Panos Talks

Mohammed Bashir Sheik was four when he arrived at Dadaab from Somalia with his mother and sister 18 years ago. The family, along with tens of thousands of others, had fled the civil war in Somalia, looking for refuge over the border in north-eastern Kenya.
His mother died when he was 14 and he grew up in the care of his sister.

Close your eyes for one second and think about Somalia. Did any of the following come to mind?The largest livestock market in Africa; a robust agricultural sector; the second largest mobile phone sector in Africa; an economy supported by remittances worth over $1 billion and a business sector assisted by $350 million of investment from Turkey.

Panos in Action

State run television channels that have for decades supported the propaganda of authoritarian regimes are at long last speaking a different language. They declare that they are about to mutate into public service broadcasters. Members of the PSB network who attended a number of conferences in the region witnessed these new prospects. Change has become inevitable. It remains to be seen how this can happen, within what timespan, according to what roadmap and with what support. 

Our senior ICT advisor, Clodagh Miskelly, is speaking at the annual conference of the NHS Confederation on engaging seldom heard groups in improving the quality of services.
Clodagh will principally be talking about her work on the Beyond Consultation project. Beyond Consultation turned the usual health consultation process on its head – inviting seldom-heard service users to help set the agenda, rather than following a consultation exercise already designed by health providers.

As Marcos Lopes recounts his teenage years as the head of a drug trafficking gang involved in turf disputes in a São Paulo favela, it sounds as if he’s narrating an action movie.
Gesturing wildly to give more punch to the story, he laughs at the end of each recollection:

In my work, I have met many rape victims, I have heard their stories, and I have participated in their fight for justice. But by no stretch of my imagination or empathy will I ever be able to fully know the kind of mental and physical torture they have undergone. If a cloth becomes soiled, I can either wash it or throw it away. But when my own body has been soiled and the experience imprinted on my mind for a lifetime, how do I wash my mind or throw away my body? And how do I live with that knowledge that this is now part of my life whether I want it or not?

In a rundown building in the mountain village of Sijban, girls sit at their desks, hair loosely covered in white or black scarves, staring raptly at their teacher. They say they want to become either doctors or teachers when they grow up. This is the one government primary school for girls in the Swat valley that was spared destruction by the Taliban. Their headteacher, Gul-e-Khandana, is no ordinary teacher – she stood up to the Taliban and managed to save the school where she had taught for more than 20 years.

At the end of 1990s I made my first trip to mountainous, landlocked Lesotho, to set up a Panos London project to record interviews with people who were facing resettlement from their highland communities. The construction of a huge dam the following year would take over their valley; their homes, fields, gravestones and grazing lands would eventually be submerged by its water.

Bhan Sahu, our blogger from Chhattisgarh in central India, has been awarded a fellowship with the citizen journalism group CGNet Swara.


The role of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in the Arab Spring created a renewed buzz around the use of social media and ICTs in fostering social change.

While mobile and online tools provide a way of spreading and sharing information more easily than ever before, there are still many challenges, including access, applicability and scale.

Has Tata Steel, one of India’s oldest and most admired corporates, diverged from the ethical path laid down by its founding fathers?
IN 2007, EXACTLY A CENTURY after the company was founded with almost defiant Indian pride during British rule, Tata Steel took over the Anglo-Dutch steel manufacturer Corus. In his book, The Romance of Tata Steel, published later that year, the most prolific chronicler of the House of Tata, RM Lala, described the felicitous timing of the takeover:

This case study demonstrates Panos’s integrated approach to communication for development: combining first person testimony, relationship-building, inclusive dialogue and working with the mainstream media so that the voices of people most affected by development issues contribute to national-level understanding and decision-making.