13,427 Empowering People through Research-Based Communication, The Drum Beat, 750, January 24- 2018

The Drum BeatEmpowering People through Research-Based Communication – The Drum Beat 750
January 24, 2018
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Strategic research and communication can enable people to protect their rights, improve their livelihoods, and empower them to enact positive change. Looking through this lens, today’s Drum Beat explores some of the research projects and outputs funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), one of The Communication Initiative (The CI)’s long-time supporters.
From The Communication Initiative Network – where communication and media are central to social and economic development.
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  • 1. Networks for Change and Well-Being: Girl-Led ‘from the Ground up’ Policy Making to Address Sexual Violence in Canada and South Africa
    Led by the University of KwaZulu-Natal and McGill University, this 6-year project was launched in January 2013 to provide evidence that will hopefully help transform the policy and programme landscape for girls’ safety and security in South Africa and Canada. In various locations across both countries, the research is examining how youth-led media influences community practitioners and policymakers in places with high rates of sexual violence, thereby aiming to shift the boundaries of knowledge production and inform policy change. The project’s methodology draws on approaches to learning such as digital storytelling, participatory video, cellphilms (films made with cell phones), drawing and mapping, community radio, and social media. It also builds on youth-led media making, community-based research, participatory action research, research as a form of intervention, and research as a way to generate social change.
  • 2. This Isn’t the Life for You: Masculinities and Nonviolence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    by Alice Taylor et al.
    This report describes how many men and their partners and family members living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, build nonviolent alternatives, resisting daily those systems, groups, and practices that promote violence within the city. Sharing the results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) with a focus on urban violence, it was prepared by Promundo for Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC), an initiative of IDRC and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). The research examines the relationship of violence to gender norms in Rio and focuses on the interplay between urban violence and family and intimate partner violence. It was found that, by group, men can identify key factors associated with promoting nonviolence in their lives, such as fatherhood. [Apr 2016]
  • 3. Sexual Violence and Impunity (SVI)
    This project investigates why the issue of sexual violence remains taboo in South Asian discussions of nations and people caught in political conflict. Zubaan, a feminist publishing house based in New Delhi, India, is bringing together the collective knowledge of South Asian academics, researchers, and activists on the subjects of sexual violence and impunity (SVI), with the aim of building a community of young and committed researchers who will bring new insights to bear on their work. The researchers have helped to build the case for new legal and medical responses to sexual violence, while empowering victims to speak out.
  • 4. Using Technology to Document Violations: Enabling Sex-worker Communities to Document Violence Against Them in India and Cambodia
    Carried out by the Tactical Technology Collective (Tactical Tech), this project was based on the assumption that enabling sex workers in India and Cambodia to document violations and amplify their advocacy messages via new technology may provide a fuller picture of the levels, types, geographical locations, and perpetrators of violence, abuse, and discrimination against sex workers. Working with two sex worker collectives/advocacy groups – the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) in India and the Women’s Network for Unity (WNU) in Cambodia – researchers undertook action research with the goal of empowering sex workers through an ‘Atlas of Sex Work’ using data collected by WNU and DMSC themselves. By providing an opportunity to showcase ideas for creative aggregations of information about the lives of sex workers and the conditions of mistreatment they face, the concept has proved useful for further developing ideas and inspiring advocacy messages.

  • 5. Social Media and Citizen Inclusion: Towards a New Model of Political Legitimacy?
    In Chile, civil society is using new digital technologies to transform political participation. The hope is that, for the benefit new social movements in Latin American, the Chilean case may help to frame a broader discussion around democratic participation and political representation. As part of this project, Fundación Democracia y Desarrollo (FDD) conducted research to document how technology-enabled networks are transforming the ways in which political legitimacy and accountability are arrived at and understood. The research was also designed to lead to the development of a model for citizen participation based on lessons learned. Results were disseminated through publications, media, and meetings with academic, policy, and civil society stakeholders.
  • 6. Coding Rights
    A female collective of Latin American coders who joined forces in 2015 to create Coding Rights, a “think and do tank” in Brazil, is working to create a more welcoming Web by addressing fundamental human rights challenges and imbalances of power online. For example, the Chupadados platform gathers stories of mass surveillance of people’s everyday lives. Coding Rights uses the platform to address issues such as data extractivism in fertility and dating apps; the use of espionage balloons or other devices to monitor cities; and personalised control of transport cards, among others.
  • 7. Unpacking the Disruptive Potential of Blockchain Technology for Human Development
    by Raúl Zambrano
    This white paper explores the potential that blockchains, one of the underlying core technologies supporting Bitcoin, could have in fostering human development in developing countries. In addition to illustrating the range of applications in development areas and sectors from a public/private goods perspective and examining the relevance of blockchain technology (BCT) in developing countries, the paper offers a series of recommendations for additional research and potential development programming using BCT, whose key attributes include: privacy; pseudo-anonymity; integrity; distributed trust, governance; transparency; security; sustainability; and open source. [Aug 2017]
  • 8. Una Hakika Project
    Una Hakika (which means “Are you sure?” in Swahili) is a mobile-phone-based information service that helps to address false rumours contributing to intercommunal conflict in Kenya. The service enables local people to report rumours anonymously by SMS (text message), through a phone call, using social media, by signing up to the Una Hakika website, or by contacting a trained community ambassador. Rumour reports are investigated and verified before feedback is given to the community about whether the rumour is true or false. The goal is to prevent violence arising out of false rumours but also, in the long term, to encourage positive changes in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards rumours, engendering a more critical mindset that questions information before believing or acting upon it.
  • 9. Tech Age Girls (TAG)
    This IREX programme provides young women with specialised leadership and information technology (IT) training, mentors, and hands-on opportunities to become positive agents of change in their communities. Technology is not taught for the sake of technology, but, rather, used as a tool for empowering girls, building their self-esteem, giving them confidence, and building connections through alumni networking. Implemented in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Myanmar, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, TAG addresses the systemic underrepresentation of women in the IT field and promotes the online presence of girls’ voices in local languages.
  • 10. Open Government Partnership (OGP)
    OGP is an international platform that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Over 70 OGP participating countries have promised to uphold the value of openness in their engagement with citizens to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation, and create safer communities. They embrace principles of transparency and open government with a view toward achieving greater prosperity, well-being, and human dignity in their own countries and in an increasingly interconnected world.

Please consider attending the 2018 International Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) Summit (featuring Entertainment-Education) – April 16 to 20 2018, Nusa Dua, Indonesia.

Registration is now open for anyone with an interest in learning about and furthering the science and art of SBCC. Click here for more information.


  • 11. Open Data and Transparent Value Chains in Agriculture: A Review of the Literature
    by Beza Hailu and François van Schalkwyk
    Carried out as part of the project Harnessing Open Data to Achieve Development Results in Asia and Africa, this report provides real-world examples of how ICT is being used to make agricultural value chains transparent, highlighting initiatives that rely on or make use of open data as a tool for greater transparency. The report provides a general snapshot of current (and past) initiatives in the agricultural sector that seek to promote value chain transparency in Africa. The projects broadly cover the three areas of intervention – production, finance, and marketing – where information asymmetry is pervasive. [Oct 2016]
  • 12. Scaling-up Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Sri Lanka
    A two-year project identified challenges to the sustainable management of aquaculture in Sri Lanka, including poor knowledge mobilisation and low connectivity, particularly for smallholder farmers. Pilot interventions tested the effectiveness of SMS to disseminate information to farmers and others in the aquaculture industry. Building on this project, researchers from Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (WUSL) and the British Columbia Aquatic Food Resources Society tested three ways of scaling up smallholder aquaculture development in the northwestern, northern, and eastern provinces. The ICT-based project sought to reach about 2,000 smallholder aquaculture farmers involved in shrimp and oyster cultivation, as well as fish farmers, particularly women, who play a large role in the industry. The goal was to increase production and income for these farmers by 75%.
  • 13. Bashaier: Egypt’s Agrifood Network
    In Egypt, the Knowledge Economy Foundation (KEF) is using ICTs to share market information in order to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through interactive communication and knowledge-sharing tools. The Bashaier project team designed and test a Web- and mobile-based platform with specialised interfaces adapted to the needs of fruit and vegetable farmers, traders, and sellers in the Beheira and Minia governorates. This platform is designed to facilitate the flow of market and technical information to and from farmers, traders, government experts, food wholesalers, and sellers.
  • 14. Nepal Terrace Farmers and Sustainable Agriculture Kits (SAKs)
    This research-based initiative aims to improve the livelihoods of farmers working on the hillsides and terraced plots of land in central Nepal. Inherent in the selection of SAK tools and practices is that each technology should not only be inexpensive to purchase or rent (“Community SAK” machinery) but should be based on farmer-defined needs. To that end, the SAK philosophy is to build kits from the bottom-up using participatory approaches that start with months of intensive surveying, employing local agronomists and local marketing and distribution experts. For instance, LI-Bird is using participatory approaches to determine if SAK interventions would be adopted or should be modified, focusing on women farmers.

  • 15. Communication for Policy Research South (CPRsouth)
    This programme has been fostering the emergence of policy leaders by developing the technical capacity of young and mid-level scholars to engage in public interest research to inform policy. CPRsouth aims to build a network of researchers that can influence information and communication technology (ICT) policy in their respective countries. Supporting LIRNEasia, Research ICT Africa (RIA), and DIRSI (the Spanish acronym for Regional Dialogue on the Information Society), the CPRsouth programme follows a common research methodology (peering and mentoring) and evaluation framework (tracking young scholar development). The programme also strengthens collaboration, knowledge sharing, and the cross-fertilisation of ideas between the three initiatives.
  • 16. The CARIAA Research-into-Use Learning Guide
    by Blane Harvey and Marissa Van Epp
    This learning guide, commissioned by the Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA), is designed to provide research teams with a bottom-up and experience-based tool to better understand the effectiveness – and inefficiencies – of different approaches to Research-into-Use (RiU), the uptake of research which contributes to a change in policy or practice. The learning approach can also help to facilitate adaptive and reflexive approaches to RiU. Although this guide was developed for CARIAA, it has been designed so that any research programme interested in improving its RiU practices can use it. [Jun 2017]

ENQUIRY: Your priorities, opportunities and challenges!
What kinds of challenges and opportunities infuse your communication and media development, social and behavioural change work? This survey is a chance for you to let us know! In 2018, we will report back on results and trends so you can gain insights from your peers in the network.
Click here to lend your voice.
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:
ANDIBBC Media ActionBernard van Leer FoundationBreakthroughCiturna TVFundación ImaginarioFundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI)Heartlines,Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication ProgramsMaternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)MISAOpen Society FoundationsOxfam NovibPAHOThe Panos InstitutePuntos de EncuentroSAfAIDSSesame WorkshopSoul CitySTEPS InternationalUNAIDSUNICEFUniversidad de los Andes,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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