Over the years, our work under this programme has contributed to enhancing and strengthening the capacity of both media institutions and journalists across the region. In 2017, for example, after an intensive two-week in-house capacity development support for the Sierra Leone-based AYV Media Empire, the general manager of the organisation, Angela Angwenyi, wrote:
“I would like to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to Media Foundation for West Africa for having accorded us an opportunity of a lifetime. The last two weeks have been mind-opening for us and our staff. With this 2 week professional enhancement opportunity we are sure that AYV Media Empire will continue to grow into the region’s number one Media House.”
We have offered similar in-house capacity development programmes for a number of other media organisations across the region, achieving the same results as in the case of AYV Media Empire.
Besides the support for wholistic institutional capacity development of media organisations, we have also trained over 250 individual journalists from across the region in the last three years alone and over 1,000 in the last decade. Such trainings have covered areas such as investigative journalism, data journalism, participatory and accountable governance reporting, news programming, editing, documentary production among others. A regional network of investigative journalists has also been set up recently to facilitate cross-border investigations.
While we consider evidence of enhanced capacity among media and journalists as a significant milestone, what we recognise as ultimate success is when the supported media institutions and their journalists use their enhanced capacity, knowledge and skills to help foster inclusive, transparent and accountable governance. We are happy to say that a considerable number of the media institutions and journalists we have supported over the years, are doing just that – driving participation, transparency and accountability through journalism.
The journalists and media houses we have supported continue to produce high quality investigative reports, documentaries and features that are holding public officials to account and getting them to respond and act on the delivery of public goods and services and better use of state resources.
At the local levels, the programme has successfully nurtured a culture of information exchange through the media (both traditional and new media) among community citizens and local government authorities in a number of local Districts.
For example, in a number of target districts in Ghana, local authorities have been supported to develop communication strategies. They have also been trained to implement the communication strategies for effective information exchange with the citizenry. Authorities in such assemblies also engage in quarterly radio broadcast known as the ‘State of the District’ to update the public on state of affairs in the local area and to also respond to questions from the citizenry about development and utilisation of resources.