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Media & Civil Society

The mobilisation of the civil society through a broad network of CSOs, and the development of independent media are critical in the early stage of state building to foster public debate and ensure the transparency of institutions.

Altai Consulting has developed a strong expertise in mapping and analysing civil society organisations and assessing their potential role in advocacy and as an alternative to public services delivery. Our media experts have designed innovative methodologies to map out media landscape, analyse audiences, monitor media content and support media support strategies in the most sensitive environments.

Middle East Formative Research for Ahlan Simsim Children TV Programme – The IRC & Sesame Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon


With funding from the Mac Arthur foundation, Sesame Workshop, the historical producer of “Sesame Street” children programme, has worked in collaboration with the IRC to support refugee and host community children in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Altai Consulting Middle East has been commissioned as a research partner by Sesame Workshop to conduct successive rounds of formative research with the aim of always adapting the programme to better fit children's needs, interests and understanding capacities.

Altai has conducted so far:


  • A first round of research testing three episodes of Season 1 through 90 interviews with refugees, host children and their caregivers in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon

  • One round of research testing three storyboards of future episodes of Season 2 through 36 FGDs with refugees, host children, and their caregivers in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon

  • One round of research testing 6 storyboards of future episodes of Season 4 through 144 interviews with refugees, host children, and their caregivers in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon


Assessment of Information Needs of Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – EU


Altai conducted a baseline survey on media and information needs of Syrian refugees and host communities that supported CFI programmatic choices on the EU, MADAD-funded program Qudra 1, in terms of type of content, formats, channels to broadcast on and audiences. Two years after the initial survey, CFI needed a new round of research to serve the following purposes:

  • Update the baseline survey and identify significant changes on the variables that were measured at the time and complement it by exploring in further detail the information gaps, the trust in media and the inter-community relations between hosts and refugees

  • Assess, demonstrate and qualify the impact of the communication campaigns that CFI has conducted over the past two years

A series of in-depth qualitative case studies were designed with highly diversified social groups in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, with over 250 respondents from Syrian refugees and host communities, combined with a social media analysis of CFI videos on Facebook (reach and reactions) and a comparison with most popular pages mentioned by respondents. The impact of CFI campaigns was measured through the triangulation of the impact evaluation and content testing through triangulation of data from the case studies and the SMA.


Civil Society Mapping in Post-revolution Libya – FCDO

Altai was commissioned by the FCDO to carry out an assessment of the Libyan NGO/CSO sector to support the design of a range of programmes. Research was conducted in 6 major urban centres (Benghazi, Tripoli, Misrata, Sebha, Tobruk and Beida).

The project achieved the following objectives:

  • Providing an overview of the civil society landscape in Libya and gaining a more in-depth understanding of Libyan CSOs, their capacities and needs

  • Evaluating the impact on civil society of the conflict that erupted in the Summer of 2014

  • Identifying >100 local CSOs able to contribute to the development of the country that may be reliable counterparts for HMG and other international donors

  • Suggesting practical and effective ways in which the international community can support Libyan civil society during the crisis through researched programming



Assessment of the Media Landscape, Audience Research, Analysis of the Impact of the Media on Opinions & Behaviours in Afghanistan – USAID/OTI

As major investments were being made by the international community in terms of Media Development and communication strategy to support the country’s stabilisation & development, Altai Consulting was mandated by USAID & Internews to assess the state of the Afghan Media,  get a comprehensive picture of audience, programme preferences, and measure the impact of the Afghan Media on opinions and behaviours, together with Afghans expectations in terms of programming & messaging. These three comprehensive 6-month assignments include quantitative and qualitative research components to track Media consumptions. 34 Provinces were covered, with interviews of over 7,000 individuals in 100 districts. The study also included numerous key informant interviews of Media professionals in the country to map out the Media scene and understand the business models and potential of each selected Media outlet, and the design of a rating tool to measure specific audiences across media along the week.

Post-Revolution Media Landscape Assessment and Follow-up Survey – FCDO

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office contracted Altai Consulting to conduct an in-depth assessment of the Libyan media landscape and media consumption patterns as a follow-up to the rapid assessment of the Libyan media landscape conducted by Altai. The study was designed to:

  • Identify key public and private media institutions and development programmes, at a national level and in six key cities, and identify the changes that have occurred over the last twelve months;

  • Identify the major Libyan public and private media channels, including printed media (daily and weekly newspapers and magazines), radio, terrestrial and satellite television;

  • For the top five most popular channels in each media category, identify the audience share and typology, distribution volume/access, typical content, frequencies (where relevant), approximate popularity, ownership, political affiliation and financing models;

  • Understand quantitatively levels of Internet access nationwide, and in the key cities, together with current trends in Internet use and in the development of social media, in particular twitter and Facebook;

  • Identify auxiliary public and private media organisations, including news agencies, production centres, etc.


Evaluation of the ACME Program Impact  – AUSAID

Altai Consulting has been contracted to monitor and evaluate the Afghan Capacity for Media and elections Programme (ACME), funded by AUSAID and implemented by Internews. Altai Consulting designed the monitoring and evaluation framework to evaluate the impact of ACME on knowledge, understanding and practice around the electoral process. The research project includes perception surveys, in-depth interviews with journalists and impact-analysis of online elections resources. So far, Altai Consulting has completed a baseline study and a mid-term review of ACME, and it will conduct the second mid-term report after the Afghan presidential elections.

Evaluation of Radio Tamazuj / Free Press Unlimited – Free Press Unlimited

Altai Consulting has been contracted by Free Press Unlimited to conduct the Radio Tamazuj monitoring and evaluation programme. This includes a quantitative baseline survey, two qualitative in-line assessments (Focus Group Discussions), and finally a quantitative end-line final assessment. The overall objective of the M&E programme is to assess the existing level of Radio Tamazuj’s listenership in areas targeted by its current programming as compared to other media and to non-listeners, as well as to areas where Radio Tamazuj seeks to expand. Key indicators will be created in collaboration with Free Press Unlimited, as these will be tracked throughout the life of the M&E programme.

Evaluation of Radio Ergo

The aim of this evaluation was to provide strategic direction to Radio Ergo (RE), International Media Support (IMS) and the project’s funders, based on an assessment of (i) ‘RE’s performance in delivering on its objectives, outputs and activities, (ii) ‘the value attached to RE’s programming by Somali listeners, humanitarian organisations working with the project and RE’s FM partners’, and (iii) ‘the outcomes of RE’s training with Somali journalists and correspondents in terms of strengthening reporting for RE and the Somali media landscape in general’. The report incorporates a collection of the most informative results from this research, which were conducted across 12 districts in South-Central and Puntland regions of Somalia. Overall, the project involved interviewing 601 randomly selected respondents, with a 79-question questionnaire, together with 46 Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) with stakeholders including radio partners, Stringers (or local correspondents) and humanitarian organisations.

Baseline & Endline of the AMDEP Media Programme – USAID

Altai was appointed by USAID and Internews to conduct a comprehensive baseline and a set of endline studies in support of the AMDEP programme (Afghanistan Media Development & Empowerment Program), a 3-year programme that aimed at building the capacity and sustainability of Afghan independent media.

To this purpose, Altai developed a set of tools that were adapted to each program activity:

  • Specific sets of tools were developed to assess the impact of multimedia centres that were initiated by the AMDEP program in partnership with local NGOs. This included the interview of a number of users of the centres in their opening phase (baseline) and then again 18 months later; the analysis of pieces of multimedia content produced by the trainees; as well as visits to the media centres that involved observations of activities, and interviews of managers, trainers, and other local NGO representatives;

  • To evaluate general media development and the scope for content improvement, a baseline survey was designed and implemented in 10 treatment and 2 control provinces;

  • To evaluate training activities targeted at media managers and journalists, trainees were interviewed before the training (baseline), as well as a few weeks after, in order to measure their perception of the training and its impact on their activity. Pieces of media content were also selected before and after the training and assessed based on a formal media content methodology.

For each layer of monitoring, the Altai monitoring team provided Internews and its partners with concrete recommendations for programme improvement and future evaluations to be conducted.

Evaluating Camera as Voice Programme for Informing Youth – IREX

Altai Consulting was mandated by IREX Europe to conduct an evaluation of its ‘Camera as Voice’ programme, which aimed to educate Yemeni youth about social radicalism caused by unemployment, limited roles of women in the community, qat chewing, AIDs, and religious extremism. The programme involved youth creating short films about social problems in their towns and cities and screening these films in universities. The youths were supported by a network of NGOs supported technically by IREX Europe.

Altai’s involvement involved assessment of the umbrella NGO in charge of implementing and monitoring the programme from Sanaa. Altai’s evaluation team visited five cities around the country and assessed the work done the local NGOs, and the direct and indirect impact on beneficiaries. The evaluation was based on 1-to-1 interviews with partner NGOs management teams, focus groups, film screening, data analysis (exit interviews) and film-screening to review the variety and quality of the products developed. The results were used by IREX Europe in the design of the second programme phase.

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