Is it our role to advocate for change, communicate needs on the ground, promote intellectual debate and ensure education and awareness of different communites of the challenges faced by others?
Fortunately there are trail blazers out there testing new media to and its effectiveness for the rest of us. Podcasts that can be accessed on i-tunes, or downloaded from websites, dramatically further communication and information sharing.
MSF has demonstrated three prominent approaches. MSF Voice podcasts in the build up to the XVI Aids Conference in August 2006 along with daily discussions on key topics and demonstration of how MSF drives advocacy at such conferences. Regular advocacy and discussion of field activities and focus of programmes in different countries. Finally, MSF Frontline is a monthly podcast enabling individuals to catch up with MSF operations. programmes, facts, figures and personal testaments. MSF Voice and MSF Frontline are seamlessly integrated into the web site for ease of access.
Christian Aid after using podcasts for internal reporting opened their podcasts up to the public, as reported by humanitarian.info and Full Circle. Some examples include fascinating mini series on different campaigns, such as the Beat goes on a march against the policies of IMF, WB and the North in controlling the South and a demand for friendly and inclusive policies. Daily podcasts for a field visit to Haiti truly set a standard for everyone to match! It reflects the naevity of foreigners, gives a detailed awareness of challenges faced in the country and yet the character of people and their cultural legacy comes through. Finally like MSF, Christian Aid uses this medium to present interviews, debate and discussion on critical issues.
In a former piece I argued that podcasts should be taken into the office, Christian Aid and MSF have illustrated that staff with basic training can use podcasting instead of paper reports, perfect for disseminating information in an accessible form to staff, they also provide the perfect advocacy platform. Advocacy organisations take note!
Internal communication, information sharing and advocacy are critical elements of management in all humanitarian and development work. MSF and Christian Aid provide different exceptional examples of how podcasts can be applied in both settings… the race is on!
03/12/06 Editors note:
The UN also started a twice daily news podcast in November (sorry can’t find any show link), and but worry yee not this phenomena is catching on, UNESCO has put out bids for video podcast proposals!