DW Akademie works in Southern Africa to foster informed communities that engage in constructive dialogue.
As the media and information landscape is changing dramatically, DW Akademie’s focus has turned to empowering users, media professionals, and civil society to shape the digital information environment: To building capacity in order to train youth on Media and Information Literacy (MIL); to foster skills, promote viable and innovative journalism; and to strengthen civil society to defend the right to Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. DW Akademie works to connect people and organizations who share a commitment to free expression across the region.
The number of internet users in Southern Africa has more than doubled in just six years, between 2013 and 2018. In 2019, half of Namibia’s media users got their news on the Internet and on social media platforms. An average of 90 out of 100 people in Southern Africa have a mobile phone. In Eswatini, 58% of mobile phones have Internet access. In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp accounts for half of the country’s Internet traffic, and several media outlets view WhatsApp as their main channel to convey news to users.
Media and Information Literacy (MIL) - Engaged media users
Disinformation, hate speech, avalanches of information: Media users are increasingly compelled to learn how to navigate digital information spaces. In Namibia, the College of the Arts and DW Akademie launched the Media and Information Literacy Learning Initiative (MiLLi*). A network of youth facilitators and youth organizations offers MIL training in every region of the country. The MiLLi* approach: Learning-by-doing, facilitating interactive and engaging workshops and working with a community of motivated facilitators who train around 500 youth each year on critically using media. Since 2018, MiLLi* has extended its work beyond Namibian borders.
Journalism - Skills, viability and innovation
From lively community radio reporters to hard-hitting investigative muckrakers — journalism in Southern Africa is essential for constructive dialogue: To inform, moderate, and expose corruption. Sometimes journalists are the only ones holding governments to account. But the viability of media depends on new solutions to do journalism in a digital age. Fundamental journalistic values must be paired with new skills to re-invent journalism for digital platforms. DW Akademie supports a regional network of organizations that are committed to quality journalism, who create innovative and hands-on trainings that enable journalists to adapt to the digital age, and provide relevant, reliable, balanced information.
Advocacy - Media environments for free dialogue
In Southern Africa, media freedom and the right to public debate are under threat. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and DW Akademie are working with a range of civil society partners to strengthen the political and legal environments for free dialogue in the region. DW Akademie supports MISA’s campaigns on digital rights, media self-regulation, and trust in the media. The focus of the project is to build capacity in order to engage citizens, civil society, media professionals and policy makers, thereby enabling these actors to shape the media and information landscapes which safeguard freedom of expression.
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Peter Deselaers
Locations: All Regions of Namibia, regions in Southern Africa – particularly in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho
Media and Information Literacy Learning Initiative (MiLLi*), College of the Arts (CotA) - Department Media, Arts and Technology Studies (MATS) (Namibia),Namibia Fact Check, The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) (Namibia), Namibia Media Trust (NMT) (Namibia), Media Institute of Southern Africa in Namibia (MISA), The Hub (Lesotho), Nafuna TV (Zimbabwe), Kubatana (Zimbabwe), Centre for Innovation & Technology (CITE) (Zimbabwe)
Focus: Political and legal frameworks, civic participation, media laws/media rights, strengthening public media/reforming state broadcasters, freedom of information/accessing information from public authorities, civic society lobby for freedom of expression, media literacy/media skills, participation of disadvantaged population groups, (local) participatory media content and community media, journalistic professionalism and networks, journalism training, digitization