), we would love to hear your voice to strengthen the diversity of our group of bloggers.

In reverse alphabetical order by country name...
  • 1. A selection from Zimbabwe
    Wize Up Zimbabwe - The aftermath
    Author: Nokholo Mhluzani, April 30 2015 - "Towards the end of the year 2014 Action IEHDC [Action Institute for Environment, Health and Development Communication] produced a television talk show under the Wize Up, your decision your life campaign. The television show that aired on Zimbabwe's local television station, ZBCTV, was primarily targeted at young people in the 15 to 24 years age group....It was viewed to demystify the common myth that sex and sexuality issues cannot be discussed with parents. The show became a spring board for young people to start communicating with their parents on sexuality issues....The TV talk show was rated as being highly interactive while also empowering youths to take charge of their lives. The show was liked for tackling real life issues and bringing in testimonies that reinforced understanding of issues among young people..."

  • 2. A selection from Uganda
    Three Examples of Why Content Is King and Context Shapes the Package
    Author: Damalie Wasukira, March 25 2015 - "Without understanding context, one can't communicate effectively. Considering context in communication means you consider the framework of related facts, conditions and circumstances within which the communication takes place. These kind of factors influence the way a message is understood by the recipient. For TTC, this means carefully taking into account our target group when starting a project. Ever since our first mHealth project in 2008, the organization has worked in over 25 different countries worldwide, including Uganda..."

  • 3. A selection from Peru
    Gender Norms and Power Inequities: Key Barriers to Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Rights
    Author: Christina Wegs, January 26 2015 - "...In the Huancavelica, Piura, and Puno regions of Peru - areas with disproportionately high maternal mortality rates - many women are reluctant to use health care services because of ill-treatment by health care workers, including discrimination against indigenous women and refusal to provide free services to poor women who qualified for them. Since 2008, CARE has partnered with leaders from grassroots women's groups who regularly monitor health services and work with regional health authorities to address rights violations and gaps in quality....This approach directly informed guidelines for citizen monitoring which were adopted as national policy by the Peruvian Ministry of Health in 2010..."

  • 4. A selection from Pakistan
    Addressing diversity in Pakistan's media
    Author: Rukhsana Ahmad, February 13 2015 - "For me, as a Karachi-ite, born and bred, the invitation to be a trainer on The Bigger Picture: Media, Representation and Inclusion in Pakistan, was irresistible....BBC Media Action’s plan to deliver a two-pronged programme designed to address the lack of religious minority representation in Pakistan's media seemed timely and wise. One strand of the workshops was for television drama writers while the other targeted producers and talk show hosts. Both categories of programming are significantly influential even if their audiences differ widely. An online iLearn training module specially designed by BBC Media Action to induct entrants into the course, complete with a forum and face-to-face learning, supported the participants..."

  • 5. A selection from Myanmar
    Myanmar: seeing emergency information in a new light
    Author: Becky Palmstrom, August 10 2015 - "...Last week, when the government declared a state of emergency in places hit by some of the worst flooding Myanmar has seen for years, we began sharing prepared messages, reminding media organisations that they could broadcast them too. Within 48 hours, BBC Media Action began working with Myanma Radio's journalists to produce a twice daily radio show for people. The Lifeline radio programme, called Shin Than Chin Kan Lan Mya (Linking Hands to Keep Living) follows the weather report on every news broadcast..."

  • 6. A selection from Malawi
    The role of radio in community development
    Author: Gillies C Kasongo, March 4 2015 - "Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) commends local radio stations that are transforming themselves into platforms that provide local communities an opportunity to engage in dialogue on various developmental issues that affect their lives, thereby shaping the developmental discourse towards their needs....[I]n Mzimba district, Malawi,...the radio station (Mzimba Community Radio Station) is now at the centre of preserving the local language and the local culture. This has reinforced the relationship between the station and the local communities. [From Mr. Jere, programmes manager, Mzimba Radio:] 'The establishment of radio listening clubs has enabled us as a station to reach out to many people across the district. We have recorded an increase in the level of interaction between the station and the community. We have now introduced a policy to ensure that 60% of our programming content is in the local Tumbuka and Ngoni languages. This has brought the communities closer to the station, and enabled the station to be at the centre of the cultural development of the district.'..."

  • 7. A selection from Kenya
    Delivering digital stories in contexts with no grid power and Internet
    Author: Ephraim Mhlanga, June 29 2015 - "How do we deliver digital stories in contexts where there are power and connectivity issues? The ASP [African Storybook Project] was conceptualised on the premise that shortage of reading materials in familiar language is one of the major factors constraining early literacy development in Africa....In some places, such as in Turkana (Kenya), it is impossible to darken a classroom adequately - the desert light is simply too bright. Fortunately our site in Turkana had fixed solar panels, so a regular projector which requires an electricity connection to function works well there....Our main lesson of experience in relation to this experience is that one solution will not fit all sites. But we do need to give the people themselves agency in order to experiment. They are not merely recipients of the solution, but participants in experimenting and adjusting the solution for their own particular needs..."

  • To find blogs: Simply go to and type "blogs" in the search box on the right-hand side. You will arrive at a page with various filters so that you can locate what you are interested in by year of posting, communication approaches and tools, geography, and so on.
  • We encourage you to read these blogs and comment on them so as to spark reflection and dialogue amongst your peers.
  • To submit a blog: Simply log in (registration is free and easy) and go here to share your words. We will then be in touch with you. If you have any questions about submitting your blog, contact
  • 8. A selection from Jordan
    Faith Communities Matter in Social and Behavior Change Communication Programs for Child Survival
    Author: Kathryn Bertram, originally posted January 23, cross-posted February 3 2015 - "Mobilizing faith communities to spread public health messages and lead others toward making healthier decisions was the topic of a recent webinar hosted by the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3)....Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) Maternal, Newborn and Child Health advisor Amrita Gill-Baily shared data on how Imams and other religions leaders impacted family planning efforts in the Family Health Program in Jordan....The program activities incorporated religious leaders in a variety of creative ways, including: TV and radio spots on gender equity and birth spacing, using verses from the Qur'an [and] Training Ministry staff and religious leaders on the 'Family Health Package,' including family sermon booklets, flash cards and films....What they found was that compared with the baseline, religious leaders who were exposed to the program were significantly more likely to: Register positive attitudes about family planning; Believe that a wider range of contraceptive methods are acceptable according to Islamic teachings; Preach or counsel about a wider range of topics related to family planning and population as well as about gender equity among men during the previous three months..."

  • 9. A selection from India
    Are we on the right track? Women's Evaluations vs Evaluation Practices
    Author: Ranjani K. Murthy, June 15 2015 - "When I asked women and men from six Chennai [India] slums: 'What are the changes - positive and negative - you have seen in the last five years in the institutions of marriage, family, markets and state?' they pointed to quite a few changes and recommendations. These are discussed first, followed by recommendations from evaluations of government schemes in the same city. The disjuncture between women's evaluations and government evaluations is then contrasted, and, finally, recommendations are given to bridge the gaps so that gender relations and institutions change for the better..."

  • 10. A selection from France
    Five Media Mistakes over Charlie Hebdo
    Author: Dasha Ilic, January 16 2015 - "The satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has featured the prophet Muhammad on its front cover once again....As it has been only a week since the attack and the killings in Paris, some could question the magazine's decision to put the Prophet on its cover again. But no one can deny the right to free speech in a secular state, as no one can avoid responsibility for the spoken and written word. Therefore, there are things that the world media could do and could have done differently in the coverage of the Charlie Hebdo killings and the events that have followed..."

  • 11. A selection from the Congo
    Malaria Observatories: Bridge to Open and Collaborative Models
    Author: Dr. Michel Odika, February 18 2015 - "The multiplication of information needs and users implies that the way malaria-related information is generated, used and shared also has to evolve. This critically depends on accessibility and transparency, for example, by making all malaria-associated information readily accessible via the Internet..."

  • 12. A selection from Colombia
    #Elegimos Campaign for the election period in Colombia
    Author: Nadia Rojas, September 6 2015 - "...To Ocasa [a Colombian non-governmental organisation of young people against corruption - the word Ocasa is from the Chibcha language, meaning truth], the electoral issue goes beyond October 2015 and beyond voting. Every day we chose which person we want to be, how much you want to contribute to others and build a better future for all. So we created this campaign called #Elegimos and we made this video among all the team members....In addition, we created images for networks that remind us of the history of voting and what we have gained in recent decades..."

  • 13. A selection from Cambodia
    International Youth Day. Let's be brave.
    Author: Sok Phalyka, August 12 2015 - "...Lack of career advice and confidence can limit young people's chance to make a case to their families (and potential employees) about their future. I've always asked myself, 'How can I help other young Cambodians facing the same problems as I once had?' Fortunately, through my job as radio manager for Klahan9 (meaning Brave9), a new youth employment radio programme [developed by BBC Media Action], I'm in position to help....Through call-ins, drama, live events, gameshows and interviews with experts, Klahan9 provides young people with advice ranging from training opportunities, job hunting and CV writing to interview skills, workplace safety and employee rights..."

  • 14. A selection from Burkina Faso
    Reflecting on development practice the Burkinabé way
    Author: Valentina Tartari, May 20 2015 - "I am not a journalist, nor an expert on African politics, but an international development graduate with a strong research interest in African communities....A lot of the development literature reflects on the Western responsibility to help 'distant others', which is often summarised as the main drive behind development work.....Sometimes when you find yourself in the middle of community meetings where you do not know the local language and you are the only foreigner attending, you wonder if that is the case. However, it is a matter of working very hard to challenge that stereotype at the beginning of every project. In that sense, needs assessments, focus groups, peer sessions, participatory exercises are very good tools to allow you to get a deep understanding of community needs, while equally giving your target population the chance to get to know you and approach you without complex. In Moré, the local language of the Mossi people (the main ethnic group of Burkina Faso), Nasara is the specific word used to describe white people. As you can imagine, me and the other British volunteers working on the project got that a lot...The programme was a good way to challenge this mutual fear and work in an environment where everybody is treated as equal. By working with and for the community, the sense of separation between 'Us' and 'Them' soon appeared to be yet another development construct..."

  • 15. A selection from Bangladesh
    The Light House of Hill: To Flourish Properly, Needs People Participation and Asset Based Development
    Author: Suman Chowdhury Mony, August 31 2015 - "...When the clouds have gone, five children, three of them are girls, have come to be visible; the girls are blue dressed and boys are in green, climbing on a vertical hill. But where they are going? 'Konglak Para' is a small place of tribal people situate on a big hill, height of about 1800 feet from the sea level. There are two tribal groups, one is 'Lusai' and another is 'Pangkhoya'. The Pangkhoya is one of the disappearing tribal societies of Bangladesh and India as well. There is a tin-shade house in the far side of Konglak Para, which is almost is true that Bangladesh has developed many schools in various areas but 'Konglak Government Primary School' is one of the very unlucky schools due its remote communication....To properly develop an education institution, an area, and also a country, both of Government and the local people should take several types of initiatives from their sites. They should not wait for one another..."

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This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Kier Olsen DeVries.
The Drum Beat is the email and web network of The Communication Initiative Partnership.

Full list of the CI Partners:
ANDI, BBC Media Action, Bernard van Leer Foundation, Breakthrough, Citurna TV, Fundación Imaginario,Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI),
Heartlines,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs,Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), MISA, Open Society Foundations, Oxfam Novib, PAHO,The Panos Institute, Puntos de Encuentro, SAfAIDS, Sesame Workshop, Soul City, STEPS International, UNAIDS, UNICEF,Universidad de los Andes,USAID,World Health Organization (WHO), W.K. Kellogg Foundation

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