Developing projects, securing funding, supporting partners - the Project Development team assists media organizations around the world with international project applications.
The European Union is regarded by many as something of a bureaucratic monster - and that opinion is probably as widespread in Germany as it is in many African countries. To navigate the bureaucratic labyrinth and understand the EU's policies and procedures, a certain amount of specialized know-how is necessary. But this understanding is important, since the EU funds a great many media development projects around the world. So while the paperwork involved in applying for EU funding appears daunting - DW Akademie's years of experience and expertise can help.
One recent example is the "Maison des Médias du Tchad", a journalism association umbrella group and the central resource for the media in Chad. When in 2012 the EU called for applications for civil society initiatives aimed at strengthening crisis prevention projects, the director of Maison des Médias, François Dingames, simply sighed. "There are so many rules and regulations to follow. Keeping on top of them all during the development or implementation of projects is not easy," he said. However, for many of DW Akademie's partners, cooperating with international donors is essential in order to strengthen their own organizations and achieve greater independence in the long-term. So Dingames asked DW Akademie's Project Development Team for support.
Together with its local cooperation partners, the Project Development team plans projects that are supported by international donors and then advises local partners as well as DW Akademie's project and country managers regarding implementation. In Chad, a good division of labour quickly developed. The Maison des Médias colleagues working on the project - conflict-sensitive reporting for local radio stations and the creation of a pool of radio trainers - tapped into their extensive local networks to identify the media training and consulting needs throughout the country. Meanwhile, DW Akademie trainers and consultants made sure the project was carried out according to international project management criteria and the formal EU requirements.
At first, Dr. Johann Müller, who headed up the project's development, traveled frequently to Chad's capital, N'Djamena, to support the work on the ground. But as time went by, Director Dingames felt increasingly confident that he himself could deal with the various invoices and reports required by the EU. That meant that more time was freed-up for training and capacity building, as well as for joint visits with the EU delegation in N'Djamena where project benchmarks were presented.
Moving toward sustainability
The Project Development team supports partners over the long term and is always on the lookout for additional funding possibilities. This helps to ensure that successful projects don't just vanish once the initial funding period is over - the ideal scenario is a long-term collaboration. The Project Development team also looks for new international partners in other countries.
When assessing possible projects, important questions need to be asked: is a project in line with DW Akademie's overall strategy, does it complement previous activities in the target country, and how meaningful would the collaboration be for overall media development or development cooperation? In this regard, the EU is the principal contact. But in South Sudan, thanks to the aid of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a project to set up a radio station in the province of Jonglei was implemented with local partners.
"Whether in Brazil, Namibia or Cambodia, we support DW Akademie's regional teams with new projects, helping to make them attractive to international donors and jointly engaging with local partners to support freedom of expression and information," says Oliver Shilling, deputy head of Project Development. "It's a multi-faceted task on a global scale. Every day we travel around the world in our minds, helping to ensure that our partners are well-prepared for the future."
So it was in Chad. Towards the end of the project, consultants from Germany and Chad jointly developed a long-term strategy - including securing additional funding - for the Maison des Médias, and contributed to ensuring sustainable EU support.