At least 3 African countries receive funding to advance community based media

The Bloomberg Media Initiative-Africa in partnership with the Ford Foundation have awarded grants to 10 non-governmental organisations in at least three countries on the continent.

In an interview with News24, Programme Manager for the Bloomberg Media Initiative, Aguil Deng, said the initiative was aimed at advancing market transparency, enhancing access to information about business, finance, policies and practices "that impact inclusive economic growth and human development".

Deng said that the funds were awarded over a period of two years and were aimed at "elevating voices from local communities" and further the development of citizen journalism and community reporting on financial and economic issues.

"We wanted local voices to be heard. A lot of the content come from news agencies and they don't reach the local people. The organisations that have been awarded funding have to demonstrate that they are going to do training and would also have to show that they would continue to give media training and education," said Deng. 

South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria were among the countries that benefitted from the initiative.

One of the organisations that received funding was the Sonke Gender Justice network which focussed on media training in conjunction with community radio stations in Gauteng. The group also produced radio programmes centred on gender equality and gender based violence. 

Violence against women

Karen Robertson from Sonke Gender Justice network told News24 that the funding was huge and meant more people were likely to be reached by the human rights advocacy group.

Robertson said that the group had just received funding to run 4 minutes miniseries programmes that were aimed at teaching people about gender equality, human rights and gender based violence.

"Sonke works with community radio stations across the country, and through these partnerships, it is able to reach communities large and small in many languages to shape and inform public discussions about gender, HIV and Aids and human rights. We give training to the radio presenters who are driving these discussions on radio and on social media," said Robertson.

She said that through the funding, they had been able to build more capacity from their already existing partnership with the South African National Taxi Council to fight violence against women within the taxi industry.

"The playing of drama programmes in taxis is a bit of a challenge, but we do have solid taxi drivers who are playing our programmes in their taxis. We do feel that the playing of these programmes in the taxis is also going to be one of the ways that we are going to be able to reach more people," she said. 

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