Overview of the project COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information

From 1 August 2020 onwards, ARTICLE 19, Deutsche Welle Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle, Free Press Unlimited, International Media support and Reporters Without Borders, in collaboration with UNESCO, joined forces to give a rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis in Africa by supporting African media so that they can continue to provide relevant and reliable information to their audiences. This 18-month project entitled COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information is for 95 percent funded by the European Union (4.5 million EUR).

The overall objective of the COVID-19 Response in Africa project is to provide the essential, timely support and materials to independent media and journalists in Sub-Saharan Africa to fulfill their role of providing quality and reliable information and to help them overcome the risks they are facing during the crisis.

The project is divided between 3 main pillars:

  • (1) Provide grants to journalists and media houses in Sub-Saharan Africa allowing them to continue production of quality public interest content to their audiences. It contains the following activities:
    • Provide subgrants to media outlets in 17 Sub-Saharan countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, South Africa). In total approximately 35 medias outlet will be supported in this activity.
      • Deutsche Welle Akademie: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya
      • Fondation Hirondelle: Benin, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal
      • Free Press Unlimited: DRC, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan
      • International Media Support: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
  • Provide emergency grants on a rolling / need-to basis to African journalists and media organisations in the countries beyond the 17 targeted in this action. Over 50 media organisations and media practicioners will benefit from these smaller grants. International Media Support and Free Press Unlimited are responsible for this emergency support.
  • (2) Share best practices among media practitioners and journalists in Africa, by the creation of a secure co-working space (developed by Free Press Unlimited), relevant mentoring opportunities and fact-checking resources accessible to both grantees of the project and trusted journalists and media workers from other parts of Africa. The co-working space will host trainings on fact-checking (by ARTICLE 19) and community engagement (International Media Support). Furthermore, Deutsche Welle Akademie will provide 1 on 1 assessment sessions and tailor-made consultancies for media organisations on business models.
  • (3) Provide effective lobby and advocacy to preserve the rights of freedom of expression and information and access to information at the national, regional, multilateral and global levels, grounded in sound research and monitoring of attacks against journalist, legal analysis and monitoring of policies that impact press freedom. The monitoring will lead to concrete policy recommendations pitched at the national, regional and multilateral levels. ARTICLE 19, Reporters Without Borders and UNESCO (as associate partner) are responsible for the advocacy.

The official launch of the project took place on 28 September (International Day for Universal Access to Information). Read more about the event here.