DW Akademie in Namibia and Southern Africa | Africa | DW | 23.02.2023
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DW Akademie in Namibia and Southern Africa

DW Akademie works in Namibia and Southern Africa to foster informed communities that engage in constructive dialogue.

The media and information landscape in Southern Africa has changed dramatically. In response, DW Akademie has turned its focus to empowering users, media professionals and civil society in shaping the digital information environment. Priorities include capacity building for training youth on Media and Information Literacy (MIL), advancing skills and promoting viable innovative journalism, and strengthening civil society to defend the right to freedom of expression and access to information. DW Akademie works to connect people and organizations across the region who share a commitment to free expression.

Increasingly mobile

The number of internet users in Southern Africa more than doubled between 2013 and 2018. In 2019, half of Namibia’s media users got their news via the Internet and social media platforms. Approximately 9 out of 10 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 for conveying news to users.

Our activities

Media and Information Literacy (MIL) - Engaged media users


Given the disinformation, hate speech and avalanche of information available online, media users are increasingly compelled to learn how to navigate digital information spaces. In Namibia, the College of the Arts together with DW Akademie launched the Media and Information Literacy Learning Initiative (MiLLi*). The network of youth facilitators and youth organizations offers MIL training countrywide. The MiLLi* learning-by-doing approach facilitates interactive and engaging workshops and works with a community of motivated facilitators who annualy train approximately 500 youth on how to critically use the media. In 2018, MiLLi* extended its work beyond Namibian borders.

Journalism - Skills, viability and innovation

From lively community reporters to hard-hitting investigative muckrakers - journalists in Southern Africa are essential for constructive dialogue: for informing, moderating and exposing corruption. Journalists are at times the only ones holding governments to account. However, media viability depends on new approaches to journalism in a digital age. Fundamental journalistic values need to be paired with new skills to remodel journalism to digital platforms. DW Akademie supports a regional network of organizations committed to quality journalism. They develop innovative hands-on trainings that enable journalists to adapt to the digital age and provide relevant, reliable and 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 project focuses on capacity building in order to engage citizens, civil society, media professionals and policy makers, and thereby enable them 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

Partners:Namibia Community Broadcasters Network (NCBN) (Namibia),

Media and Information Literacy Learning Initiative (MiLLi*)College of the Arts (CotA) - Department Media, Arts and Technology Studies (MATS) (Namibia),Namibia Fact CheckThe 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

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