Five organizations were awarded grants from the BMIA Community Media Fund (BMIA-CMF) to improve training and produce independent, reliable news content focused on issues impacting local communities. Recipients include the Association of Media Women in Kenya (Nairobi), which will build on a previous BMIA-CMF grant to strengthen the capacity of citizens and community media journalists to produce and distribute radio documentaries; Friends of Lake Turkana (Lodwar, Kenya), which will use the funds to teach young women how to produce and facilitate interactive radio programs, with a focus on social, economic, and ecological justice issues; the Mtaani Community Based Organization (Nairobi), which will build on an earlier grant to produce radio programs and facilitate public forums in Kajiado and Nairobi counties; the Institute for Media and Society (Lagos, Nigeria), which is focused on promoting better governance, transparency, and accountability with respect to natural resources management at the grassroots level; and Bush Radio (Cape Town, South Africa), which will teach reporters from the ten largest community radio stations in Western Cape Province about financial issues and local government budgetary processes.
The initiative also awarded COVID-19 emergency response grants to Kenya Community Media Network (Nairobi) and The Conversation Africa (Braamfontein, South Africa) in support of their efforts to address misinformation around the pandemic in communities across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.
“The BMIA Community Media Fund was created to improve citizens’ access to reliable news, to elevate marginalized voices, and to advance reporting on socioe-conomic issues that impact regional communities across Africa,” said BMIA director Erana Stennett. “As we confront economic insecurity in the midst of this pandemic, access to reliable local news and information has never been more important, or more under threat due to false and misleading information. We hope that our support will help secure the viability of vital community media organizations to protect the communities they serve.”