Listen, support and transfer skills for long-lasting impact | #mediadev | DW | 20.05.2015
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Listen, support and transfer skills for long-lasting impact

Media development agencies should listen to their partners and deliver projects that meet their needs, are long lasting and support the transfer of skills. That’s the message from three innovators from the Global South.

For this year’s re:publica conference in Berlin, DW Akademie invited three of the South2South Manifesto authors to discuss using digital technology to foster freedom of expression and access to information.

Dickens Olewe is a Kenyan journalist and the founder of the drone journalism project AfricanSkyCAM. Dickens is currently a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

Pinkie Chan is from Cambodia and is the managing editor of the open data initiative: Open Development Cambodia.

Alejandra Gutiérrez Valdizán is the editor-in-chief of the investigative digital magazine Plaza Pública in Guatemala.

The three innovators also visited DW Akademie in Berlin to talk more about their digital projects; the benefits of exchanging knowledge with other organisations in the Global South; and, what media development agencies can learn from their experience.

Listen to our #mediadev talk with Dickens, Pinkie and Alejandra

Here is a summary of points raised by our visitors:

Borrowing or adapting ideas for media business models from other developing countries might make better sense than trying to follow the model of large, established western media organisations.

Media organisations in the Global South share similarities in the context that they find themselves working within. For example, legal frameworks, levels of education and media literacy of audiences. Hence, it is easier to understand and learn from each other.

Having a network of media organisations in the Global South is important to help learn from each other. A network of media organisations within a country or region can also help protect journalists when reporting controversial topics.

Using digital technology and the internet not only offers a platform for projects, but is a cost effective solution to compete with established print and broadcast media that may have a tight grip or monopoly of a country’s media market.

Media development agencies should not assume that they already have the answers or their ideas will work. Rather, they should listen to their partners carefully to identify specific needs and be open to adjust or change plans.

Capacity building is a longer term investment.

Think about applying "functional equivalence". If you have technology working in Country A, consider what technology or tools could you use in Country B to achieve similar outcomes?

Transfer of quality skills is important, it’s expensive and it also needs ongoing support: "Sustainability is going to cost you". Media development agencies could also try to create links between media organisations for long term partnerships and support.

You can also download the South2South Manifesto here.