PARTICIPATORY MEDIA SCENARIO #2:
Communications for Development
Peter Varley s3157379
In Bangladesh, it is estimated that 16 million people
are living with a disability, receiving little or no assistance
and excluded from mainstream life.
The development sector is rift with wicked
problems, and disability is no exception. While it may not
be solvable, the life for a disabled person in Bangladesh
is definitely improvable, and all evidence points to social
media now being the tool to do it.
Through myability.org, a participatory social media
pilot, Bangladesh’s disabled population will be provided
with free IT training and platform through social media
to share disability-related news and information thereby
improving social inclusion.
The content will also form the foundation of a
human rights campaign showcasing the abilities of
disabled people in Bangladesh.
Behind myability.org is a team of passionate
Bangladeshi and Australian project managers, specialist
disability trainers, educators and communication
professionals. While young, this group has many years
of practical expertise behind them. They come to
this project with their eyes wide open and a host of
specialist skills in advocacy, public health, cross cultural
communication and information technology.
Bangladeshi’s disabled are ready to show the world
what they can do. Come watch.
1. Construct accessible IT centre in central Dhaka
location and myability.org online presence (in English
1. Empower disabled people in Bangladesh by giving
them a voice, and a community, through social media;
2. Educate the national and international community
about disability in Bangladesh
2. Build relationship with key development stakeholders
working on disability programs and community leaders
and ask them to promote the website/s and the IT
centre open day and the aim of the project.
3. Promote myability.org, its aims and the IT centre open
day in newspapers and radio stations.
4. Promote myability.org, its aims and the IT centre open
day on key social media sites and with key stakeholders.
5. Train disabled Bangladeshis in basic IT and
participatory social media skills and theory.
6. Manage online community, provide feedback on
content and post weekly questions.
Artist’s impression of the myability.org IT training
centre in action
Image sourced from: http://www.unhcr.org/
7. Compile best content into disablilty adovacy
This blog is where the majority of the “participatory social media”
activities will be taking place. It will host the myablity.org forum
and links to participants blogs (similar to the class blog).
It’s relatively simple to use (or train someone to use), has a wide
degree of participation options (the odd post or they can go the
lengths of making a multi platform online ID)
Twitter + Instagram + FACEbook
myability.org will use these sites to update their stakeholders
about projects, seek feedback, and direct people to the PSM
project hosted on Wordpress.
Soundcloud + VIMEO
While audio and film are useful mediums for people with literacy/
language difficulties, they do require a degree of technical know
how to contribute (as well as a fast enough internet connection to
be able to upload content).
I envisage most of the content for these platforms will be created
at the IT classes by myability staff filming and recording the
students, as well as going out into the streets and interviewing
disabled homeless people.
The best content from participant’s posts will be uploaded to the
Participants content will funnel through
their Wordpress account. Will have links
myability.org’s social media platforms
timeline for the
social media material
Key organizations working on
disability in Bangladesh
Social Assistance and Rehabilitation for the Physically
Centre on Disability and Development
Leonard Cheshire Disability
International Committee of the Red Cross
active stakeholders /
audiences to address
Disabled people in Bangladesh
Local and international media organizations
Local and international development agencies
Disability advocacy groups
General public (Bangladeshi)
Note: Bangladesh’s working
week is Sunday to Thursday
Used when applicable
AND WEB 2.0
By Peter Varley s3157379
In Bangladesh, it is estimated that 16 million people are living with a disability,
receiving little or no assistance and excluded from mainstream life.
Aims of the study
• To investigate if a participatory social media project is sustainable in
• If it can increase feelings of social inclusive for its disabled population.
Internet use is
• Savar building collapse saw it
succesfully being used by
Bangladeshis as an activism tool
Literature / Arguments
Ellis, K., Kent, M., (2011) Disability and New Media – Does
that Face-“Book” come in Braille: Social Networking Sites and
Disability. Curtin University.
Limited information available re: participatory social media and use in
international development context.
Literature review revealed that:
• In the ﬁrst world, participatory social media campaigns have
successfully been used for empowerment and social change;
• People with disability are embracing the mainstream social
networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.
Convergent Parallel Design
- Metadata analysis
- Interviews and questionnaires
- Analyse data concurrently and
Amin, A.R. (2013). ‘Silver Linings’ Generation: New Age of Digital
Activism in Bangladesh. Retrieved from: http://www.comminit.
“People with disability are embracing the mainstream social
networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.”
• Traditional participatory (or bottom up) communication has a
good track record in development and Bangladesh;
“(During the Savar Building collapse) digital platforms played a
vital role in enabling real-time updates, information exchange,
coordinated relief efforts and the formation of shared opinions.”
Developed a lean social media startup titled myability.org which
will require 6-month review of ﬁrst goal to gauge effectiveness, and to
justify moving forward and further funding.
• Approx. 30 million internet users
• More than 3.5 million social media
users – Facebook use grew 34%
from July – Nov 2012;
On the left is a research proposal to evaluate the website
(and particapatory social media and its use in international
development) at the 6 month point.
• Dissemination: Journal of international Communication, Journal
of International Development, Communication Initiative Network
(preferably after myability.org goals 2 and 3 have been attempted)
• Problems: lack of infrastructure, understanding/platform take up,
IT knowledge; cross cultural communication issues; accessibility;
reaching a broad social economic cross section.
“In India, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment
for Disabled People successfully applied participatory
communication strategies to pursue the rights of disabled
Thomas, T., (2009) Participatory communication: A practical guide
– World Bank Publications, Washington
“The Evidence Suggests: Within marginalized communities,
there is tremendous untapped potential to use communication
for collective good. When people most affected by social
inequity have the confidence and abilities to access,
manage and control the processes, tools and content of
communication, development efforts are more sustainable and
(2010) Communication for Social Change. Retrieved from http://
Goldberg, M. (2013) Crowd Sourcing the Next Development
Agenda. Retrieved from: http://www.undispatch.com/crowdsourcng-the-next-international-development-agenda
“Approx. 30 million internet users in Bangladesh – 5 million use
internet every day”
Goodman, J. Wennerstrom, A, Benjamin F. Particaporty and
Social Media to Engage Youth: From the Obama Campaign
to Public Health Practice. Retrieved from http://www.
“Social media users more than 3.5 million – Facebook use grew
34% from July – Nov 2012 (871,420)”
Billah, M., (2012) ICTs facts and figures on Bangladesh
by We Are Social Singapore. Retrieved from: http://www.
“When people with disabilities actively participate in society
and their voice is heard, all the community benefits from it and
brings about positive change. Negative attitudes and traditional
beliefs are amongst the barriers that hinder the participation in
society by persons with disabilities.”
(2012) Removing barriers, creating inclusion, empowering
persons with disabilities. Retrieved from: http://www.cbm.org/
Asough. A (2013). Success through social media in Nigeria
(2013). Retrieved from: http://www.comminit.com/ict-4development/content/success-through-social-media-nigeria-0
Kanter. B. (2006) Using Participatory Media Tools in
Nonprofit Campaigns. Retrieved from http://www.nten.org/
Servaes, J. (2008) Communication for Development and Social
Change. University of Massachusetts