BBC Media Action
BBC Media Action is the BBC’s international development charity. They use the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights. Their aim is to inform, connect and empower people around the world.
They work in partnership with broadcasters, governments, non-governmental organisations and donors to share reliable, timely and useful information. They reach over 200 million people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe through their debate shows, dramas, radio and TV programmes, public service announcements, mobile phone services and face-to-face communication.
They also provide mentoring and training for journalists and development professionals. An extensive research and evaluation process underpins all that they do; it strengthens their work, helps them to evaluate impact and reach and increasingly contributes to the exchange of ideas in the policy sphere. Their overarching goal is to help people make sense of events, engage in dialogue and take action to improve their lives.
BBC Media Action’s communication projects are rooted in local people’s experiences and understanding. Their extensive research programme – called “world class” by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) – provides insight into the lives of their audiences to ensure that their projects reflect their needs and circumstances.
They use their data to monitor how effectively their programmes engage people and stimulate change; lessons learned are then built into future projects. To share their findings and learning as widely as possible, they publish policy and research reports and briefings to inform communication for development practitioners and policy-makers.
They believe in the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights. Their aim is to inform, connect and empower people around the world.
They work in partnership to provide access to useful, timely, reliable information. They help people make sense of events, engage in dialogue and take action to improve their lives.
How they work
Partnership is key to BBC Media Action’s approach to using media and communication for development.
Through their 17 country offices and a core team in the UK, they work closely with media houses, local and national broadcasters, non-governmental organisations, government ministries and broadcasters to ensure development efforts are linked up on the ground to bring lasting change.
They also draw on the expertise of other parts of the BBC, especially in their partnerships with the language services of the BBC World Service. The integrity, quality and professionalism of the wider BBC guides their way of working.
They produce hundreds of hours a year of TV, radio, online and mobile phone content, working where they can in partnership with other media organisations. The scope of their work is broader than media production. It includes:
- Capacity strengthening: this can take a number of forms, from hands-on training and intensive mentoring for radio journalists and station staff, to providing expert advice to non-media partners. This might, for example, be at the development policy level, or by researching and analysing how people use different types of media and information.
- Research and impact: their extensive research programme informs each stage of project delivery and helps them measure their impact and reach. They have more than 100 researchers, mostly from the countries they are based in and working in their local languages.
- Informing development policy: they share their expertise with development policy-makers, academics and practitioners by supporting and promoting the value of a free and pluralistic media and underlining the importance of communication in achieving development objectives. By working in partnership with academic institutes they share research findings and contribute to the exchange of new ideas and best practice about the role of media and communication in development.
Four levels of change
They believe that change happens at four levels:
- Systems: the political, social and economic institutions and relationships within society that influence how change happens and provide the context for their work. This includes the media, communications and regulatory environment.
- Organisations: commercial, community and public service media organisations, as well as state institutions, civil society organisations and other not-for-profit organisations.
- Practitioners: fellow media professionals, frontline health workers.
- People: all those who need and inform their work including their audiences and beneficiaries.
BBC Media Action works at all of these levels, tailoring their interventions and methodologies for each.