Should Social Activism be considered ‘sexy’?

Should Social Activism be considered ‘sexy’?

 

It’s Valentine’s day. And conveniently I have stumbled across Global Citizen’s Valentine’s-themed social activism campaign video promoting their aims and values, delivered by several guys, one topless, naturally, along with their boyfriend material-ness and sex appeal. Combined with celebrities campaigning for humanitarian affairs, is this how social activism and humanitarianism are now being promoted? Arguably so.

Far Too Silly, Far Less Serious

The minute-long video is clearly of a light-hearted nature, containing sexual innuendos, muscle-flexing (below), provocative angles and semi-nudity. That said, one may question its target audience and overall intentions.

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Muscle-flexing within Global Citizen’s campaign video | Source: Global Citizen

One of several men states: “Hey girl…There’s nothing sexier than being socially conscious.” The director of this campaign video has arguably made the conscious decision to use muscular, attractive young men in order to advocate for humanitarian affairs and, in this way, overtly seduces the audience into engaging with such issues. Granted, it’s short, it’s sweet, it’s even somewhat amusing, but while a light-hearted innuendo is harmless, one cannot help thinking that this approach is perhaps mocking and sensationalising the more serious matters which are at hand (Chouliarki, 2006 in Cottle, 2009).

“Hey girl… There’s nothing sexier than being socially conscious.”

Development Made Sexy: Aid Campaigns Revised

Development made sexy is arguably a post-modern, post-humanitarian strategy for contemporary humanitarian appeals and campaigns, and re-branding plays a pivotal part.

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Topless actor in Global Citizen’s campaign video | Source: Global Citizen

According to Hanstraa and Cameron (2008), this revised strategy utilises sarcasm and ironic humour, which this video does also, diverting away from previous methods of ‘Poverty Pornography’ and ‘Africa-pessimism’, whereby aid campaigns traditionally used close-up images of starving children (Scott, 2014), or reported on global crises in order to raise awareness about poverty and social injustice within the global South. Thus, there is a shift from exposing or mediating the suffering of distant others, (which has notably evoked several reactions from spectators, including de-sensitisation and indifference, or pity, guilt and moral obligation to suffering, known as ‘compassion fatigue’), to a far more satirical approach (Moeller 1992: 2; Chouliarki, 2006 in Cottle, 2009). Watch how satire has been used in these parody aid campaigns.

Indeed, Development Made Sexy is a considerably creative alternative for raising awareness of humanitarian crises, from food poverty to HIV/AIDS, women’s rights to climate action. It encourages more people to be socially and politically engaged in global affairs, particularly Northern publics who may not have previously been as aware of global crises (Brockington, 2014). Furthermore, the consciousness and self-awareness of re-branding development as ‘sexy’ thereby refers less pessimistically to Africa through ceasing to mediate its suffering, which may reduce ‘compassion fatigue’ among audiences and actually encourage advocacy, through donations and raising further awareness.

However, one can contest this revised approach. As Cameron and Hanstraa (2008) highlight: are the wider, more complex issues at hand, namely the social, economic, contextual and historical factors, which maintain social inequality and injustice, being oversimplified? This approach is therefore effective, but to a considerable extent.

Celebrity Humanitarianism

In recent decades, celebrities have more frequently partnered with NGOs, appearing in their aid campaigns since their popularity and familiarity attracts wider attention. Their intervention often raises NGO profiles, particularly lesser-known ones which otherwise have less presence (Brockington, 2014). Yet, their authenticity and contributions are questionable.

It is highly debated that celebrities have their own selfish agenda: to promote their brand within the public sphere by appearing philanthropic and humanitarian. As Brockington suggests, celebrities may not necessarily have strong relations with the NGO or cause they are campaigning for, which further doubts how well-informed they are to be the face of an aid campaign when informing publics on such matters. Thus, their popularity may simply be undermining the seriousness of such matters (Chouliaraki, 2012).

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                                               Jolie at UNHCR Press Conference | Source: Alex Wong, Getty Images

Actress and Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR, Angelia Jolie, is an example of how sex appeal potentially overshadows contributions to humanitarian work. In evidence, Repo and Yjrola’s journal article (2011) notes that the New York Times described Jolie at a UNHCR press conference (left) as:

Ms. Jolie… her sexy, streaky hair pinned up in a compassionate bun. Black was the colour of her pearls, eyeliner, sleeveless silk dress… ”

 

Repo, Yjrola and other academics illustrate this awareness of sexualising development, realising the overall limitations and concerns with celebrities, such as Jolie, intervening in humanitarian work, as such involvement is debatably hyper-sexualised and superficial, thereby lacking enough knowledge and sincere concern in effectively contributing towards improving conditions in humanitarian crises. Which brings us to our key questions:

  • Are celebrities, as ‘humanitarian actors’, doing more harm than good? Are they simply performative, lacking ‘real’ knowledge, and capitalising on the suffering of distant others? And as an audience, are we more interested in their campaign, or their image?

  • What are the impacts of gendered stereotypes and sexuality in the development made sexy approach, particularly within this video?

  • Overall, is ‘development made sexy’ a more effective method for aid campaigns than more traditional methods such as ‘poverty pornography’, and in addressing structural factors, too?

Perhaps, Global Citizen, your revised campaigns could have a more long-lasting effect than a minute – or a day.

Bibliography:

Brockington, D. (2014) Celebrity advocacy and international development (rethinking development). London, United Kingdom: Routledge. Pg 2.
Cameron, J, and Haanstra, A. (2008), ‘Development Made Sexy: how it happened and what it means’, Third World Quarterly, 29, 8, pp. 1475-1489, Business Source Complete, EBSCO host, viewed 14 February 2017.
Cottle, S. (2009) Global crisis reporting: Journalism in the global age. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Chapter 7.
Chouliaraki, L., 2012. “The Theatricality of Humanitarianism A Critique of Celebrity Advocacy.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 9 (1), 1—21.
Scott, M.  (2014) Media and development. London: Zed books. Chapter 5.
Repo, J. and Yjrola, R., (2011). ‘The Gender Politics of Celebrity Humanitarianism in Africa’ International Feminist Journal of Politics, 13:1 March 2011, 44–62 ISSN 1461-6742 print/ISSN 1468-4470. Online. Taylor & Francis http://www.informaworld.com DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2011.534661
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Refugee Week Conference 2017 + Social Media Tips and Insights

Refugee Week Conference 2017 + Social Media Tips and Insights

Friday 17th February marked an invigorating event for an even bigger, empowering occasion still yet to come. It was the conference for the annual Refugee Week, held in none another than the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre in London. The day held talks and discussions for what else is in store for Refugee Week 2017, which is taking place between 19th-25th June – dates to be added to the diary.

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People from various organisations uniting to make Refugee Week 2017 a success

Starting in 2009, and falling as close to Refugee Day (June 20th) as possible, Refugee Week celebrates the array of wonderful and deeply meaningful contributions of refugees in the UK, and many other countries, as well as to spread the message that refugees are welcome and valued here.

It was extremely rewarding to be in the presence of a like-minded, determined group of people who are eager to make Refugee Week 2017 a HUGE success. The first to welcome us to the conference was Morice Wren, Chairman of the Refugee Council, who shared with us an insight into the impact that we are making on the lives of not only refugees, but communities as a whole. In his opening speech, he stated: “Today is about solidarity… about building momentum for our movement for change.”

“Today is about solidarity… about building momentum for our movement for change.”

Notwithstanding, the week will no doubt be a challenge, particularly regarding the current geo-political climate in which we live, including the hardening of Brexit policies, Theresa May’s premature announcement of the termination of the Dubs scheme, and a newly appointed American president of elect who is determined to put in place harsher immigration measures, which could be detrimental to the safety of many lives. Indeed, as Wren put it simply and realistically, “It’s [a] difficult time for us all – but I think one of great opportunity too.” The optimistic atmosphere was by far welcomed within the hall, as the walls of the Amnesty International building itself seemed to bounce off positive vibes and reiterate the mindset of creating change and saving lives. Representative of the UNHCR, Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, highlighted: “It is about changing hearts and minds.”

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UNHCR representative, Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, delivering a presentation about his high hopes for Refugee Week 2017

Food, films and flash mobs

Ideas were shared and discussed on the types of events that people are planning, from food and film nights with refugees within their community to flash mobs. Why not both?

The structure of the conference did somewhat differ from last year. Whereby there were more workshops for ticket holders to attend, this year’s conference saw people participating within the same shared space and forming groups in order to share ideas and expertise. For example, one exercise beckoned the brainstorming of different ways in which to engage new audiences, with a film night being a popular suggestion by most, as well as art and dance classes to be able to welcome anyone and everyone from communities to alleviate stigma around refugees within communities.

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A flurry of ideas on engaging new audiences with a ‘flashmob’ as top of the list

Art resources

“My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All The Boys To The Yard”. This slogan was printed on one of many punny balloons from the wonderful artist, Richard DeDomenici, whose project ‘Free Balloons’ has truly lifted off the ground to raise awareness of refugees as human beings, bringing smiles to the faces of even the most apprehensive in a fun and non-threatening fashion. As a warm up activity, suggestions were put forth to create more slogans that could be printed onto balloons, with the winning one being: “We’re here because you’re there” – although “Mary Poppins was a refugee” came a close second.

Do check out his work, and if you happen to come up with a punny line yourself, don’t hold back!

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Balloon printed by artist Richard DeDomenici

Other art forms included song compositions, which had the audience participating in collectively singing a children’s song, which resonates with the theme ‘Our Shared Future’, as well as a drama performance by a multi-cultured drama group and snippets of films made by film makers.

In partnership with Refugee Week is Counterpoints Arts, who collaborate with ‘artists, arts, cultural and educational organizations and civil society activists working with refugees and migrants’. And they’re mission is to ‘support, produce and promote the arts by and about migrants and refugees – through a range of programmes.’ Around April resources will become available, or you can contact them in order to use their resources during your Refugee Week 2017 events – I certainly want to plan to use their film offers for screenings at my university during the week. Keep checking on their website for updates.

“Mary Poppins was a refugee”


Social Media Tips and Insights

For me in particular, the most interesting and useful part of the conference was listening to the suggestions put forth by media consultants, Marienna Pope-Weidemann and Jenny Lowthrop, on how to create efficient and effective media strategies.

They shared with us some of their golden rules on utilising social media before and during Refugee Week, which include:

  1. Be prepared well in advance – create a well-planned media strategy in advance. If you want to have your event to have lots of publicity, it is recommended to start promoting it as early as possible.
  2. Quick and easy – you want audiences to be able to understand your event or story in as little words and time.
  3. Clear and touching – provide a clear yet gripping hook for your event or story. For example, when working with refugees, make the story heard by using effective and eye-opening language to communicate their story in a compelling manner.
  4. Target your audience – in order to be able to reach the appropriate people – or rather as many people as possible – do some research into the best ways in which your message will be noticed by a vast array of people. Think about the pages they will be following or groups they are a part of for example.
  5. Make it personal – explain your story. What makes Refugee Week important to you, and why have you organised your particular event? Remember to speak from the heart.

Their Strategy

  • Promoting understanding
  • Positive encounters (with refugees)
  • Creative communication

Your Strategy

  • What? – what type of activity are you carrying out? Event promotion? Panel discussion? Documenting people’s stories?
  • Where? – where will your event/activity be taking place?
  • When? – when will your event/activity be taking place? Remember to give as much notice as possible, and build it up by promoting it on social media. Think about submission deadlines, too.
  • Why? – why the audience should care.
  • Who? who is involved?

Refugee Week Online Campaign @refugeeweek #OurSharedFuture

7 Easy Steps to be part of your social media story

  1. Add the hashtag #OurSharedFuture in Twitter or Instagram, or any other social media sites which use hashtags.
  2. Interacting with Our Shared Future and Refugee Week through your social media accounts.
  3. What does #OurSharedFuture mean to you? You will be able to access a Google document which allows you to write what it means to you. You have the freedom and platform to write either an extended piece, paragraph, sentence or even just a one-word answer.
  4. Add their twibbon to your social media account
  5. Share their case studies
  6. Share each other’s events and build valuable links on social media by following #OurSharedFuture
  7. Use their graphics to promote your events – you can even personalise the graphics online to make it more fitting to your event.

Social Media Tips to help you reach more audience: The Ladder of Engagement

– Like a post

– Share a post

– Join in a conversation

– Actively seek out your news

– Respond to call outs/requests e.g. donations

– Advocate: Use your knowledge and passion to inform your social media groups and networks about your events and the cause

Here comes the most eye-opening things to put to consideration when creating your media strategies.

Social Insights

  • Mobile: – At least 50% of audiences are on their mobile. Be it on the bus, at work, or when watching TV. It is vital in this current climate to be mobile size-friendly, which means using subtitles if you create promo videos, or ensuring that the images you use will still look good even on the small screen.
  • Out of hours: – Evenings and weekends are key times on social media. Use sites such as HootSuite which helps you manage your social media marketing. It identifies the key times when your audience will be online and active to see what you post, and you can schedule when exactly you want your posts to be uploaded – even outside of normal working hours. I had a play around the site myself and would highly recommend creating an account in which to monitor and manage your social media account or page.
  • Multi-platform and visual: – Create visual and creative content. Again, you will soon be able to gain access to their resources, such as infographics and other graphics which you can use and share for your own events. But the point here is to be as innovative and eye-opening as possible.
  • Frequency: – Post as often as you can, create and share relevant content. On Twitter, it is acceptable to repost the same thing, particularly with the issue of out of hours, for your audiences to view new information at any time of the day. And it doesn’t hurt if your audience sees it more than once – it helps to ingrain the information into their brain!
  • Network: – follow and share like-minded organisations to reciprocate the support for #OurSharedFuture. And also, your networks will know other networks, which can create an expansive web to be able to enable your event to have a wide coverage.
  • Twitter: – go crazy with hashtags. They recommend using at least 30 in order to broadcast your message further.
  • FaceBook: – it costs as little as £5 to boost your post, or have it targeted to a particular audience.
  • Like and comment on relevant postsas the page you manage. Time and time again have I shared posts on my own personal account when I had intended on doing so for the page I manage, which delays the message getting out in an appropriate way.

Please remember to be cautious about who and what you are releasing into the internet ethos. Ensure that whoever you are writing about has given you their permission for it to be shared. For example, if writing about a refugee’s story, there may be some personal or sensitive information that they would rather not have broadcasted, in which case, please remember to be ethical at all times.


Evidently, I took a lot from the conference this year, and having not visited the Amnesty International headquarters before it invigorated further to play my part in the cause for celebrating the wonderful contributions of migrants and refugees. I am more than eager to possibly have some more awareness raised within my own university, by partnering with Counterpoints Arts and other organisations of whom I spoke to during the day.

Please do let me know what you’re planning to do during Refugee Week 2017, and how I can get involved!

Save the all important dates in your diaries: 19th – 25th June

Today, we commence in celebrating their contributions through #OneDayWithoutUs.

Show your support for migrants who contribute vastly within our communities in any way that you can. Some will be holding hands at 1pm to show solidarity; others will be walking out of their workplace for an hour (or even the whole day!) and equally some will simply be wearing a badge. Anything is welcome, but please do be active in whatever you do, and share what you get up to!

Should Social Activism be seen as ‘sexy’? Draft

Should Social Activism be seen as ‘sexy’? Draft

Watch this video made by Global Citizen, and tell me what you think.

It’s Valentine’s day. And among the online advertisements for anti-Valentine events that appear to be somewhat fashionable this year what I have stumbled across without warning – and reluctantly, might I add – is this Valentine’s-themed campaign promoting Global Citizen’s core values and messages. Some to tick off the list include alleviating extreme poverty; human rights and sustainable living. Oh, and a handful of topless guys – and one single woman, naturally (which brings out a whole other gender discourse) – expressing their boyfriend material-ness, and general sex appeal. Is this what humanitarian appeals and global citizenship have now come to represent? I fear so.

“Hey girl. I stand up for human rights, but I’ll lay down with you anywhere…”

Development made sexy is arguably a postmodern, post-humanitarian, highly complex approach for humanitarian appeals and campaigning promoted by NGOs in the attempt to fundraise and raise awareness of certain humanitarian issues and causes from poverty to HIV/AIDS, women’s rights to water security and sustainable living.

Indeed, this method is an extremely effective and creative alternative to raising awareness of such issues when comparing it to the previous method of ‘Poverty Pornography’, which exploits the ideas of Africa-pessimism, for example using close-up images of starving children, with flies swarming around their eyes, or highlighting their pot-bellies, which are a casual result of malnutrition (Cameron and Haanstra, 2008; Scott, 2014). There is a shift from previously exploiting the vulnerable and distant others of the ‘Global South’, which has been known for generating ‘compassion fatigue’ (Scott, 2014) among Northern publics, whereby the routinisation of images and stereotypes causes a sense of de-sensitisation to such suffering, to a more optimistic, forward approach of using positive assets and even humour to promote development issues.

There is a however.

This progressive shift can also be critiqued. As Cameron and Haanstra (2008) questions, does this approach truly consider the structural factors which create and maintain such social inequality and injustice? By making development somewhat more “attractive” are we not just naively simplifying the wider, more complex issues at hand, such as the social, economic, historical contentions? In addition, are we not using the notion of exploitation, just through a different lens?

If we take the discourse of celebrity humanitarianism, it can be argued that celebrities simply have their own agenda to promote their individual brand within the public sphere and do not appear to have the necessary connection or relations with the NGO and the cause, which not only lacks in authenticity and integrity, but one may also openly critique how ignorant and ill-informed the celebrity is to be the face of a campaign for an humanitarian crises (Chouliaraki, 2012). And by being the face of the campaign, are we not simply being allured by the celebrity because of their fame and popularity as opposed to the cause they – allegedly – appear to be representing.

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Source: Stephanie Westbrook | Reactions to Johannson leaving Oxfam after being ambassador for eight years

Look to the Stars in an interesting site, which lists the celebrities partnered with charities. Taking Scarlett Johansson as a prime example, it indicates that she has worked with charities such as Oxfam, having been an ambassador for eight years, and been involved in events such as Make Poverty History. The phenomenally edited photograph (above) thereby illustrates the qualms with celebrities intervening in humanitarian work, and the overall limitations of making development sexy.

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Screenshot of the Global Citizen Social Activism video with a topless actor

One of the lines within the video include: “Hey girl. I stand up for human rights…but I’ll lay down with you anywhere…” along with: “You know what they say about guys with small eco-prints…big hearts.” I mean, aren’t they just the most cheesy, development-themed chat up lines you’ll ever hear?

Which brings us to our key question: What is the best approach to representing the authenticity of NGOs and actors of agency without appearing too patronising, ill-informed, or capitalising on the suffering of distant others? 

This may appeal to all the single gals and guys looking for a date this Valentine’s – and if you do succeed, congratulations. But this type of method is perhaps too short term, too concerned with aesthetic, and simply not lacking in enough depth to tackle the more complex matters at large. That being said, it can be argued that celebrities do also bring to light global, humanitarian issues which can, albeit to some degree, encourage political and social engagement (Brockington, 2014:2), which NGOs – particularly smaller, lesser-known NGOs –  may not have the capacity or ability to do so alone. Perhaps, Global Citizen, you should look to create more simple advertisements like this, but with more long-term effects.

Bibliography:

Brockington, D. (2014) Celebrity advocacy and international development (rethinking development). London, United Kingdom: Routledge. Pg 2.

Cameron, J, & Haanstra, A. (2008), ‘Development Made Sexy: how it happened and what it means’, Third World Quarterly, 29, 8, pp. 1475-1489, Business Source Complete, EBSCO host, viewed 14 February 2017.

Chouliaraki, L., 2012. “The Theatricality of Humanitarianism A Critique of Celebrity Advocacy.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 9 (1), 1—21.

Scott, M.  (2014) Media and development. Chapter 5. London: Zed books.

Radio for all: How radio is the medium of choice in development

Radio for all: How radio is the medium of choice in development

In the postmodern, globalised world in which we live, whereby technology is forever advancing before our very fingertips, I for one would have suggested that social media be the go-to platform for individuals to access information and communicate amongst one another above all else. Practically every media literate person has a Facebook profile or social media account of some sort, right? Not within the development context, however. Despite the many social and economic benefits that social media can offer, it proves to be that radio is by far the most used media within developing countries, and for obvious reasons, too.

On 10 February 2017 I attended the World Radio Day London event at SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies) University, which proved to be a huge success. Various community stations, local organisations and international media groups within the radio and communication technologies field travelled from all over the country to attend the event to give visitors an insight into the work they do and projects that are at hand. And the common theme linking them all together: their determination to bring radio and communication technologies into the developing world.

I spoke to numerous organisations exhibiting on the day, some of which included HCR, Radioactive and Refugee Radio, many of which aim to increase the awareness of health and social services (within disaster zones); encourage community participation or simply tell the stories of the more marginalised and underrepresented or even misrepresented groups within our communities. I also participated within a short radio production workshop led by a talented individual from RadioActive, who also delivered a short presentation expressing the advantages of radio and emphasising how simply ‘anyone with a voice can take part’, which was further reiterated within the panel discussion at the latter end of the day. This has become a sort of mantra for me –  this message of how simple and effective radio within development is, particularly since the majority of households within developing countries possess a radio in comparison to a television or any other technology. So without further ado I shall elaborate on this concept.

“Anyone with a voice can take part.”

It’s fast, far-reaching and fairly cheap

The representative of RadioActive could not have been more clear on the fact that radio can be easily set up without much effort – or money. The simplest of radio stations can be manifested with a budget of no more than £1000, sometimes less. And all that is necessarily required is a microphone, mixer, cables, laptop/tablet and satellite. Radio can also reach far distances, sometimes as far as 50km – and that’s just from an immobile radio station; mobile radio stations can reach further areas when moving throughout towns and cities with speakers at the back of a motorbike.

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                                                                                                 Source: RadioActive | Radio Flambeau in Cameroon

A short video showed to us of a couple of nine-year-old girls presenting schoolwork over the airwaves illustrates the truth behind the fact that ‘anyone with a voice’ can participate. And being able to disseminate segments of education through radio helps to educate children who are unable to attend school due to a lack of funds; the distance required to travel to distant institutions; commitments within the house or at work, which highlights another key benefit of radio within developing countries. Radio can also help to raise awareness for other health and social causes, too.

Radio can cure the blind…

The front of a HCR leaflet tells the tale of a young woman whose eyesight was extremely poor, to the point of being blind. Yet, by hearing that not far from where she lives was a specialised eye clinic, her poor eyesight was soon after treated and vastly improved. This information was disseminated on none other than the airwaves of HCR. There are many stories like this which have documented lives having changed for the better because of the use of radio.

HCR also work within disaster-prone areas, with the aim to set up mobile radio stations within 72 hours of a disaster, be it an earthquake in Indonesia or typhoon in the Philippines. This enables information about local rescue centres or aid to be circulated with efficiency in order to help those in danger reach safety. This is evidently an effective method of communication within humanitarian crises, which also includes the raising awareness of such issues including Ebola and HIV/AIDS.

…and raise awareness of Ebola

As touched upon, radio is an effective medium for raising awareness of humanitarian crises, one of which includes the raising of awareness of the Ebola epidemic outbreak at the start of 2015. Within the panel discussion, Carlos Chirinos, director of Music and Social Change at New York University and former lecturer at SOAS, University of London, delivered a presentation of a study he worked on having created a song to raise awareness of Ebola in West Africa, and other surrounding countries as the epidemic spread. Within a survey conducted, it revealed that through playing the song, which included thematic lyrics on the topics of washing hands and avoiding touching infected people, on the radio, percentages increased of the populations becoming more aware of Ebola, and how to prevent the spread of it. Overall it displayed positive empirical evidence of the way in which radio was the most used source of media within such developing countries, and that it helped to some degree to raise awareness of a humanitarian crises.

Indeed, we cannot simply take this at face value, as not everyone who claims to have a radio will tune in to the particular channel, and some households simply do not own a radio of any sort at all, and in this way the study cannot be representative of all. There is also the issue of media literacy, in that without educating people on how to use such technologies, they cannot possibly have messages of aid and awareness campaigns delivered to them. It cannot be assumed that all individuals are naturally aware of how to use or set up radios. In this way, perhaps further and more recent study needs to be conducted into the fundamental concept of media literacy within developing countries. However, media literacy can be increased, and I shall explore how:

Community participation

Above all else, radio can be used for entertainment. Indeed, the way in which Chirinos fell into development radio was through attempting to have his music played on air. With radio comes the possibility of having communities come together to create productions and present shows on the radio, which bestows many benefits. For example, it can be used as a peace-building tool for allowing persons of different tribes to communicate with one another amicably – and creatively – to resolve feuds and straighten out any such misinformation or lack of understanding. It also sees individuals teaching one another. Often, organisations such as HCR or RadioActive will visit a developing state to set up a radio station and teach the respected, authoritative persons on how to use the equipment and produce radio shows. In turn, they will then be trusted to teach other members within their community, which creates a rather august snowball effect of sharing knowledge with one another.

Furthermore, radio is empowering. It not only allows for the otherwise unheard voices to be heard, but it also equips people with technical skills to be able to run their own radio shows. In some cases, for example women-only radio stations (as illustrated in the above image) it can create jobs, which demonstrates the many windows of opportunities perpetuated by radio.

In this way, radio is seen to be a saving grace for some, as well as offering a window of opportunity for most. Given that most households will own a radio, it becomes quite obvious now that this is still the most relevant use of media with the development context due to its ability to disseminate information quickly, easily and in a participatory manner. Of course, there are issues of media literacy, and some households not owning a radio, but on the whole, radio is deemed the most appropriate mode of communication within developing countries above all other types of technology.

As an aside note I would also encourage you to check out the new and innovative site, Radio Garden, which is a creative and technologically-advanced way of exploring live radio across the globe as well as finding out about radio histories around the world.

So I conclude that radio continues to live on.