Podcasting in Development

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How can podcasting be used in development?

See also | Podcasting on the KS Toolkit


From http://conversations.bellanet.org/Podcasting_concept_note.pdf

There are five main opportunities for the use of podcas ting in the context of International Development:

  1. Production and delivery of open content learning materials for the development of capacities of grassroots NGOs and civil society organizations.
  2. Direct linking of different international events / discussions to participant s in the developing world through the broadcast of speeches and conversations on the ICT4D theme .
  3. Creation of an open content network of audio.
  4. Creating access points to this content .
  5. Creating an audio database of best practices and thematic resources (such as, telecentre, ICT policy, e- governance, community radio etc.)


podcasting development audio

Detailed Description

[the meat of the topic – clearly, crisply communicated summary of the topic. Where relevant, a brief story – no more than 1-2 paragraphs - of how this topic has been turned into practice, ideally from the KM4Dev archives? If the example is long, separate into a separate subsection]

KM4Dev Discussions

Steven Buckley from Christian Aid said:

"We've started weekly internal podcasts at Christian Aid as a way of sharing talks that would have previously required staff to attend a presentation. We've managed around 8 podcasts in the last 10 weeks. The trial has gone extremely well and we're now looking at rolling this out more widely - including an external feed so that staff can connect regardless of whether they have an intranet connection. As ever, the quality of the podcast rather depends on the equipment you use and we've tried hard to keep the file sizes as low as possible."

Mark Berthelemy (Capita Learning & Development) wondered how the Christian Aid staff are picking up the podcasts: "What RSS readers do you tend to use within Christian Aid? Is it browser-based (like Bloglines), a client application on the person's mp3 player (eg. Mypodder) or a client application on their computer (eg. Juice)? Or a mixture?"

Dorine Ruter from the ETC Foundation said she read about a pilot project in Peru by Practical Action (former ITDG) on podcasting [1]. "Practical Action Latin America are conducting a pilot project in the rural region of Cajamarca, northern Peru, to analyse the viability of podcasting for the generation and diffusion of knowledge in poor areas of Peru."

She noted that Partha at Telecentre.org wrote: "At certain point, podcasting can be a tool of skill development or awareness raising through community radio initiatives at the grassroots level. So much more to be done!", and says that "the most examples I have seen of the use of podcasting for social change are casts from northern non-profits/NGOs to inspire (mainly northern) people and encourage them to act or support social change initatives. A nice example is Britt Bravo's Big Vision Podcast (via [2])."

Dorine knows few examples of podcasts that have positive (direct) impact on lives of the poor, that incorporate the voice of grassroots ("participatory podcasting"?), etc. "No initatives like the famous Kothmale project was some years ago in ICT4dev. Maybe these initiatives are there but just not well known by the broader public? Maybe the Open Knowledge Network, the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network or similar initiatives are doing anything with podcasting in the context of local knowledge sharing?" She'd be interested in hearing more about this.

In response to whether podcasts had a direct impact on lives of the poor, Joiske Hulsebosch said, "While I was in Accra in March, I talked to Berenice Akuamoah, one of the youth from the curious minds program. She made her digital diaries online with UNICEF [3]. When we asked her whether is is not mostly for northern audiences, she explained that they worked with NGOs like Plan international, who take the talks to the villages for discussions with youth there. She said people appreciated it a lot, as the human voice gives a different touch to it, as compared to text, or indirect account."

Giulio Quaggiotto from the IFC wrote that the World Bank has recently launched its podcasting service [4].

Nancy White said that "We have been tossing around the idea of doing something focused on podcast here at KM4Dev. We found a couple of podcasting pros to give us tips, and had been casually casting around for more development oriented examples. It seems like it might be time. Does anyone want to help organize this?"

Update from Steven Buckley (August 2006):

"Following on from my posting earlier this year on blogging, we ve now started some serious work at Christian Aid on podcasting. Given the (fairly) recent threads on this subject, I thought I d share our experiences. Christian Aid podcasts are made available to staff through the intranet and to the public through iTunes and feedburner. Staff are alerted to new podcasts through a dynamic HTML listing of podcast feeds, though the file is hosted internally. We also take a lot of effort to promote the podcasts internally."

As with the blogs, we ve found staff and supporters have engaged with the format very quickly. We now get emails asking if an event will have an associated podcast.

For the first couple of months, we focussed on using podcasts to get internal information to staff based outside the UK. This week we re trying a daily podcast from Haiti in the Carribean to look at the issues our partners and beneficiaries face. It s taking a fair amount of time to produce but the feedback has been tremendous from supporters who are hearing stories from trips as they take place and for our field office staff who are able to get their perspectives out to the rest of the organisation.

You can listen to episode 3 due on iTunes tomorrow - here on the web: [5]

If you use iTunes, you can subscribe to the podcast here: [6]

Or with any other podcatcher here:


If you re interested in the technical aspects of the project:

  • Field recording are made using a Maycom HandHeld field recorder
  • Edit recordings are made on the editing PC (yes, a better mic is needed)
  • The WAV files are edited using open source software from Audacity
  • The MP3 file is created using Audacity and LAME
  • The file is hosted on a blogging site we use Typepad and on our internal intranet
  • The feed is sent to Feedburner, which also submits the iTunes feed for us

After reading Steven's post, Tori Holmes wondered if Christian Aid did any work with fishing communities anywhere in the world, whether anything about them has appeared on the podcasts so far, and more generally if Christian Aid is using any ICT/knowledge sharing/knowledge management tools in this sort of context, whether locally in fishing communities/organisations or for advocacy purposes around fisheries issues.

Examples in Application

  • Internal weekly Christian Aid podcasts
  • Pilot project in Peru by Practical Action (former ITDG) on podcasting [8]
  • World Bank podcasting service [9].
  • UNICEF Digital Diary: Berenice’s story from Ghana [10]
  • Frontline Reports - New podcast service of Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres [11]

Podcasting Tips

Here is a list of tips for recording, editing and listening to podcasts.

Related FAQs

[Insert links to related FAQs]

Further Information


Examples of development related podcasts:

I've been collecting some bookmarks about podcasting in development with my del.icio.us tags http://del.icio.us/choconancy/podcasting

Sandy Campbell of the Research Matters project of the Governance, Equity, and Health (GEH) Program:


Original Author and Subsequent Contributors of this FAQ


Dates of First Creation and Further Revisions

April 24, 2006

FAQ KM4Dev Source Materials

[Raw text of email discussions on which the FAQ is based]