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 Nigeria, the Institute for Media and Society will receive first-round funding to support the vibrant and growing community media sector. It will implement its project in partnership with the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition and five community radio stations in four states in Nigeria. The Institute for Media and Society currently leads the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition, a community of citizens committed to advancing media pluralism and advocating for the development and expansion of a sustainable community radio sector in Nigeria.
The project will build the capacity of grassroots, community radio stations to strengthen citizens’ engagement and improve transparency and accountability in local governance. Five community radio stations: Nenzit Community Radio, Agba Community Radio, Ejule Nen Community Radio, Lavum Community Radio, and Kakaki Community Radio will be supported by a grant from the Community Media Fund to the Institute for Media and Society.
Paul Nwulu, Programme Officer, Ford Foundation Office for West Africa, said: “For decades, the Ford Foundation has supported innovative media projects and the Community Media Fund is one of 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 in Nigeria and make them a true voice of the voiceless in the society”.
Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director of the Institute for Media and Society added: “The project, informed by the expressed needs of Nigerian grassroots communities, is citizen-centered. It positions community media to contribute to enhancing the capacity of citizens by providing them access to information, equipping them with an improved understanding of business and financial principles, and empowering them to participate in policies and practices that result in the development of their communities.”
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 their 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.”