Africa

IWPR Africa gives voice to the voiceless on critical topics such as human rights and impunity. Working in some of the most complex operating environments across the continent, IWPR programming in Africa helps citizens to make informed decisions on issues that affect their daily lives. Programming includes supporting investigative reporters, combatting Covid-19 misinformation, and building communities of journalists and media professionals to identify and expose disinformation networks and narratives.

IWPR reporters Melanie (centre) and to the right Marie, wearing white, green and yellow top, on assignment in Kibua, October 2010. © Tom Bradley

Democratic Republic of the 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 support to a network of 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. 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.

Years active: 2011-2014

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Graffiti artists pose in front of their latest mural advocating safety practices to curb the spread of coronavirus, April 29, 2020, Nairobi. © Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Kenya

IWPR has operated in Kenya extensively over the previous decade, and has two ongoing projects.

IWPR’s Voices for Change project (2017-present) - which is being implemented in Kenya and Nigeria - has seen a range of successful journalistic investigations and CSO advocacy campaigns. The project is supporting human rights defenders, civil society groups, and journalists to work together to effectively raise public awareness and launch robust advocacy campaigns related to human rights violations. Encouraging the use of investigative reporting tools and techniques across a diverse range of actors, it is hoped that the project will ultimately lead to an increase in prosecutions related to human rights violations. Voices for Change runs in collaboration with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in Nigeria, and Africa Uncensored in Kenya.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Voices for Change has shifted to support investigations into human rights abuses caused by the pandemic and its response, and to tackle coronavirus-related disinformation by providing online training and financially supporting fact-checkers.  This included the re-development and launch of IWPR’s FakeWatch.Africa website in July 2020, which combines fact-checking reports from Nigeria and Kenya with the FakeWatch Academy, providing extensive ‘how-to’ resources in English and local languages in the field of tackling disinformation and propaganda.

IWPR’s new Africa Resilience Network programme (2019-present) aims to expose Covid-19 disinformation in both Nigeria and Kenya. A network of beneficiaries will receive expert training in the latest tools and techniques to identify and expose disinformation as well as support to develop, publish and promote research and reporting exposing untruths around Covid-19. Work will focus on open-source intelligence and network analysis, with access to mentors to provide personal and professional support. The Africa Resilience Network marks another IWPR collaboration with Africa Uncensored and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), along with the Centre for Information Resilience.

Years active: 2011-present

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© Freepik

Malawi

In the run-up to both the May 2014 and May 2019 general elections in Malawi, IWPR supported civil society efforts to ensure a legitimate and transparent voting process and to promote informed participation by voters.

During both election cycles IWPR 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 projects provided 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 comprehensive media monitoring projects for the period before and after the presidential, parliamentary and local government polls. A wide number of 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 from previous elections.

In 2019, this work was further complemented by the development of FakeWatch.Africa, a website dedicated to improving abilities in Malawi - and later Kenya and Nigeria - to counter disinformation, misinformation, and so-called ‘fake news’. The website included a first-of-its-kind fact checking portal, learning materials for journalists and civic activists working to counter dis/misinformation, and acted as a central point for a series of training exercises in-country with journalists and social media influencers.

Years active: 2015-2019

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).

Years active: 2012-2013

Open Minds Nigeria project trainees at an event held in May 2018. © IWPR

Nigeria

IWPR has an extensive track record in Nigeria, and is currently operating two projects in-country; ‘Voices for Change’ and the ‘Africa Resilience Network’.

IWPR’s Voices for Change project (2017-present) - which is being implemented in Kenya and Nigeria - has seen a range of successful journalistic investigations and CSO advocacy campaigns. The project is supporting human rights defenders, civil society groups, and journalists to work together to effectively raise public awareness and launch robust advocacy campaigns related to human rights violations. Encouraging the use of investigative reporting tools and techniques across a diverse range of actors, it is hoped that the project will ultimately lead to an increase in prosecutions related to human rights violations. Voices for Change runs in collaboration with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) in Nigeria, and Africa Uncensored in Kenya.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Voices for Change has shifted to support investigations into human rights abuses caused by the pandemic and its response, and to tackle coronavirus-related disinformation by providing online training and financially supporting fact-checkers.  This included the re-development and launch of IWPR’s FakeWatch.Africa website in July 2020, which combines fact-checking reports from Nigeria and Kenya with the FakeWatch Academy, providing extensive ‘how-to’ resources in English and local languages in the field of tackling disinformation and propaganda.

IWPR’s new Africa Resilience Network programme (2019-present) aims to expose Covid-19 disinformation in both Nigeria and Kenya. A network of beneficiaries will receive expert training in the latest tools and techniques to identify and expose disinformation as well as support to develop, publish and promote research and reporting exposing untruths around Covid-19. Work will focus on open-source intelligence and network analysis, with access to mentors to provide personal and professional support. The Africa Resilience Network marks another IWPR collaboration with Africa Uncensored and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), along with the Centre for Information Resilience.

Previous projects in Nigeria include ‘Open Minds’, supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which built upon IWPR’s previous Open Minds programming in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The project worked to strengthen critical thinking, support civic networks and bolster employment potential for young people in northern Nigeria, operating across schools in the 3 states of Bauchi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Kano. AccessNG meanwhile involved supporting 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.

Years active: 2011-present

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Rwanda

IWPR previously worked in Rwanda advising the government of Rwanda on a comprehensive media reform programme. The initiative 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.

Years active: 2012-2016

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Sierra Leonean investigative reporter Silas Gbandia. © S. Gbandia

Sierra Leone

IWPR’s AccessSL programme in Sierra Leone 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.

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Gathering interviews for Nadhrat al-Shafafa. © IWPR

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.

Years active: 2013-2016

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.

Years active: 2013-2016

IWPR Uganda trainee Giliian Lamunu working on a radio story. © IWPR

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.

Years active: 2011-2013

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President Mugabe being interviewed after voting in 2005 Zimbabwean parliamentary elections. © IWPR

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 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.

Years active: 2005-2015

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