The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa and the Ford Foundation awarded grants to ten non-governmental organizations across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa to advance market transparency, and enhance access to information about business and finance, policies and practices that impact inclusive economic growth and human development.
The funds, awarded over two years, aim to elevate voices from local communities and further the development of citizen journalism and community reporting on financial and economic issues. Funding is provided by the Community Media Fund, a US$1million fund established in 2015 as part of the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, which itself launched a year prior to advance business journalism on the continent.
Erana Stennett, Director, Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, said: “Using traditional, digital and mobile technology, these grant recipients are working to inform and empower poor and marginalized communities about business and economic issues that impact their lives.” In South Africa, the grantees are:
- The Conversation Africa: an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public. The Conversation’s project will generate financial, economic and business related content, identify and established new relationships with communities, and introduce new forms of digital media.
- The Graça Machel Trust’s Women in Media Network (WIMN): a pan-African network of 39 influential female journalists, bloggers, researchers, authors and poets from 15 countries challenging the current perceptions of women and children in the media. WIMN will use
their grant to source and distribute content related to business and economics and its impact on women and children.
- Radio KC: a leading community radio station reaching more than 72,000 listeners on a weekly basis. Their project will provide dynamic radio programs focusing on basic financial literacy.
- Sonke Gender Justice: an organization which works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen’s capacity to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. Their project will use community radio stations to raise public awareness about social and gender justice issues, particularly women’s rights and access to justice.
- Wits Radio Academy: A training organization based within the Department of Journalism at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Wits Radio Academy will use their grant to build the capacity of community radio stations to produce and disseminate informative, objective content that helps improve the quality of independent broadcasting. The Academy will also develop new ways of using radio to improve the public’s access to information.
Paul Nwulu Program Officer, Ford Foundations Office for West Africa, said: “For decades, the Ford Foundation has supported innovative media projects and the Community Media Fund is one such projects. No media system represents the voice of the people like community media outlets and it is our hope that this support will help strengthen the community and campus media ecosystem and make them a true voice of the voiceless in the society.”
Ms. Lerato Makate, Executive Producer of Wits Radio Academy added: “This initiative by the Community Media Fund will enable the roll out of a capacity-building program combined with content-production and broadcasting for community radio stations in five provinces of South Africa.
This will go a long way in responding to challenges in the community radio sector, which have grown phenomenally in the last few years but is still plagued by skills shortages and a lack of sustainable funding, among other issues.”
Hivos East Africa will manage the Community Media Fund and provide technical assistance to the media organizations throughout the grant process. In addition, the Community Media Fund will enhance the financial literacy of citizens, improve access to relevant data, and build the capacity of community media to strengthen accountability and governance through improved analysis and reporting. Mendi Njonjo, Regional Director of Hivos East Africa said: “The Community Media Fund will help citizens take control of their lives and influence their local community development, particularly in the context of ensuring public funds are utilized transparently and legitimately.”
For more information, please contact:
Charlotte Love, Portland Communications (London)
Tel: +44 20 7554 1743
Simon Crump, Portland Communications (Nairobi)
Tel: +254 791 398 792
About Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA)
In February 2014, Michael R. Bloomberg announced the launch of the BMIA, a pan-African program to provide cross disciplinary education programs to strengthen business and economic journalism, convene African and international leaders to examine global best practices in business journalism and the media sector, and improve access to economic data in Africa. The BMIA is designed to accelerate development of a globally competitive media and financial reporting industry in Africa to increase transparency, good governance, investment and economic growth on the continent.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
The BMIA furthers Michael R. Bloomberg’s philanthropic efforts on the continent. Bloomberg’s foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, works in more than 120 countries around the world and supports projects in more than 36 countries across Africa; project areas include women’s economic development, malaria research, maternal health, road safety, tobacco control and helping cities reduce their carbon footprints through C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
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About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For over 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the front lines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. FordFoundation.org
About Hivos East Africa
Hivos is an international organization that seeks new solutions to persistent global issues. With smart projects in the right places, we oppose discrimination, inequality, abuse of power and the unsustainable use of our planet’s resources. Counterbalance alone, however, is not enough. Our primary focus is achieving structural change. This is why we cooperate with innovative businesses, citizens and their organizations. We share a dream with them of sustainable economies and inclusive societies