Fojo Media Institute has been supporting media professionalism in Zimbabwe since 2007. From 2012, Fojo has been managing the Swedish Zimbabwe Media Development Programme, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to a free, professional, diversified and independent media sector, serving democracy, human rights and development and allowing Zimbabwe’s citizens to express themselves, which is achieved through work with five partner organisations as well as Fojo’s capacity building of them.
Using a broad-sector approach, Fojo works with local media development civil society organisations. The partners each play a distinct role on the programme:
- The Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA) works to promote media law reform and access to information, with a particular focus on marginalised communities. Furthermore, it provides legal and practical assistance to media professionals under attack or at risk.
- The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) is a media self-regulatory body, which works to promote professional and ethical media. It operates an independent complaints mechanism and also provides training to journalists throughout Zimbabwe, and often in areas where journalism training is scarce.
- The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Initiatives (ZACRAS) is the umbrella body of community radio stations, lobbying for their licensing as well as providing training and support to these vital grass-roots level information providers.
- Gender Media Connect (GMC) advances gender equality within the media sector and works to increase the representation of women in the media.
- Magamba Network uses creative forms of youth activism such as satire and comedy to strengthen the democratic space in Zimbabwe and does so in particular by utilising alternative and social media platforms in innovative ways.
In another project, with funding from Sida, a 3-year series of in-house training, regional Training of Trainers for the Newsroom and business courses was designed using data from an in-depth consultation on training needs, launched at an international conference in January 2013. From 2013 to 2016 Fojo was working on this project with 14 independent exiled media outlets that broadcast and publish uncensored news to audiences in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe and 3 media outlets that were in transition from exile to mainstream in Myanmar.