iMedia advises clients on communications approaches to help solve complex problems, as well as managing and evaluating media-led projects.
Advisory and management contracts have included developing communications strategies to combat violent extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, promoting social and behaviour change relating to girl’s empowerment, family planning and HIV/AIDS in East and southern Africa, and strengthening the media’s role in public sector and electoral reform in Nigeria and Tanzania.
In the UK, iMedia has worked with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on using a range of media to facilitate international engagement on Afghanistan’s future. iMedia advises local government on community-based communication to counter ethnic extremism. In addition, iMedia conducts workshops on media and peace-building, most recently in Belfast for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
iMedia clients include UK government departments, bilateral and multilateral donor agencies, and non-governmental organisations. In the eight years of existence, iMedia’s Directors and Associates have worked in more than 20 countries, with South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa as two focal regions.
iMedia Associates was formed in 2010 as a successor to Media Support Solutions Limited (established in 2001). It draws on the experience of its founding company to manage media and communications interventions. It also benefits from developing country organisations established by its sister agency, Media Support Partnership, which offer a source of local expertise from which projects can be managed in the countries themselves or the region. Media Support set up independent media and communications organisations in Zambia (MARCH Zambia) and in Botswana (Makgabaneng), by strengthening capacity and providing accompaniment over a period of several years, whilst implementing projects funded by US CDC.
Media Associates carry out consultancy assignments in the UK and overseas, for a range of clients including bilateral, multilateral and non-governmental organisations. iMedia delivers high quality advisory, research and analysis using multi-media platforms to engage with clients and audiences. iMedia believes that moving communications from a traditional message based approach to one defined by conversation helps address issues of trust between citizen and state.
Recent evaluation contracts include oversight of the £90million (US$120million) Global Grant awarded to BBC Media Action (the BBC’s international charity) by the Department of International Development (DFID). Over the period 2012 to 2017 iMedia ensured accountability for the programme which reached over 200 million people in 15 countries with information and opportunities to engage in governance, health and resilience issues. iMedia provided quality assurance to BBC Media Action’s monitoring and evaluation systems, ensuring they were robust and contributed to global learning on the impact of media on specific development outcomes. We delivered independent assessments of outputs, outcomes and impacts and recommended course corrections and strategic directions. Key deliverables included completion of an evaluability assessment and five annual reviews of the Global Grant as well as mid and end term reviews in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Between 2011 and 2017, iMedia has undertaken media and communication-related assessments and evaluations for CARE (social and behaviour change relating to family planning and post-abortion care in Chad), BBC Media Action (media development in Somalia, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Angola), Search for Common Ground (media development in the Great Lakes Region) and Internews (media development in Kenya, Myanmar and Pakistan) In 2016-17 the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) commissioned iMedia to conduct a wide-ranging capitalisation review of its support to media around the world. These assignments have included reviews of traditional broadcast and print organisations and products as well as analysis of digital media strategies and impact.
Previously under Media Support, iMedia Directors, Associates and local project teams variously designed, managed and monitored large HIV/AIDS prevention interventions in Botswana, Cambodia, Guyana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, for clients including US Centers for Disease Control, World Bank, World Vision, Danida, Andrew Lees Trust, Health Unlimited. Many of these programmes used or adapted the Modeling and Reinforcement to Combat HIV/AIDS approach, an entertainment-education strategy combining mass media and community-based activities, developed by US CDC.
More recently, iMedia has supported Girl Effect Ethiopia (Nike Foundation/DFID) with technical support and capacity-strengthening to develop its flagship radio programme Yegna (‘Ours’) focused on social and behaviour change to support girls’ empowerment. Other similar work in Ethiopia for CARE resulted in a re-focused radio soap opera aimed at overcoming gender and social barriers to uptake of family planning services and practices.
iMedia designed the media component of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, a peace building initiative (2012-16), and currently provides technical and strategic advice on media engagement to the Nigerian Partnership for Engagement, Research and Learning – an adaptively managed programme also funded by DFID. iMedia also has experience of supporting the role of media in facilitating private sector development (PSD), designing a German government funded initiative to encourage financial literacy through the media to stimulate small business growth in rural Mozambique. iMedia provided technical support to ENABLE, a Nigerian PSD programme and was a member of the steering committee for ZIMBISA, another DFID-funded programme aimed at enhancing the business environment in Zimbabwe.
iMedia responds rapidly and flexibly to client needs by fielding a wide range of skills and expertise through its contacts with media and communications professionals around the world.
iMedia offers a diverse range of trainings including short tailor-made workshops for staff of local media organisations (NGOs and broadcasters) to introduce new skills and knowledge as well as repeated inputs over the lifetime of projects. Generally, iMedia believes that the best impact can be achieved through long term on-the-job training and mentoring to build relationships with project teams, strengthen institutional capacity and shape working practices.
Currently, iMedia manages several programmes of courses for diplomats and civil servants within the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Political Islam and Radicalisation in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Training also includes one-off sessions aimed at influencing policy and decision-makers. iMedia Directors facilitated a workshop on media, conflict and stabilisation for visiting mem¬bers of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, as part of a conference on Fragile States, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In Barnsley, UK, iMedia trained local elected members in communications skills including crisis and rebuttal skills, as well as blogging skills. iMedia has organised a series of workshops for media in Nigeria on Conflict Sensitive Communication, and has developed and coordinated an online post-graduate course in the subject with Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Northern Nigeria.