Student Projects

Between the 1926 March two second-year ComDev MA students, Abigail Leffler and Yee-Yin Yap, accompanied by the course coordinator Oscar Hemer, visited Beirut, Lebanon. The goal of the trip was to acquaint themselves with the socio-political climate of the country, and conduct interviews for their theses projects in connection with UNICEF  Lebanon’s refugee strategy, No Lost Generation.

The Production Project offers an opportunity to M.A. students who are pursuing the new 120 credit ComDev master’s programme to be creative while receiving hands-on experience in the production of a viable Communication for Development (C4D) media products.

Abigail and Yee-Yin’s Production Project will be linked to the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAPs) study that is currently being conducted by a team led by ComDev’s Ronald Stade, on behalf of UNICEF Lebanon. The KAP Study aims to discern a baseline study for UNICEF’s continued work in the country, and to recommend key C4D interventions for five of its key programme areas: Education, Health, Youth, Sanitation and Child Protection. It is hoped that some of the data from the KAP Study could be used to inform their production project initiatives, and their final Production Project presentation will be made available to UNICEF Lebanon.

During the trip, the team met with UNICEF’s C4D unit’s key staff members Julianne Birungi and Ibrahim El Sheikh to discuss its priority areas, which are education and the different types of violence perpetrated against children in Lebanon. A meeting with UNICEF Lebanon’s Social Media Officer, Sara Sandra Chehab also shed light on UNICEF’s work and media user statistics.

The team also met with Maurice Aaek, who is with the BBC Media Action in Lebanon, who provided an invaluable source of information relating to media consumption channels of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in the region. Other meetings included Dr Nabil Dajani, the Acting Head of the American University in Beirut’s Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Media Studies as well as C4D pioneer in Lebanon, and Dr Dima Dabbous, Assistant Professor in Communication at the American University in Beirut. Topics discussed with Dr Dajani touched upon the importance of the burgeoning field of C4D in the Arab World and the significance of interpersonal communication channels such as ‘folk media’ – the dissemination of information through traditional modes of communication such as cultural and performance arts, in the development field especially in customary settings.

The discussion with Dr Dabbous centered on the representation of Syrian refugees, especially of women and girls in Lebanese media, which provided insight on possible stereotypes and prejudices about Syrians by the host community. The team also had the occasion to interview a prominent rap artist in Lebanon by the name of Nasser “Chyno” Shorbaji to learn of various cultural projects that are led by musicians and artists to bridge the widening gap between the different ethnic groups in Lebanon. These include the use of rap songs as expressions of freedom and hope by the youth of the region.

Although the visit was a short one, the team felt that it was an eye-opening experience that provided a firsthand account of the work of as well as the challenges faced by international and local organizations on site. The visit also imparted on the team strong impressions of the delicate convivial balance between the many groups in Lebanon but in particular between the host community and the refugee populations.

Yee-Yin Yap wrote the trip report with input from Abigail Leffler and the ComDev team.

Bild 07-04-14 kl. 09.29 #2Erliza Lopez Pedersen graduated from ComDev in June 2013 and in addition to her ComDev degree she has a Master of Arts in English. Erliza is the first doctoral candidate in Communication for Development at Malmö University.

– The ComDev programme is, in my opinion, in a league of its own. The seminars provide wide-ranging contemporary debates in development, culture, and media giving the students an avenue to choose which one is the most suitable and relevant to their interest. For me, the best part was having classmates from around the world, and this certainly created a dynamic, multi-diversified online class. It was a great learning experience to listen to different perspectives, and a fun challenge figuring out how to coordinate our schedule for our group work.

What did you write your Degree Project about? 

– It focused on culture and the problems surrounding the au pair programmes in Denmark. At that time, and it still is, a heated debate on whether or not the au pair programme was about cultural exchange or cheap labor. During my ethnographic inquiry, I found out that there were several factors contributing to the problems, however most of them were related to power differences between cultures and empowering one’s self was/is a necessary solution.

In what ways would you say that the ComDev programme has been beneficial for your career?

– Although it is a cliché, but being an immigrant woman, I had to invest in education to be able to compete with the young and well-educated locals. My Mass Communication education from the Philippines was not enough, so I had to really start from zero. Combined with my background in communication and social activism, ComDev was the perfect choice. When Malmö University announced the opening for a ComDev Doctoral Programme, I applied for it and my proposed project on media and social actors was selected. ComDev has in many ways empowered me academically to do something for immigrant communities, to constantly strive for social change both as an academic researcher and practitioner.

What is your doctoral research about?  

– It focuses on participation and empowerment through media. There is, presently, a web-based radio catering to the Filipino community in Europe, I will be studying the relation between civil societies and the radio network, how their combined efforts are affecting the communities to talk about the challenges we are facing as immigrants, as one example. The ComDev aspect of my research is on how communication, through radio programmes, empower the community to participate in debates and provide information that are necessary for policy changes both in the homeland and host country.

On Wednesday 9 April Erliza presented an introduction to her doctoral research. If you’re interested, you can watch the video here.

About ComDev
Communication for Development is one-year, online-based master’s programme running over two years part-time. The application window for ComDev is open until 15 April. For more information on how to apply, go to University Admissions.

Speaking Up and Talking Back? Media Empowerment and Civic Engagement among East and Southern African Youth is a new book edited by Örecomm participants Thomas Tufte, Norbert Wildermuth, Anne Sofie Hansen-Skovmoes and Winnie Mitullah. Published by Nordicom as a yearbook from the International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media, this book surveys and explores the dynamic processes of media development and the enlargement of youth driven, deliberative spaces which sub-Saharan Africa is currently experiencing

Speaking Up and Talking Back? Includes a chapter written by ComDev alumnus Rosalind Yarde. In her contribution Hidden Voices on Air. Empowering Tanzanian Youth through Participatory Radio Rosalind draws on her ComDev degree project work in which she collaborated with a group of former street children in the town of Moshi, northern Tanzania to produce participatory radio.

For more information about Speaking Up and Talking Back? Go Here!

To read more about Rosalind’s work in Tanzania and her studies with ComDev Go Here!

To read Rosalind’s ComDev degree project Go Here!



ComDev Degree Project Work Seminars 22-24 May

by May 18, 2012 Comdev News

ComDev students that have submitted their degree project work for examination this term will present them orally in the period 22 – 24 May 2012. The presentations will be on a 90% completed draft version which will not be graded yet. During the oral presentations the students will receive feedback and comments from a fellow […]

Read the full article →

Apply for a SPIDER Grant!

by Oscar Hemer April 13, 2012 Student Info

Malmö University is a member of SPIDER (The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions) and we have the privilege to offer travel grants to Master level students for doing field work (Degree Project) in developing countries. You can apply for a grant from 15.000 to 25.000 SEK (ca 1.600 to 2.700 €). The project […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Rosalind Yarde – Theory Proved in Practice – From ComDev thesis to continuing project

by Hugo Boothby May 19, 2011 Alumni

ComDev09 students are now finishing up their final thesis projects ready for submission on Monday. A ComDev thesis often involves original field research and enables students to apply theory in practice. This is exactly what ComDev08 alumnus Rosalind Yarde did when she conducted her field research for her final masters thesis with Mkombozi, an NGO in Moshi, […]

Read the full article →

ComDev Graduate wins international media prize

by Hugo Boothby February 21, 2011 Alumni

Åsa Tolgraven graduated from Malmö University’s Communication for Development masters programme in 2004. After graduation Åsa continued working as a TV producer with UR, the department making educational programmes for Swedish Public Service Television. Last year she was series producer and project leader for Inferno, a TV documentary and social media project that explored issues […]

Read the full article →

ComDev Examination February 2011

by Hugo Boothby February 7, 2011 Comdev News

Last week was a busy one for the ComDev masters programme here in Malmö. On Thursday 3rd we had a successful day of examinations for students presenting their final exam projects. Myriam Horngren was one the students presenting her final project work. Myriam defended her masters thesis Rap: a tool for promoting change amongst youth in […]

Read the full article →

ComDev in Albania – Researching Communication for Development inside Europe by Edlira Gjoni

by Hugo Boothby January 18, 2011 Comdev09

Malmö University’s ComDev09 students are about to embark on their final research/dissertation projects so it seems like a good time to re-visit Edlira Gjoni’s presentation on opportunities for research and project work in Albania. Edlira lives in Tirana and started studying the Communication for Development Masters programme with Malmö University in 2009. Link here to […]

2 comments Read the full article →

The Visual Interventions/Film for Development Tanzania Update

by Hugo Boothby December 8, 2010 Comdev News

The Visual Interventions Tanzania project is now in the final stage of its first phase. Following research and filming that had been carried out in Tanzania in August students and staff from K3, Malmö and the University of Dar es Salaam traveled to Sweden to complete post-production on three separate films. The films were premired […]

Read the full article →