Bamyan Media

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Bamyan Media is a social enterprise that uses television shows and other digital media to target social issues and provide resources to promote entrepreneurship.

Template:Infobox non-profit

History

Bamyan Media has its roots in a student project. In 2008, to satisfy Hampshire College requirements, Anna Elliot created and co-produced a Reality TV series about Afghan entrepreneurs called Dream & Achieve (Fikr Wa Talosh in Farsi). [1] Through the experiences of the contestants, the program illustrated the challenges of creating a small business in Afghanistan. The first season of Dream & Achieve reached an estimated seven million viewers in Afghanistan, and was produced and broadcast on prime-time by the Tolo TV television network.[2]

After she graduated from Hampshire College in 2010, Elliot founded Bamyan Media officially to create edutainment (educational entertainment) TV programs that highlight pressing social problems through dramatic personal stories. Another important part of the concept was to combine each of the TV programs with resources that could empower their viewers, using digital platforms, social media, and local grass-roots events.[3] So far, the organization has focused on social entrepreneurship as a potential antidote to high youth unemployment in the Middle East.

In 2015 Bamyan Media and Banijay International distributed an adaptation of The Project under the new English title Game-Changers. In France, the series is currently in pre-production under the working title START-UP, and will focus on entrepreneurial opportunities for disenfranchised youth.[4]

Elliot has received fellowships from The Mulago Foundation and Echoing Green, two organizations that support early-stage social entrepreneurs.[5][6]

Television programs

Dream & Achieve (Fikr Wa Talosh in Farsi)

Elliot co-produced the first season of Dream & Achieve in Afghanistan in 2008. The show was modeled after the reality TV shows Dragons' Den and Afghan Star but substituted social entrepreneurs and small business owners as its contestants and built episodes around business challenges. It was sponsored by USAID, along with Afghanistan’s National Bank and University and its major telecommunications provider, Roshan.[7]

Each week, contestants pitched their ideas to a panel of expert judges, while they worked on their projects with the help of mentors. The entrepreneurs were filmed throughout and voted off by judges and viewers’ text-message voting.[8] The goal was to entertain viewers but also to provide viewers with concrete business lessons that they could apply in their own communities, and to encourage the creation and development of small businesses.[9]

The winner was Faizulhaq Mosqakani, a father of nine who received a $20,000 prize for his plastics recycling plant in Kandahar. Second place was Maryam Al Ahmadi, who won a $10,000 cash grant for her business employing widows and refugees to make jams and pickles in Herat. Other notable contestants include Haji Ata, an ex-warlord who had disarmed to start a dairy farm[10] and Sohaila Vahidi, a female university student majoring in economics, and growing cotton for organic textiles as an alternative to opium. She won a scholarship from the Goldman Sachs program 10,000 Women for her plan.[11]

A second season of Dream & Achieve was produced and broadcast by Tolo TV in 2009, but a third season was cancelled due to mounting security issues that prohibited travel around the country.[8]

The Project (El Mashroua in Arabic)

File:All contestants.jpg
All contestants

In 2014, Bamyan Media produced The Project (El Mashroua) in Egypt. It aired prime-time on the Egyptian television network Al Nahar, and was sponsored by Samsung, Google, Volkswagon, and USAID.

The 13-episode season featured 14 contestants who faced a set of individual and team challenges to prove and develop their entrepreneurial abilities, and who were then evaluated by a panel of experienced judges. Challenges included up-cycling trash into furniture and pitching their creations to retail stores, doing a “make-over” for a hole-in the wall restaurant, selling juice in a busy market, and taking tourists on an eco-safari of the desert.

By following the development of the contestants' projects, the show aimed to teach viewers entrepreneurial skills, convey lessons about good business practices, and introduce them to local partners delivering entrepreneurial support and resources.[12]

Resources and outreach

In addition to the television show, the The Project conducted a digital media campaign which included partner organizations that supported aspiring entrepreneur viewers with mentorship, financing, training and technology.[13] Bamyan Media set up a digital platform for viewers to access educational videos, mentoring services, and online courses. Viewing parties and networking fairs were organized throughout the country and promoted through the website and social networks. The goal was to inspire young Egyptian entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, boost the economy and create more jobs.[14]

Measuring Impacts

"Demanding Evidence" to Back up Developing World Policies

Bamyan Media, MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the International Labour Organization are measuring the impact of El Mashroua with a randomized controlled trial. They are evaluating the impacts of the television program, online support activities, and networking events targeted at youth on attitudes towards business creation, business practices, business skills, and employment status of young viewers. [15] In 2015 the researchers published the first of their reports,"Evaluating the Effects of Entrepreneurship Edutainment in Egypt: Randomized Controlled Trial Baseline Report," which describes the study sample and how it was chosen. [16] Further reports on study conclusions will follow in late 2016.

White House Summit on Global Development 2016

In June of 2016, Marwa Moaz of Bamyan Media was invited to the White House Summit on Global Development to participate in a panel on "Engaging Generation Now." Marwa discussed the high youth unemployment rates in Egypt, its relationship to social unrest in that country, and efforts by Bamyan Media to use television to educate and engage the under-35 demographic.[17]

References

  1. "The apprentice in Kabul: move over, Kardashians: budding media mogul Anna Elliot takes reality TV global.(BULLETIN)", Marie Claire (Hearst Magazines, a Division of the Hearst Corporation) 19 (3): 193(1), 2012-03-01, ISSN 1081-8626 
  2. Kolodny, Lora. "Bringing a Reality TV Business Competition to Afghanistan". http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/social-entrepreneur-idol-do-good-reality-tv-in-afghanistan/. 
  3. "Reality TV as a power for good? On screen in Egypt". http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/africa/reality-tv-as-a-power-for-good-on-screen-in-egypt-1.2256423. 
  4. "Bamyan Media". http://www.bamyan.org/France. 
  5. "Mulago Foundation". http://mulagofoundation.org/fellows-past/2010. 
  6. "Echoing Green". http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellows/anna-elliot. 
  7. "USAID". https://www.microlinks.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/USAID%20Egypt_Entrepreneurship%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Reality TV show stirs business spirit in Afghanistan". 1 September 2008. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghan-entrepreneurs-idUSISL13086720080901. 
  9. "Afghan Entrepreneurs". https://www.usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories/afghan-entrepreneurs-“dream-and-achieve”. 
  10. "How Anna Elliot's Bamyan Media Used Reality TV to Help Entrepreneurs in Afghanistan". 13 October 2010. http://www.fastcompany.com/1694476/how-anna-elliots-bamyan-media-used-reality-tv-help-entrepreneurs-afghanistan. 
  11. "“Fikr-Wa-Talash” – Reality T.V. meets social entrepreneurship - Youth-Leader". http://www.global.youth-leader.org/2012/12/fikr-wa-talash-reality-t-v-meets-social-entrepreneurship/. 
  12. "En Egypte, téléréalité rime avec création d'entreprise". Le Figaro. http://www.lefigaro.fr/medias/2015/06/20/20004-20150620ARTFIG00013-en-egypte-telerealite-rime-avec-creation-d-entreprise.php. 
  13. "El Mashrou3". http://www.cairoscene.com/LifeStyle/El-Mashrou3. 
  14. "In the Midst of a Revolution, The X Factor Meets The Apprentice - Fair Observer". http://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/in-the-midst-of-a-revolution-the-x-factor-meets-the-apprentice-01247/. 
  15. "Evaluating the Effects of Entrepreneurship Edutainment in Egypt". https://www.povertyactionlab.org/evaluation/evaluating-effects-entrepreneurship-edutainment-egypt. 
  16. "Evaluating the Effects of Entrepreneurship Edutainment in Egypt: Randomized Controlled Trial Baseline Report, September 2015". http://www.ilo.org/employment/Whatwedo/Publications/WCMS_450738/lang--en/index.htm. 
  17. ""The White House Summit on Global Development"". https://www.whitehouse.gov/campaign/globaldevelopment. 

External links