Ongoing IPDC projects in the region

  • Malawi: Assessment of Media Development Indicators – In 2016 Malawi was ranked No.66 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, which is a drop from its rank in 2015 which was no 59. Though such is the case, no systematic assessment of Malawi's media landscape based on UNESCO's Media Development Indicators has been carried out. Thus there is no empirically based data and well researched information about the state of the media and how the environment is facilitating media development programs in the country. In terms of creating a conducive environment for the practice of journalism in Malawi, one issue continues to frustrate media practitioners.  Although in 2017 the country finally enacted the Access to Information legislation after twenty years of activism by the media and civil society, the assessment is important to holistically evaluate the state of affairs about the Malawi media landscape. The assessment findings will help develop advocacy strategies to influence policy making and determine the direction that the development of the media environment will take.
  • Malawi: Establishing Chirundu community radio - 80% of Malawi’s population resides in rural areas. Malawi’s presence on the internet is one of the lowest in the world (just over 4%) according to International Telecommunications Union. Mobile phone penetration is at 28% against an average of 76% across Africa. There are only 12 operational geographic community radio stations in Malawi, 1 national broadcaster and 16 operational private sound broadcasters. There are also 20 community of interest or church based radio stations that mainly focus on a specific group of people. Only 2 daily newspapers circulate mainly in urban centres. Malawi’s’ rural populace remains one of the most under informed. Community radios or grassroots media centres stand out as key communication, education and information media for rural Malawians in the modern era. There is reason for optimism given that Malawi’s press freedom is categorized as partly free, and also mobile cellular network land coverage is at 99.5%. The community radio will be established in the area covering Nkhata-Bay and Kapita (in Mzimba, South East region).
  • Regional: Gender and Media Community of Practice for Journalism and Media training – Gender Links (GL) is implementing a project that adds value to the new and innovative ways of teaching that the journalism education is using especially bringing in the concept of gender into the discussion. GL is working with Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) and the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA) to implement the project. The project aims to build the capacity of journalism and media studies students and working journalists on gender and media through engaging with the research findings of the Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS); making the case studies accessible to media trainers through an online database, and supporting further research by students, to be shared in online forums.
  • Swaziland: Development of Distance Learning Programme for Swazi Media Practitioners- Limited training opportunities for practicing journalists in-country are a major challenge, which stifles career growth and development. Journalism training is mainly provided by the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), which offers a four-year degree programmme. A newer establishment, the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, also offers media-related training at undergraduate level. With limited credible academic institutions available locally, working journalists often rely on in-house and external training to broaden their journalistic skills and knowledge base. This inadequate response to working journalists’ training needs contributes to restricting freedom of expression and media pluralism. UNISWA has developed academic programmes to address gaps in skills of local media practitioners. Its Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) recently phased out a three-year diploma programme and upgraded it to a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree. The diploma programme produced 170 graduates, the majority of whom are expected to further their studies to degree level under the new programme. However, since the degree programme’s introduction, less than 10 diploma-holders have graduated from it. A mini-survey by the JMC Department found that media practitioners are not willing to study under a structured full-time academic programme, mainly due to work and personal commitments. Women journalists, especially, struggle to prioritise career development over the demands of family and home life. The majority indicated that they would benefit from a distance learning programme cognizant of their needs, interests and the local context.  The Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) of the University of Swaziland is implementing the project develop a distance learning programme tailored to the needs of working journalists. 
  • Zambia: Marketing Mentorship for Community Radios – The Zambia Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) is implementing a project to contribute to the achievement of demonstrably greater financial health and self-sustainability prospects for Community Radio Stations in Zambia. The project seeks to strengthen the capacity of community radio stations to better market, serve and engage the community through participative marketing strategies. One of the project expected outputs is the development and production of a “Participative Marketing Toolkit” for community radios in Zambia.
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