Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Projects

AFRICA

Working in some of the most complex operating environments across the continent, IWPR’s programming in Africa assists citizens in making informed decisions on issues that affect their daily lives and gives voice to the voiceless on critical topics such as human rights and impunity. 

 

Democratic Republic of Congo

IWPR helped increase public safety in North and South Kivu in eastern DRC through the production of a secure, reliable and sustainable Early Warning System (EWS) in these provinces, in a two-year project ending in early 2014. The EWS allowed community and police observers to warn the authorities of potential threats and outbreaks of violence via SMS texting. The reports were verified, monitored, disseminated and digitally mapped, contributing to greater and more cohesive responsiveness to threats. At the end of IWPR's involvement the sustainability of the EWS was ensured when its management was taken over by the Civil Protection Divisions of Goma and Bukavu.

The creation of the EWS was accompanied by capacity building for local community observers and police personnel through training sessions on the use of the system.

In the same region, IWPR has provided training and ongoing support to a network of 25 women journalists engaged in region-specific reporting on human rights, gender-based violence, and justice. Spanning North and South Kivu, the network is viewed locally as an important step towards redressing the current gender imbalance in the media. It has also ensured a greater voice for women and women's rights groups in the region.

The work was carried out in conjunction with the Kivus Radio Network (consisting of seven partner radio stations), Organization Femmes de Media Kivus (AFEM), Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes des Violences Sexuelles  (SFVVS) and the Voices of Africa Media Foundation.

Our journalists produced regular print articles, mobile phone video productions and magazine-style radio programmes, and hosted live radio debates. The bi-weekly radio programme Face à la Justice focused on human rights, rule of law and justice issues. Episodes tackled topics such as corruption within the judiciary, land disputes, sexual violence and the conflict with the rebel group M23. The radio programmes were broadcast in French and Swahili on seven radio stations and reached millions of people in North and South Kivu as well as parts of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.

In addition to the core network, ten women journalists received training in video reporting with the assistance of IWPR’s partner, Voices of Africa Media Foundation. They filmed and edited short video reports using mobile phones. The use of this discreet media tool, as well as reporters’ understanding of their own communities, allowed them to produce unique, untold stories. The productions can be viewed on IWPR’s DRC platform, Uhakinews.net.

Training and working with the journalist network has had a lasting impact on the media landscape in the Kivus. Within their radio stations, women trained by IWPR have since been promoted to senior positions that were previously inaccessible to them. Overall, the local media in the Kivus has benefitted from in-depth reporting that has informed and engaged large audiences on important issues.

For programme outputs see:

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Contact Africa Director

 

Kenya

IWPR’s journalism training and reporting work in Kenya has demonstrated that an investment in a select group of media partners and individuals leads to more responsible local reporting and a constructive public debate. This included the Reporting Kenya project, which targeted both mainstream and community media, and was part of the environment that contributed to a largely peaceful general election in 2013. A primary goal of the project – to use media to guide the public debate and channel tensions away from violence – was achieved by countering misinformation and exposing both media and public officials that try to stir hostilities.

Credible, independent journalism uncovered sensitive issues around developments in the fields of justice and security in Kenya. Meanwhile, multimedia reporting and regular public debates in Nairobi created space for people to make positive contributions to upholding human rights and advancing the rule of law.

The high-quality reporting had a ripple effect on local media and received praise from IWPR’s media partners, lawyers, civil society advocates, public officials and diplomats.

IWPR Kenya’s private Facebook group acted as a safe and productive meeting place for our journalists and editors to fact-check their stories, share documents and, when appropriate, to discuss concerns about the political and media landscape. The group served as a strong model of virtual community-building.

For programme outputs see:

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Contact Africa Director

 

Malawi

In the run-up to the May 2014 general elections in Malawi, IWPR supported civil society efforts to ensure a legitimate and transparent voting process and to promote informed participation by voters.

We delivered editorial training and mentoring to strengthen the skills of a network of print, broadcast and online journalists, resulting in accurate and unbiased election reporting. The project provided these journalists with an improved grasp of election-related journalism and a solid grounding in their rights and obligations under Malawi’s media laws. Reporters also gained a deeper understanding of best practices in international journalism.

In collaboration with the National Democratic Institute and local academic and media institutions, IWPR also carried out a comprehensive media monitoring project for the period before and after the presidential, parliamentary and local government polls. In all, 33 media outlets were examined, including print, radio, television, online and social media, in both the private and the state sectors. The news output was monitored in three cycles, two before and one after the presidential, parliamentary and local government polls, and three reports were produced as a result giving an assessment of political bias, objectivity and fairness in the reporting. The project exposed areas of bias and unequal coverage in the media, and also highlighted improvements in coverage since the previous election. It created a robust model for future election reporting monitoring.

The project was part of the Malawi Electoral and Decentralisation Activity programme, supported by the USAID and DFID. Four local organisations assisted with implementation – the Polytechnic and Chancellor College (both part of the University of Malawi), the Malawi Institute of Journalism, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

For programme outputs see:

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Contact Africa Director

 

Mauritania

IWPR previously worked in Mauritania to strengthen immediate and longer-term capacity among news editors and working journalists to improve the overall quality of political reporting in the Mauritanian media.

More specifically, the project raised basic journalistic standards through a series of practical skills-based interventions, combining training, production support, and mentoring to encourage professionalism and confidence. This provided beneficiaries with a thorough grounding in understanding their rights and obligations under the Mauritanian legal framework; ethics and best practices in international journalism; the skills to improve and develop news values and objective reporting capacity. Journalists and editors also received training and guidance on the role of the media as democratic advocates, as well as on the fundamentals of political reporting.

The project was delivered in the partnership with Regroupement de la Presse Mauritanienne (RPM) and was supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Contact Africa Director

 

Nigeria

IWPR is currently operating two projects in Nigeria.

Open Minds Nigeria builds upon IWPR’s previous Open Minds programming in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and works to strengthen critical thinking, support civic networks and bolster employment potential for young people in northern Nigeria. Open Minds Nigeria is currently a pilot project working across 6 schools in the 3 states of Bauchi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Kano. Open Minds Nigeria is supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

AccessNG meanwhile involves supporting investigative journalists who are helping to build institutional transparency and accountability in the country. Following intensive training in investigative journalism, journalists have been awarded small grants to enable them to produce investigative stories on a wide range of issues centred around corruption, each benefitting from the assistance of an experienced country-based mentor. This project is supported by PartnersGlobal as part of a grant from the United States Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

For programme outputs see:

Contact Africa Director

 

Rwanda

IWPR previously worked in Rwanda advising the government of Rwanda on a comprehensive media reform programme. The initiative has assisted in the passage of a wide range of reform legislation to transform the state broadcaster and restructure media regulation. IWPR has also supported the independent media sector and creative industries in Rwanda, and previously managed the Rwanda Creative Hub, the first startup accelerator in Rwanda. 

For programme outputs see:

Satellite sites:

Contact Africa Director

 

Sierra Leone

IWPR recently concluded the AccessSL programme in Sierra Leone which supported investigative journalists to build institutional transparency and accountability in the country. Following intensive training in investigative journalism, journalists were awarded small grants to enable them to produce investigative stories on a wide range of issues centred around corruption, each benefitting from the assistance of an experienced country-based mentor. This project was supported by PartnersGlobal as part of a grant from the United States Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. 

For programme outputs see:

Contact Africa Director

 

Sudan & South Sudan

IWPR previously worked in South Sudan and border areas of Sudan to establish a small network of women journalists to produce a radio series, Nadhrat al-Shafafa, on women’s and human rights issues. The programmes were broadcast by radio stations across the country in a number of languages and gave women a stronger voice. 

Episodes in the series discussed economic, social, and cultural rights, including the provision of affordable healthcare. For women and girls, access to fundamental human rights is frequently limited due to discrimination, lack of education, poverty, and gender violence. The challenges are particularly acute in the areas of sexual and reproductive health rights and safe motherhood. The radio programmes discussed subjects previously considered taboo, and this led to listeners to start talking more openly about such issues.

Nadhrat al-Shafafa was the only radio programme covering gender issues in these areas and helped to build awareness of women’s socioeconomic rights, increasing their self-esteem and confidence. Those involved in the production of the radio programmes also learned new skills in journalism and human rights, helping improve the quality of outputs across participating radio stations.

For programme outputs see:

Contact Africa Director

 

Uganda

IWPR’s work in northern Uganda involved training and mentoring broadcast journalists too produce the bi-weekly radio programme Facing Justice. The programme was produced in English and in the Ateso, Lugbara and Luo languages for broadcast on ten radio stations across the region. The show had a combined estimated audience of almost nine million people.

The radio series was supported by community debates, listener group discussions and legal awareness training on domestic and gender-based violence. The programmes addressed issues that are critical to the livelihoods and wellbeing of people in the region, contributing significantly to the shows' popularity.

Facing Justice highlighted several key human rights issues and called for action on a number of fronts in northern Uganda. For example, it highlighted flaws in the resettlement of people displaced by rebel conflict in the north. The combination of training in radio skills and legal awareness also had a positive influence on people's behaviour. For instance, after police received legal training, and following a radio series on gender-based violence, more cases of violence were reported and successfully prosecuted.

For programme outputs see:

Contact Africa Director

 

Zimbabwe

Established to provide support to reporters during the 2005 presidential election, IWPR’s Zimbabwe programming developed a network of experienced journalists and civil society organisations. Investigative reporting capacity was developed and an information-starved public has benefitted from the skills journalists have gained.

More recent programming in 2011-2013 has continued this tradition, focusing particularly on supporting investigative reporting in the country.

For programme outputs see:

Contact Africa Director