Working with the University of Sheffield
Visit to Brussels
Thursday 8th October 2019
October provided us with the opportunity to present the results of our findings in Brussels. Two separate events were organised. The first, on 8th October, was at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU with an impressive turnout of representatives all highly knowledgeable with regard to West Africa and also gender, but not necessarily in combination with radio and the empowering impact it can have on women in the Sahel. The countries represented were Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Most representatives were delegates to the Africa Working Party (COAFR). This event was expertly facilitated by Adam Rybo, Head of African Affairs at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU, and Delegate to the Africa Working Party (COAFR) who displayed his extensive knowledge of the topic.
Our thanks go to the Swedish Embassy for their kind hospitality.
The second event was held at the Brussels offices of Fondation Hirondelle and welcomed many representatives from development NGOs operating in the Sahel such as OSEPI, Search for Common Ground, Quaker Council for European Affairs, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, International Crisis Group, Global Forum for Media Development, European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, European External Action Service – Integrated Approach to Security and Peace, and the EC’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG-DEVCO). This event was moderated by Nicolas Rougy, Senior Representative to the EU and Advisor, who moderated the event with ease and skill, highlighted the benefits that result from collaboration between practice and academia.
At both events, Caroline Vuilleman, CEO of Fondation Hirondelle, outlined the important role of radio in improving the lives of many, not only in the Sahel but in the many other countries in which her organisations operations. She stressed the need for editors in chief and teams of journalists to remain true to editorial lines even in times of tension in order to ensure that listeners are provided with information that is independent and which can therefore be trusted.
Dr Emma Heywood then presented the outlines of the findings, which can be found here, leading to questions such as how to ensure men – the main decision-makers in society – are also targeted by the programmes and can identify with the contents in order to respond. General questions concerning policy measures which could be implemented were also discussed revealing a clear interest in the research both by those working on the ground but also at policy level who stated the importance of receiving information on a disaggregated level. Many highlighted the significance of receiving details of the daily realities of life in Niger and how small changes can have significant impact on lives.
Thanks go to Nicolas Rougy, Senior Representative to the EU and Advisor and to Leo Fried EU Affairs and Partnerships Officer for organising both events