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Added Value of Social Media?

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Added Value of Social Media?

Monday, Jul 21
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3 years 5 weeks ago

To: The Health Communication Network within The Communication Initiative Network

What Value Does Social Media Add to Governance Programmes?

There is a growing level of debate about the effectiveness of social-media-based strategies for advancing progress on the major development issues. I want to cross-fertilise some knowledge from democracy and governance to health and check the conclusions related to your work on health in your context.

This London School of Economics (LSE) paper examines the value that social media brings to governance programming aimed at influencing engagement and civic participation. It focuses on the Palestinian Territories and Bangladesh. Amongst the findings:

...social media ... seems more effective when combined with other media

... traditional media is still the dominant form in the two countries... for example - "only 4% of Bangladeshis had visited social media sites and only 1% had undertaken an online civic participation activity."

Do these conclusions hold true in your context as the basis for the use of social media to address your health and development priorities?

(To contribute to this discussion please either reply by email or click the Read More link below and comment online)

value of social media to governance programmes

To: The Health Communication Network within The Communication Initiative Network

A comment on What Value Does Social Media Add to Governance Programmes?

I would say social media is gaining a lot of recognition especially in countries where it has been used effectively for change campaign. The #bringbackourgirls campaign in Nigeria has made the use of social media more proficient but before that started, we have rallied citizen's support through social media to increase responsiveness in governance.

I pioneered the use of SM for advocacy in Kano State Nigeria and sought partnership with an IT organization CITAD, to organize trainings on the use of social media. You will be surprised at how little people know of the power and functions of the tool they carry around with them.

For instance, in Kano State Nigeria, I mentor and support a platform of young budget activists called the Kano Budget Partners (KBP) and taught them how to use social media for effective advocacy by first analysing and tracking budget provisions and then conducting a simple physical assessments of projects earmarked in the budgets and monitor its stage of implementation. Pictures are taken and posted on Facebook, Twitter and google+ for attention of policy makers. This has generated swift response by the policy makers, and at one time, a campaign on an abandoned 5 km road project led to a swift response from the state government with a release of 800 Million Naira for completion of the project.

That is effective value for money when one considers how much the advocacy costs compared to the response. But, this is not as easy as it sounds, the Partners had to be taught some advocacy skills so they wouldn't antagonise government, they were taught how to criticise in a positive way and most importantly, I had to teach them to use political intelligence skills.

The political economy allows them to understand the enablers in the environment and also gives them opportunity to hit the right spot at the right time. Another thing worthy of mention is that, some of the partners came with a very useful network of contacts in government and that was key, because at one time, they were posting pictures and comments about fencing government secondary schools, as a security measure, without response until an insider informed that the governor has some many cloned Facebook IDs and he quietly gave them the authentic one which caught the governor's attention immediately. NOW THE FENCING HAS STATE IN SOME SCHOOL AND OTHERS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED FOR IN THE STATE BUDGET.

Similarly, when the key policy makers switched from Facebook to google+, the Partners also had to rely on that network for the latest information.

Although, there hasn't been any systematic attempt to measure the use of social media for advocacy, but I think if a more coordinated strategy is employed, it will work effectively to create change and of course all this was done combined with conventional media programmes.

Some of our partners page to visit are @budgetpeople, @genderinclusion, @fuduma, @kanobudgetresponse, @citad and on google+ ibrahimgarbamaryam, on facebook- kaji kasafi, Kano Budget response, CITAD Facebook group, Partnership for Promotion of Maternal and Child Health.

Re: [Health Communication] Added Value of Social Media?

To: The Health Communication Network within The Communication Initiative Network

What Value Does Social Media Add to Governance Programmes?

Comment from Elsie Alexander on this topic

Morning, thank you sharing about the power and value addition of an accessible communication technology via social media. In the context of Southern Africa, Botswana, in particular social media would be the most effective communication tool for young people. Indeed global campaigns by different advocacy groups, including human rights, youth, women, environment etc groups use this technology to share information to advocate for social change and social justice.

The global Bring Back the Girls campaign is a best practice and good practical example's effectiveness. I belong to a Pan African Feminist Education and Communication Network(FEMNET) that advocates for the promotion and protection of women and girls human rights. We use social media regularly to protect the rights of women such as, during the Arab Spring Revolution and make visible other violations of human rights, such as the abduction of 200 + girls and women in Africa and the Globe. Social media is a fast, reliable, effective tool globally.

Unfortunately in Africa not all rural people have access to social media. Cell phones are more accessible and their use is relatively high. Therefore the use of the SMS technique to reach out to the rural people is effective too.

Kind regards - Elsie

Development/Gender Consultant

To add your comments, experiences and perspectives on the question What Value Does Social Media Add to Governance Programmes? please either reply by email or click on **Read More below to engage online.

I find this fascinating

I find this fascinating because it involves a tool that billions of people now have "in their pockets". Clearly, it shows the power of the mobile phone and internet in grassroots advocacy movements, but it also shows the need for a facilitator, instructor, or coach who can show people how to activate their tools as a voice for an organized campaign. Thanks for sending this - well worth reading.

Julie

Re: [Health Communication] Added Value of Social Media?

It's very nice topic that coaching and motoring to youth to up coming technologies.

REGARDS: IRFAN ULLAH KHAN FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UNITED GIRLS DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION.

MS SCHOLAR (MANAGEMENT SCIENCE). HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SZABIST ISLAMABAD CAMPUS

Health Communication
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