An independent review of the Relay programme took place between October 2010 and February 2011 and included field visits to five programme focus countries – Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and India – and over 60 interviews with project staff and beneficiaries.
The purpose of the review, which was carried out by ITAD, was to identify, synthesise and share the knowledge of the Panos Relay team and their partners after five years of project implementation to build the media’s capacity to report research.
The resulting synthesis report offers insights about how to work with project team staff and beneficiaries to articulate and better understand project logic and interventions through the use of participatory evaluation tools including problem trees, force fields, stakeholder analysis and most importantly, a theory of change.
It also highlights the varied and nuanced ways in which media coverage might have affects in the ‘real world’ such as feedback from readers, further media coverage, take-up of stories in mainstream media, stimulation of lobby activity, and changes in the way governments talk about an issue.
The report corroborates programme findings that work to build the skills of journalist and research and build new relationships between them, including breaking down negative stereotypes, can lead to improved capacity of media to report research and new media content that draws on research as a source to talk about critical development issues.
Finally, the report suggests a way forward for strengthening monitoring and evaluation in this and other research uptake capacity building programmes by showing the value of involving programme staff and beneficiaries in developing project logic and indicators of success, focusing on boundary partners directly reached by the project as central to determining and being part of the changes that take place. In doing so, the findings of the report should be of interest to other research, media and research uptake organisations.