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The European-Arab Monitor for Development Studies

GFMD IMPACT: Coordinating Media Assistance

 GFMD IMPACT: Coordinating Media Assistance

Coordination whithin the media development sector is widely acknowledged as a precondition for successful programming, particularly in the aftermath of conflict or a crisis. The importance of sharing information and exploring synergies is one of the fundamental principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

As part of many information sharing and coordination efforts, the team of GFMD IMPACT wanted to dig deeper into previous media assistance coordination efforts to identify common pitfalls and best practice models.  

The report, Coordinating Media Assistance and Journalism Support Efforts, produced by GFMD IMPACT, in cooperation with the Samir Kassir Foundation’s SKeyes Centre for Media and Cultural Freedom , and with support and in cooperation with the International Media Support (IMS) , includes highlights from previous or ongoing coordination processes:

Developing holistic strategies: As Ukraine emerged from the Euromaidan protests in 2013-2014, international donors took a collaborative approach. The Kyiv group succeeded in bringing leading donors to the table and reaching an agreement on the division of funding priorities. As well as sharing information and insights from the ground, it brought new opportunities and challenges to the attention of the donor community. Moreover, the group developed strategies for particular strands of work. For example, it was instrumental in rallying donors and implementing agencies around a major support project for the Ukrainian public broadcaster and other priorities set by the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR) coalition between 2015 and 2019.

Involving local actors and establishing equal partnerships: Local organisations can often feel disconnected from the international development community. In most cases, they have limited capacity and smaller budgets, and consequently, they feel less able to invest time and energy to make sure that their views are taken into account. Introducing effective mechanisms for including and listening to local views, needs, and priorities makes coordination more relevant. Due consideration given to the local context is paramount, and roles, responsibilities, and priorities should be apportioned accordingly. The experience of the Lebanon Coordination Group also indicates that, in certain cases, local implementing agencies are better positioned to set the agenda since they have greater insight into local needs and enjoy the trust of local beneficiaries (See also Mapping Lebanin Media Assistance) . Following the Beirut port explosion in August 2020, the Samir Kassir Foundation launched a Media Recovery Fund to support outlets and practitioners affected by the crisis.

Emergency or crisis response: The importance of effective coordination becomes particularly acute when donors and media development agencies respond to a crisis. In Syria, a coordinating mechanism brought beneficiaries and implementing organisations together from 2013 to 2016, “to discuss their needs, develop project ideas, and build trust to allow better communication given the security situation.” In a white paper, A Call for Effective Support to Syrian Independent Media as a Key Component in Mitigating and Resolving the Syrian Conflict , itself a successful output of coordination, written to capture the experience, GFMD reported that its ability to maintain a long-term engagement was stymied by limited and short-term funding. The white paper recommended that “donors provide long-term and stable support for an independent coordination process that includes Syrians, implementers, and donors.”

Needs assessment and joint research projects: Coordinating bodies and processes have facilitated resource-sharing among their members in areas such as training and fundraising, but the potential for conducting participatory, joint needs assessments and quantitative or qualitative research has yet to be fully exploited. Sharing the costs of such analysis and the reports themselves could enable other donors to better prioritise complementary activity. The 2019/2020 EU Needs Assessment of Independent Media in the Neighbourhoodechoed this viewpoint. “It is recommended that donors invest in a robust assessment mechanism that tasks local partners with the collection and dissemination of findings on a rolling basis. This research could also include comprehensive mapping of media projects in partner countries as well as independent impact monitoring.”

Fundraising for collective action: Examples of coordination groups engaging in collective fundraising appear to be rare. In several countries—Kenya and Zimbabwe, for example—coalitions of local and international media actors have played a key role in unlocking donor funding for specific initiatives. While the Kenya Media Sector Working Group (primed-research-joint-media-initiatives-kenya-mwangi) came together and submitted a single plan and strategy to donors while the actual implementation was coordinated by local actors, the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) has been able to fundraise on behalf of its members.

Source: GFMD

 

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