About EMPOWERHOUSE & Birgitte Jallov

Empowerhouse has been started by Birgitte Jallov to meet the needs in and around development of sustainable community media. But who is she to do this?

Why have you started EMPOWERHOUSE
– and why community media - and especially community radio
?

The question should actually rather have been, why I have not done this long ago?

I have worked with community radio since 1980, when I was deeply involved in the budding community radio movement in Denmark and on the board and co-organiser of the first meeting of the international community radio association, AMARC, in 1983.

Since then I have worked with community media in many countries in many parts of the world as community broadcaster, trainer, adviser, evaluator, supporter and midwife.

As I usually keep contact with the stations and people I have worked with, I have found it increasingly difficult to meet the many requests for input and support received – and decided to create EMPOWERHOUSE as a community media meeting-place for training, sharing and for ‘growing’ community radio/media for empowerment.

 

 

What is your background for doing this work?

I have a master’s degree in mass communication and strategic communication as well as a bachelor in linguistics and civic movements, civil society along with a series of courses in radio production, documentary film production, management & leadership, and a diploma in adult education and working with the social media.

But actually the most important background when I work with community media/radio, is that I have seen how it can transform communities and generate empowerment and development – and I passionately believe in just that being the most powerful and important motor to a people-centred development.

I have seen:

  • how women have come to have a new and stronger role in their community – and have been beaten up a lot less;
  • how communities have gone from an annual cholera death toll of 300 to zero after a community radio went on air and the community took the advice serious;
  • how people living with AIDS have gained new hope and recognition in the community;
  • how corrupt politicians have been brought to account by the community and brought the electricity or road or what it is that their embezzlement had stopped from being realised.

And I have seen what is needed in community radio/community media, to be able to generate this kind of powerful development impacts.

I have worked in more than 60 countries and within 300 different realities. These impacts are just some of the many I have met, where I have worked with community radio and other types of community media.

My international networks are vast, counting international and bilateral organisations, NGOs and CBOs, as well as hundreds of individuals. I was for instance chair of the Panos London board for 6 years, I serve on film jurys, have served two terms on the council of MS/Action Aid Denmark - and last but not least, as a member of the founding board of the international community radio association AMARC, it forms yet another important network.

 

 

What is it then EMPOWERHOUSE offers?

EMPOWERHOUSE assists communities, facilitators, funders and governments with finding integrated solutions to create and strengthen community radio. All the many stakeholders in and around community radio have different needs and backgrounds.

With my new book as a starting point:  EMPOWERMENT RADIO: voices building a community training like the online training course onHow to turn voices into community change', which ran for 7 weeks in October-November 2012 will continue to be featured, a free newsletter will appear regularly and the blog at the opening page of the EMPOWERHOUSE website will share stories in and around community radio.

Furthermore an ‘Empower Forum’ will start up soon as an online club, where subscribers will receive advice and guidance and facilitated networking.

Besides from these regular services, EMPOWERHOUSE continues to offer tailor-made services to users including anything from evaluations and impact assessments of community radio, preparatory mapping and design, support to funders or governments with design of community radio programmes and legal/regulatory frameworks.

If you need a diagnostic analysis of a community radio or support with design of sustainability and partnership strategy, these would be among the many other services EMPOWERHOUSE can be called upon to meet.

What do others say about you?

You better read it in their own words here

What can EMPOWERHOUSE do for me?

Well, first of all I would invite you to visit the different overviews of EMPOWERHOUSE products and activities here on the www.empowerhouse.dk website, to find yourself in the menu’s ‘You and community radio’, where specific services are proposed for specific user groups. If you still don’t know where to find answers to your questions, write me at: mail@empowerhouse.dk.

We recruited Birgitte, when we needed a thorough review of our community radio project, hopefully identifying some strong change stories. Birgitte had worked with the project before and knew the particular environment well; when she was selected to do the review we knew the work was in safe hands.

Birgitte's best asset is her tremendous energy - it infused the project for months afterwards, inspiring everyone involved to bring new people into the community radio and try to spread its benefits to others.

While being positive and encouraging, Birgitte also kept a critical eye open during her interactions with our project. She identified some administrative issues which were, in hindsight, impeding the project's progress. With her recommendations and suggested solutions we were able to bring things back on track quickly and efficiently.

Birgitte brings a number of special and unique qualities with her as an adviser: Her energy and enthusiasm - very empowering to all who work with her, not least because it is backed with years of valuable technical and organisational experience.

I would warmly recommend Birgitte’s services, advice and support to community radio stations that are looking for inspiration, ideas from other radios elsewhere in the world, and for donors who wish to learn more about the changes that are happening at the ground level of these fascinating transformational projects.

 

Sarah Ransom
Programme Analyst
UNDP Lao PDR

“ I recruited Birgitte Jallov as I knew of her good work. Birgitte’s reputation precedes her! And I wanted someone with a lot of community communication experience. Given Birgitte’s communication for development work, through community radio it was easy to consider recruiting her!

Birgitte’s involvement in UNECA’s tele-innovation centre project has led to awareness on community communications by policy-makers. For instance, since the training she conducted with the community Information centres in Ghana, they have asked for more training and ... specifically requested that they want Birgitte to come back!

Birgitte’s commitment to a cause and working for impact is what makes her stand out in the crowd. I was conscious of this in Rwanda where you would prefer avoiding the 'politics' of government to working with people, using communication to empower them! Which is a great strength to have! Furthermore there are three qualities that personify Birgitte: Passion, commitment, and dedication.

I would warmly recommend Birgitte as an adviser, coach and facilitator to other UN agencies wanting to work at the grassroot level, particularly pursuing a communication for development agenda and also those working on women and gender issues.”  

Aida Opoku-Mensah
Director, Science and ICT,  UNECA, Addis Abeba

 
Other testimonials