Gerry Power, Head of research at BBC World Service Trust, has kicked-off the cycle of Visiting Speakers programme foresees to this Semester at Kingston University.
Supported by a meticulous methodology as well as a broad knowledge of the BBC World Trust, their principles, strategies and goals, he exposed a variety of projects, initiatives and findings obtained throughout their work in 43 countries around the developing world.
Following Power’s presentation, their ultimate goal is generate advances in the fight against poverty, utilising mass media and communications methods and resources as tools for empowering excluded communities –emphasising in rural areas (i.e. Public service advertising to promote condom use in India, or Ethiopia's first radio soap opera recorded on location - designed to stimulate debate about rural livelihoods). Furthermore, their particular areas of interest are Health, Governance & Human Rights, Education, Emergency Response, Livelihoods and environment.
The debate arise from whether a transnational western-orientated NGO could preserve what they define as their core values –independence, impartiality, honesty (Power’s quotation)- and promote through its resources positive impact in desfavorable and excluded communities in the third world or merely reproduce, justify and extend an imperialism and paternalist intervention. Moreover, seems to be that the action method and the expected outcomes are directly associated to the UN Millennium Development Goals, are these measures enjoy of sufficient consensus and acceptance in both supporters and dissenters?
Another arguable aspect that Mr. Power manifested is the capability for preserving a distance within the BBC World Trust values’ and the financers’ expectations. Governments –essentially European- Private Foundations and Private Companies compose the most supportive financers without intruding on the results achieved. Nevertheless, Powers admitted that BBC World Trust have had to refuse in the past some potential founders due to their intentions for meeting specific requirements according to their interests (i.e. Commercial publicity). Is this argument credible for those who have lived and suffered the consequences of the imperialism in the third world?
On the other hand, not only methodologically designed but also strategically implemented the different projects have had highly valuable proposals with the purpose of reduce inequalities, promote human –global- rights, transfer knowledge methods and practical material to local people that would otherwise be unable to count with.