Latest report: How MFWA empowered voices to demand accountability from duty-bearers

West Africa is rich in resources but often saddled with poverty and political instability as a result of mismanagement and unequal distribution of resources. Active participation in governance processes by the public is one of the sure ways of whipping duty-bearers in line and keeping them on their toes to ensure better utilization of state resources for the benefit of all.

Active participation in governance processes is made possible through an enabling environment where the media and the general public are able to express ideas and opinions in national discourse without fear or favour; where information is readily available to inform decisions and choices; and where community members can engage their local authorities about communal issues and get responses. And that is exactly what the Media Foundation for West Africa’s work in 2022 contributed to achieving.

Through a number of projects and activities, the MFWA empowered over 200 journalists and 120 community members to demand transparency and accountability in the management of public resources by state institutions.

In particular, the MFWA facilitated town hall meetings between community members and local government authorities to enable them engage face-to-face on pertinent developmental issues in their localities. The town hall meetings were broadcast live on partner radio stations which made it possible to reach over one million community members.

Using selected radio programmes as platforms, local government authorities were invited to live radio programmes where community members interacted with them directly through phone calls and messaging applications on developmental issues in their respective communities and their financing.

The organisation also facilitated open dialogue with authorities at the national and regional levels through forums.

In the area of Access to Information (ATI), the MFWA capacitated over 250 journalists and community members with knowledge on ATI laws and how to use the knowledge acquired to get information from public officers. As a result, about 160 ATI requests were filed by both journalists and community members to seek information from public institutions on diverse issues.

The above interventions were complemented by the capacity strengthening of journalists to produce more reports about illicit financial flows (IFFs) and investigative reporting to expose corruption and mismanagement of public resources.

The MFWA also provided training and coaching in investigative journalism to 13 young journalists under the second edition of organisation’s Next Generation Investigative Journalism Fellowship. The 13 Fellows produced more than 30 reports holding duty-bearers to account.

Other significant milestones achieved by the organisation in 2022 include contributing to the release of two journalists who were imprisoned in Nigeria and Senegal, and mediating the reinstating of 77 radio stations after being closed down by authorities in Guinea Bissau.

Click here to read more about our work and achievements across West Africa in 2022.

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