DW Akademie celebrates the conclusion of its EU-sponsored East4South project, in which young journalists from Eastern Europe were joined by African colleagues to report on international development issues.
"With East4South, the EU made possible a unique journalistic project, which ran over three years. It allowed bridges to be built between African and European journalists and cooperative projects to take place without the usual stereotypes through which Europe tends to view Africa," said Patrick Leusch, head of Project Development at DW Akademie.
The East4South program, whose other partners were the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and Prospective Internationale, concluded Wednesday with a screening of projects by the fourth and final group of participants. The project was focused on illuminating the challenges faced by people in developing countries and delivering first-hand, insightful accounts of life in sub-Saharan Africa.
"A sustainable network was created in which journalists from Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa gain access to authentic information. True friendships were built and many young media professionals discovered their passion to report on development cooperation topics," commented Yinka Kehinde, the project manager at DW Akademie.
In total, 60 journalists took part in East4South as members of two-person teams. One team member was to be drawn from an applicant pool of young journalists from EU-12 member states, which include Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. The Eastern European journalists were paired with media professionals from African countries.
Each group of participants conducted their work in four stages: an initial training and team building session in Brussels, followed by research and preparation for reporting. Then the European journalists travelled to countries in sub-Saharan Africa for 10 days of field reporting, during which the participants turned their ideas into video pictures, sound bites and texts. Finally, post-production took place at the Deutsche Welle headquarters in Bonn with supervision from the DW Akademie.
The participants' work ranged across diverse topics including a behind-the-scenes look at Nollywood - Nigeria's bustling film industry, as well as child labor in a fishing community in Ghana and the prevalence of sex crimes in Johannesburg, South Africa.
As East4South rounds out, the DW Akademie looks ahead to new projects that bring young journalists to the fore of development reporting. "We at DW Akademie are very happy that we'll be able to continue this work with another project financed by the EU - Beyond (y)our World," Leusch said.
Beyond (y)our World is a collaborative project among six EU countries that offers support to young journalists as they travel abroad to report on development issues. DW Akademie will develop, organize and execute training programs for the project as well as assist with the selection of participants.