13,023 The Communication Initiative Network, Bloggers Speak Out, The Drum Beat 718

The Drum BeatBloggers Speak Out – The Drum Beat 718
August 31 2016

This issue includes:


From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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Have something to say about policy and media in the context of communication for development (C4D)? This issue of The Drum Beat is an invitation – and, hopefully, inspiration – to join an open group of bloggers who actively contribute their voices to the Policy Blogs section of The Communication Initiative (The CI) website, which has emerged through a partnership with BBC Media Action. This CI partner has recently launched Media Action Insight, a space for bloggers to share analysis, insight, and research findings in the quest to illuminate the challenges media and communication can help tackle within the sphere of international development.

Included below are just a few recent (posted in 2016) blog titles on communication-related approaches to: governance and rights, media and media development, resilience and humanitarian response, and health. Our hope is to inspire you to comment on the blogs, so that blogging becomes a conversation, and to contribute your own blogs. Details on how to participate can be found below.


  • Includes sample blogs from our focus areas of:
  • 1. Sexploitation in Tanzania – how a radio show is helping young people
    by Gaure Mdee
    “We arrived in Kahama in north-western Tanzania on a cool Thursday afternoon….Our [BBC Media Action’s] radio show Niambie (Tell Me) aims to give young people a voice….In preparation for the show we interviewed young people at the offices of local youth development charity Kahama Heroes. Young people spoke openly. They knew and trusted the Niambie presenters and wanted to talk. Many spoke about their experience of petty corruption but we found that one of the most common and shocking complaints related to sexual exploitation, or ‘sexploitation’ – the abuse of power for sexual advantage…”
  • 2. Women’s Day: Let us take practical steps to achieve gender parity
    by Vusumuzi Sifile
    “…There is…need to move beyond the practice of merely recognizing the importance of women in development to actually implementing women empowerment programmes that enable the disadvantaged women to effectively participate in shaping national development. Zambia has many exceptional women, who if supported into positions of power and influence, can do exploits to bridge the gap between rural and urban dwellers and between men and women. These women are in all spheres, locally and internationally. Zambia should not end by setting aside this day as a public holiday, but should identify socio-political and traditional barriers that currently hinder the full realization of the girl child and the rural woman’s potential….”
  • 3. “Please, ask my husband”
    by Aniqa Hossain
    “Women in Bangladesh tend to see political debate as ‘men’s business’ but the female viewers of BBC Sanglap are an exception. Discussing politics over a cup of tea at a roadside stall is common practice for men – but not, it seems, for women – in Bangladesh. I discovered this while conducting research for Sanglap (Dialogue), a political discussion TV show enabling Bangladeshis from all walks of life to question their leaders on the issues that matter to them. We wanted to find out who exactly is watching our TV show, and how it is helping improve people’s understanding of politics and ability to hold their government to account…”
  • 4. Supporting the media to be a platform for electoral debate
    by Elias Banda
    “…With less than six months to go before the August general elections, the Zambian media carries a huge responsibility of keeping the citizenry and voters abreast of the current events and raising awareness of various issues and developments. The media will act as a platform upon which various state and non-state actors will meet to discuss, debate and share information on various aspects of these election. To the voter and the candidate, the media platform will be a place where ideas and new policies will be promoted, manifestos explained for the voter to make informed decisions….It is for this reason that Panos Institute of Southern Africa (PSAf), a communication development and media support organization has designed election coverage programmes and media capacity building programmes to ensure that the Zambian media, especially the rural based community media, understand and appreciate their roles in an electoral system…”

Launched in June 2016 by CI Partner BBC Media Action. Media Action Insight aims to inform policy, research, and practice by illuminating the challenges media and communication can help tackle within the sphere of international development. It provides a space for BBC Media Action staff and guest bloggers – researchers and academics, policymakers and decision-makers, policy actors and development practitioners, donors and non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives, and, of course, folks from media and communication organisations – to share analysis, insight, and research findings in the 3 priority areas of: governance and rights, health, and resilience and humanitarian response. The blog is part of a new expanded area of the BBC Media Action website, Research and Insight.

  • Includes sample blogs from our focus areas of:
  • 5. The role of the media in a divided society
    by James Deane
    “…But if I ever had doubts that the role of a media in a country in crisis is somehow unimportant or marginal or that I might have made a mistake spending years trying to support media systems that enable informed citizenries, that allow economically and politically marginalised voices to be heard and that create the platforms for public debate that enable people to understand each other – those doubts have been expelled. I am not going to diagnose or critique different British media organisations here, nor enter the much-traversed territory of the rights and wrongs of the Brexit outcome….But I come away convinced more than ever of three things….The first is that media matters when divided countries go through a political crisis…”
  • 6. Reaching Marginalized Populations: the Power of Radio and Mobile Voice
    by Natasha Beale
    “…As a result of IVR [Interactive Voice Response] integration with radio and television programs, EA [Equal Access]’s audiences have a much greater stake in media programming. Mobile engagement also encourages a more dedicated fan base for our radio programs as listeners feel more included in the production cycle and have a sense of ownership when the programs amplify their voices. Behavior change theory would suggest that the more dedicated our listeners are, the more likely they are to adopt positive behaviors.”
  • 7. Skiing in Afghanistan
    by Mukhtar Yadgar
    “…Over the past year, Radio Bamyan [a local radio station in one of Afghanistan’s most mountainous regions] received BBC Media Action training to boost its editorial, business development and programme making skills. Training is part of a wider project to help Afghan media become more sustainable and independent – so that it can play an important role in helping people hold their leaders to account. It was this ongoing support which inspired the station to produce a special show to discuss the government’s plans for the sport [of skiing] and its potential economic and cultural benefits…”
  • 8. Youth Women in Community Media and Journalism: the beginning of a new era in rural broadcasting journalism of Bangladesh
    by AHM Bazlur
    “In spite of the social and religious barriers such scenarios in gender disparity, particularly in media, has been gradually changing. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) under the banner of ‘voices of the rural people,’ has been in the forefront in breaking the traditional biased focus towards urban areas. The organization, since 2000, played a leading role in bringing media’s focus on rural areas. Community Radio, being the only broadcasting media in rural Bangladesh, not only broke the traditions but also spearheaded creating a platform for women journalists from grassroots to raise their voices to be heard in the community…”

  • To find blogs: Simply go to Policy Blogs section of The CI website and type your word(s) of interest 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 info@comminit.com

See also:


  • Includes sample blogs from our focus areas of:
  • 9. FAO analytical tools and engagement on national strategies help advance both climate change adaptation and mitigation
    by James Ayodele
    “A recent evaluation by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has shown that the advanced analytical tools and data of the Organization and its support to national climate change strategy development processes have helped to strengthen developing country efforts for climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM)…”
  • 10. A brush with Somalia’s people smugglers
    by Mohammed A. Gaas
    “…My nephew’s brush with Somalia’s people smugglers reminded me that, despite being a drama, [BBC Media Action’s radio show] Maalmo Dhaama Maanta is consistently grappling with very real issues. Issues that may even affect my own family. It’s this reflection of reality which makes the programme so powerful. I only wished that my own nephew had heard the episode about illegal migration, as it may have helped him understand the grave risks it involves.”
  • 11. The ‘othering’ of development and SDGs
    by Ranjani K. Murthy
    “Development discourse has often about paid attention to problems of developing countries, and till recently the analysis was largely done by those in developed countries. Developing countries are the ‘other’ in the relationship – to be dissected, analysed and solutions given. The Millennium Development Goals applied to the ‘other’ countries. The Sustainable Development Goals, on the other hand, pertain to both developed and developing countries. This is definitely a progress. However, the ‘othering’ of development continues in indirect ways…”
  • 12. ‘Together we can do it’: an action-packed festival
    by Mahbubul Hasan Manik
    “…[BBC Media Action’s] Amrai Pari (Together we can do it) began life as a television programme. It featured communities adopting low cost, replicable solutions to everyday problems caused by extreme weather and changing weather patterns. Now the season has ended, I’m part of a team staging a series of community events to encourage people across Bangladesh to discuss these solutions. We’re targeting people in rural communities who might not have access to TV. Ahead of our festival in Rangpur, volunteers from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society used [a] battery-powered rickshaw to visit remote parts in the region to make sure as many people as possible knew about the event. The mini-festival attracted a crowd of over 2,000 people who came to watch screenings of the TV show, folk singers, puppet shows and live demonstrations of simple techniques like the iron [water] filter…”

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  • Includes sample blogs from our focus area of:
  • 13. Tackling the Silent Killer With Open Source Health Communications: A Campaign to End Child Pneumonia
    by Briana Ferrigno, Nikki Tyler, and Mel Stanley
    “…How we balance the need to develop targeted, strategic, and creative health messages with the reality that public health communicators often work across diverse geographies and with extremely limited budgets is a critical challenge. This was the question on our minds two years ago, when together with the United Nations, we embarked on a first-of-its kind communications campaign to prevent child deaths caused by pneumonia, the number one infectious killer of children under the age of five worldwide. Our challenge was to develop a campaign that could influence both mothers and health workers across culturally diverse countries in Asia and Africa to adopt life-saving behaviors to prevent child deaths from pneumonia…”
  • 14. Communication and the polio endgame
    by Caroline Sugg
    “…This polio [eradication effort] story is one of science – of vaccine development, supply chains and lab tests. But it is also a story of communication. Where attention has been paid to ambitious and localised communication strategies in support of polio vaccination, great successes have been seen. But where the communication by those opposed to vaccination has been more compelling than that of the public health community, eradication efforts have at times been brought to their knees…”
  • 15. Focus on Disability: ‘Zika babies’ need support now
    by Hannah Kuper
    “…Media attention on the [Zika] epidemic has mainly focused on how to stop babies being born with microcephaly, whether by killing mosquitoes, finding a vaccine or easing abortion laws….But what are the implications for the thousands of babies born with microcephaly? This is barely considered within the WHO response: disability is mentioned just twice….Programmes should ideally target both the baby’s motor and cognitive skills, as these are intertwined and reinforce each other: interventions such as physiotherapy or playing games will stimulate the child’s overall development….The parents of these babies will also need emotional support, particularly as a lot of stigma and discrimination is reported around childhood disability in Brazil…”
  • 16. Can a Pilot Succeed?: Lessons Learned in Engaging Stakeholders for HPV Introduction
    by Lora Shimp and Heather Casciato
    “…In Madagascar, with funding from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and in partnership with the Malagasy government and its inter-agency partners, JSI provided technical support for the introduction of the HPV vaccine….As soon as the decision to introduce the HPV vaccine is made, an HPV pilot committee should identify and engage with a comprehensive list of people and groups who have access to and influence over the target population to garner their support, explain the rationale, and assist with addressing questions and any concerns….Here are seven key lessons learned from Madagascar’s experience that HPV pilot committees need to consider when engaging stakeholders…”
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

The Drum Beat seeks to cover the full range of communication for development activities. Inclusion of an item does not imply endorsement or support by The Partners.

Chair of the Partners Group: Garth Japhet, Founder, Soul City garth@heartlines.org.za

Executive Director: Warren Feek wfeek@comminit.com

The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.
Please send additional project, evaluation, strategic thinking, and materials information on communication for development at any time. Send to drumbeat@comminit.com

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