By Foday Moriba Conteh
In an effort to enhance public awareness and engagement in the realm of digital public infrastructure (DPI) and digital public goods (DPGs), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), based in Accra, Ghana, in partnership with Co-Develop, on the 18th July, 2023 announced the launch of a regional journalism fellowship program for journalists in West Africa.
It must be noted that with an increasing focus on digitization to drive economic transformation and improve public service delivery, Governments across Africa have been investing significantly in DPI. However, despite the growing adoption of DPI and DPGs, public awareness and engagement have remained low.
The newly introduced journalism fellowship program aims to address that gap by equipping West African journalists with the necessary knowledge and skills to produce high-quality and impactful reports on DPI/DPGs. By doing so, the program seeks to increase public access to information on DPI/DPGs and promote public awareness and engagement in policy formulation and implementation across West Africa.
Selected journalists for the fellowship will participate in a comprehensive three-month program, spanning from September to November 2023. The fellowship will comprise training workshops, mentorship, and story production, empowering journalists to create informed narratives on DPI/DPGs. Following the fellowship, participating journalists will continue their engagement through network activities and ongoing story production on DPI/DPG issues.
The fellowship program will incorporate a combination of virtual and in-person components. During the first six weeks and the last four weeks, fellows will engage virtually with mentors and trainers. Additionally, in the 7th and 8th weeks, participants will convene in Accra, Ghana, for further in-person experience-sharing sessions and peer-to-peer interaction.
Each fellow is expected to produce a minimum of two significant stories on DPI/DPGs by the conclusion of the fellowship. These stories will be published in their respective media organizations. Moreover, upon completion of the program, fellows will receive a certificate of participation.
Applications are open to journalists from the following countries: Benin, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Togo. Eligible applicants must have a minimum of three years of journalism experience and be proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English, French, or Portuguese. Candidates must commit to the three-month fellowship and an additional three months of post-fellowship DPI/DPGs activities, including story production. Successful applicants will also be required to travel and spend two weeks in Ghana.
The fellowship program offers several benefits to participants, including training and mentorship opportunities, a monthly stipend of $500 to fellows and $700 to their respective media organizations to support story production, publication, and programming. Fellows will also be eligible to apply for DPI/DPGs Reporting Grants. Accommodation, feeding, and health insurance coverage will be provided for the in-person convening in Ghana.
The selection process for the fellowship is a merit-based open competition. Applications will be reviewed after the deadline, and shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview. Final selections will be made based on the overall assessment. Female journalists are strongly encouraged to apply.
Interested applicants should complete the fellowship application form, which includes a statement of interest explaining their motivation to participate (maximum of 350 words), a CV with two referees, a statement of support from their media organization, and a copy of any national identification. The deadline for applications is August 7, 2023.
Please note that only shortlisted applicants will receive email notifications.
For further information or clarification, kindly reach out to the MFWA at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Abigail Larbi at abigail[@]mfwa.org and Vivian Affoah at vivian[@]mfwa.org.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is a regional independent, non-profit organization that promotes media freedom, freedom of expression, and independent journalism in West Africa.
Co-Develop is a leading international organization dedicated to supporting digital innovation and development in emerging economies.