Panos London’s mission is to stimulate informed and inclusive public debate around key development issues in order to foster sustainable development.
Our aim is to ensure that the perspectives of the people whose lives are most affected by development (mainly the poor and marginalised) are included within decision-making and that decisions are subject to their scrutiny and debate. We are working to promote an enabling media and communications environment worldwide.
From the Executive Director
In 2011 Panos London reached its 25th anniversary, and proudly celebrated a substantial record of achievement since its founding in 1986. During this time it has helped to transform the media landscape in developing countries; put the concept of including the voices of excluded and marginalised people at the centre of development practice; played critical roles in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic and the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to benefit the poor; and become one of the most widely respected leaders in the field of communication for development.
Nevertheless, the year was one of the most difficult of any of the last 25 for Panos London as a result of the loss of major funding to a large number of programme areas in 2010 and early 2011 (explained in last year’s Trustees’ Report). Total income fell by 24 per cent in 2011 to £2.65 million, a decrease of £853,000 on the previous year. This was more than accounted for by the reduction in funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), with total support through project grants and the Programme Partnership Arrangement falling from £2.35 million in both 2009 and 2010 to £782,000 in 2011, principally as a result of the end of the PPA in March 2011.
This sudden and dramatic loss of revenue necessitated a radical restructuring of Panos London and a severe reduction in organisational capacity with staff numbers being cut by nearly half. The restructuring ensured that in 2011 Panos London still delivered its existing programmatic obligations and maintained progress towards its Strategy to 2015 objectives, while also reducing staff costs by over £560,000 (40 per cent). Panos London was greatly helped in this most challenging year by an additional bilateral grant of SEK 4.5 million (£436,000) from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).
In the light of these major organisational challenges, Panos London’s strategic and programmatic achievements in 2011 were extensive, and are set out in detail in pages 6-8 of the Trustees’ Annual Report for 2011. Some highlights include:
- Panos London continued to strengthen the professional skills and capacities of developing world journalists and editors (more than half of them women) through intensive fellowships and other forms of hands-on training. This supported in-depth reporting and the production in 2011 of 320 features published in newspapers, magazines and websites around the world on a huge range of development issues.
- Panos London brought the voices and perspectives of poor and marginalised people in the developing world to audiences in Europe through the development of strong relationships with nine national media houses in the UK, Poland, Spain and Sweden including the Guardian and Guardian Weekly (UK), Gazeta Pl (Poland), El Mundo (Spain), Sydvenskan and Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden) – reaching tens of millions of readers in the four countries and across the world through their web editions.
- The Climate Change Media Partnership (a joint programme of Panos London with Internews and the International Institute for Environment and Development) awarded fellowship programmes to 19 journalists from 15 countries which provided intensive mentoring support to the journalists before, during and after the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban in December.
- In the field of ICTs, Panos London piloted the use of SMS mailing list technology as an additional method of peer enquiry and consultation; and its ‘Mobile Phones for Health’ project in Bangladesh continued with partners DNET to create a mobile tool providing access to and information and monitoring on free medicines for rural women.
- Our ‘Relay’ programme – which brings researchers and journalists together to improve media coverage of critical development issues – held national stakeholder forums in Kenya and Uganda to discuss the role of CSOs, the media and research organisations in improving media coverage and public debate of tax and governance issues; and in Assam, North-East India, on the issue of mega-dams in Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh and their impacts on energy, environment, lives and livelihoods. The policy discussions were extended into wider public debate via radio panels and features in national newspapers.
- Panos London continued to build its profile and capacity as a leader in the theory and practice of communicating research into policy and practice, presenting evidence and findings from its field work and research at many international conferences and through published papers.
- Innovation is a vital part of Panos London’s DNA, and new C4D approaches were developed in 2011 combining participatory video, professional filmmaking and mobile telephones, and to support digital storytelling. There was growing demand by other organisations to use Panos London’s communication for development (C4D) expertise in Voice, Dialogue, Media and ICTs.
This remains a challenging period for Panos London and I would like to thank all of our donors for their support to our programmes in 2011. The Trustees’ Report and Financial Statements provide more details of our work; and please do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information or would like to support our future activities.