Evaluation of internet journalism training project in Tanzania
Table of contents Executive summary ……………………………………………………………..................................................................3 1.0 Introduction …………………………………………………………….......................................................................7 2.0 Methodology …………………………………………………………….....................................................................8 3.0 Operating environment ……………………………………………………………............................................... 10 4.0 Project goals and activities ............................................................................................................... 12 5.0 Key findings............................................................................................................................................ 13
5.1 All activities are relevant ........................................................................................................... 14
5.2 The project is largely effective ................................................................................................ 14
5.3 Many project activities are highly efficient …………………………………………………………….... 16
5.4 Long-term impacts are likely positive but their extent is unclear.................................... 17
5.5 Some sustainability challenges remain ……………………………………………………………............ 18
5.6 A participatory project ............................................................................................................... 19
5.7 Gender equality well-recognized but still room for increasing diversity ………………… 20
5.8 Some identified risks have materialized ................................................................................ 20
5.9 Cooperation with other training projects and actors: partial success ........................... 20
6.0 Conclusions and recommendations ……………………………………………………………......................... 23
6.1 General recommendations ……………………………………………………………................................. 24
6.2 Specific recommendations ……………………………………………………………................................. 25
Appendices Appendix I: Literature ……………………………………………………………........................................................... 26 Appendix II: Key informants ……………………………………………………………................................................ 27
Abbreviations Comneta = Community Media Network of Tanzania MCT = Media Council of Tanzania MISA Tanzania = Media Institute of Southern Africa, Tanzania Chapter TMF = Tanzania Media Foundation Unesco = United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UTPC = Union of Tanzania Press Clubs Vikes = Viestintä ja kehitys -säätiö (The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development)
Evaluation of internet journalism training project in Tanzania This evaluation covers the Vikes and MISA Tanzania internet journalism training project from 2014 to 2016. Published online in April 2016.
Markku Liukkonen Peik Johansson Edwin Soko Maggid Mjengwa Mussa Juma
The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development The Mtuwao Participatory Media Project is supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Patricia Nchia and Shafii Ndege from Jamii FM Radio at an internet training for community radio producers in Mtwara in January 2016.
Executive summary â– The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) and its partner organization MISA Tanzania have been running an internet training programme for journalists and journalism lecturers in Tanzania since 2008 with financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The current and third three-year phase of the programme covers the years 2014â€“2016. The project seeks to (1) improve the professional skills of Tanzanian journalists and journalism instructors, especially their capacity to use the internet effectively for factfinding, news monitoring, investigation and communication, (2) promote the incorporation of investigative internet journalism into academic curricula with the aim of improving the professional skills of graduates and the journalistic quality of their work, and ultimately (3) improve the quality of journalism in Tanzania and make the voice of the people, particularly those living in rural or distant communities, better heard in local and national media. This is believed to have a positive longer-term impact on the way issues such as public accountability and transparency, human and minority rights, and democratic development are discussed and debated. The purpose of this evaluation is to assess how well the project has reached its immediate and ultimate objectives, consider the relevance of project activities in the present Tanzanian context, identify possible obstacles hindering outcome effectiveness, and provide recommendations for future. The key conclusions to be drawn are that all of the project components continue to be relevant and that the project has been highly effective in reaching most of its immediate objectives. 3
Asia Khalfan of Radio Sauti ya Quran and Athumani Shariff from Dar es Salaam School of Journalism searching for information at an internet training for editors and journalism tutors in Dar es Salaam.
The focus on internet and online knowhow is sensible, given the essential nature of basic ICT capacity in today’s journalism and the fact that there is a considerable knowledge gap and few capacity-building projects of this kind in Tanzania at the moment. Vikes’ project is complimentary to other training initiatives. As a result of the project interventions, significant positive changes can be observed in most direct beneficiaries. The majority of trainees sampled feel that their skills have improved greatly and that as a result the quality and effectiveness of their work has also improved. The fact that practically all of the trainees would recommend the training to their colleagues is another positive signal. Actively used key skills learned in the trainings include searching for information online, fact-checking, and improved data security. Radio station trainees are also familiar with online broadcasting (podcasting). Many trainees report that they are able to produce better researched, better balanced and more detailed stories than before. The success of upcountry trainings has been greatly enhanced by highly competent Swahili-speaking instructors, accessible materials and a practical hands-on teaching approach. With regard to the community radio portal, the project has progressed even faster than expected. While the project plan only mentions “planning” of the portal, in practice the portal is already up and running, and a pilot group comprising eight community radio stations and the community media organization Comneta has been trained to use it. 4
The objective of incorporating journalistic internet use in the curricula of journalism schools has been reached only partially. However, it should be noted that at the time of evaluation some of the planned trainings of trainers are yet to be concluded and that reforms within academic institutions often take time to materialize. Therefore, it is too early to assess whether this objective will or will not be reached. While existing data on longer-term impacts is insufficient, it would seem that the project has had a clear positive impact on the level of professionalism and also career development of at least some of the participants. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the ultimate objectives, such as improved representation of marginalized voices and empowering local communities through improved access to information and democratic accountability, have also been reached to some extent. All stakeholders surveyed for this evaluation were content with the participatory and open manner in which the project had been carried out. Vikes is perceived as a fair partner that is not “pushing an agenda”. Its expertise is highly valued. Many of the project’s benefits will most likely be sustainable as trainees will continue to make use of the skills and knowledge gained through the project. However, while the majority of trainees display positive changes, some of them, especially upcountry, are not able to independently apply all the skills and tools taught in the trainings in their practical work. Either they did not learn these skills well enough during the training or they have forgotten them since. To overcome such challenges, a more continuous engagement with beneficiaries is recommended. Some risks and obstacles foreseen during project planning have materialized. For example, many decision-makers within media houses and journalism training institutions do not often see the benefits of improved professional ICT and internet skills. Consequently, they are not willing to share training costs or actively promote the use of such skills. Due to low pay, some journalists may also become tempted to act in ways that are not in line with media ethics and professional journalistic conduct, such as copy-pasting without crediting and accepting money from “sources” in exchange for reporting in their interest. There continues to exist a large number of journalists who would benefit from the continuation of the trainings after the conclusion of the present project period. It is therefore the recommendation of the evaluator that Vikes seek funding for a new journalist training project in Tanzania. Ideally, any new project would be more closely aligned with other existing training initiatives that, although different in terms of focus and modalities, share many of the fundamental aims of the Vikes project.
The majority of trainees feel that their skills have improved greatly and that as a result the quality and effectiveness of their work has also improved.
Star TV news editor Flora Rugashobolola conducting an internet training for local reporters in Mwanza.
1.0 Introduction ■ The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development (Vikes) and its partner organization MISA Tanzania, a non-profit that promotes media freedom and supports journalists, have been running an internet training programme for journalists and journalism lecturers in Tanzania since 2008 with financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. The current and third three-year phase of the programme covers the years 2014–2016. Between January 2014 and January 2016, Vikes and MISA Tanzania organized 14 training events, each lasting three to four days, as well as nine in-house or on-the-job training sessions for reporters and producers at community radio stations. Since 2008, over 700 people have participated in the trainings. The main objective of the current project is to improve the professional skills of Tanzanian journalists, especially their “capabilities to use the internet effectively as a means for factfinding, news monitoring, investigation and communication as part of the critical journalistic work process.” Towards this end, Vikes and MISA Tanzania have trained editors and senior correspondents in mainstream media, upcountry journalists, including those working at community radio stations, as well as journalism instructors at universities and journalism colleges. During the present project period, the main focus has been on journalists working in regional capitals and community radio stations. The interventions have sought to (1) improve the professional skills of Tanzanian journalists and journalism teachers, especially their capacity to use the internet effectively for fact-finding, news monitoring, investigation and communication, (2) promote the incorporation of investigative internet journalism into academic curricula with the aim of improving the professional skills of graduates and the journalistic quality of their work, and ultimately (3) improve the quality of journalism in Tanzania and make the voice of the people, particularly those living in rural or distant communities, better heard in local and national media, especially on matters concerning their livelihood, rights and the allocation of public resources. This, in turn, is believed to have a positive longer-term impact on the way issues such as public accountability and transparency, human and minority rights, and democratic development are discussed and debated. The purpose of the evaluation, as defined in the Terms of Reference (ToR) between Vikes and the evaluator, is to: 1. Provide an independent overall assessment of the project, focusing on evaluating the degree to which implemented activities have met the immediate and overall objectives of the project 2. Assess whether the interventions have been “the right thing to do” in the present Tanzanian context 3. Identify potential obstacles to the realization of expected outcomes and impacts 4. Provide recommendations for future This evaluation focuses on the activities implemented during the present project period (2014–2016) up to January 2016. However, as the current project builds on experiences and achievements of the previous ones, they are also considered to some extent. The primary audiences of this evaluation are Vikes and MISA Tanzania and their stakeholders, as well as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, which has financially supported the project. 7
2.0 Methodology ■ This evaluation is based on information obtained through a desk review of relevant documents as well as personal interviews with key stakeholders in Tanzania. As determined in the ToR between Vikes and the evaluator, the methods and questions chosen were designed to provide a qualitative understanding of the level of success of the project activities and their relevance in relation to the objectives of the project and to gain ideas for further improvements. In the first phase, the evaluator reviewed project plans, activity reports and follow-up assessments provided by Vikes in order to form a preliminary understanding of the aims, logic and activities of the project. After this, the evaluator proposed a draft evaluation plan, based on which the final evaluation plan was subsequently refined and agreed on between Vikes and the evaluator. In addition to documents provided by Vikes, the evaluator also made use of other relevant studies and reports. A full list of all information documents is found in Appendix I. The main sources of information were semi-structured key informant interviews conducted in Tanzania between November 2015 and January 2016. Key informants included Vikes and MISA Tanzania staff, project trainers, direct beneficiaries (trainees), prominent media actors, media experts such as researchers, and people involved in other journalist training initiatives in Tanzania. Some of the informants were suggested by Vikes or MISA Tanzania, others were identified by the evaluator himself. They are all listed in Appendix II. Most interviews were personal in-depth discussions based on a set of pre-determined questions adjusted to each informant’s profile, but the evaluator was free to follow-up on interesting remarks or ideas brought up during the interview. Some informants were interviewed via phone or Skype, and two interview sessions with BBC Media Action took the form of group discussion involving three and two informants simultaneously. To a significant degree, the interviews confirmed many of the key insights and preliminary findings of the document review. This consistency improves the reliability of the conclusions presented below. This being said, there are some limitations concerning the validity and reliability of the results. First, the data may have been affected by a “positive bias”. Many, though not all, information sources may have had an interest to portray the project in a positive light. Second, no comprehensive and systematically collected data exist on the longer-term impacts of the project, and the gathering of such data was beyond the scope of this evaluation. The analysis concerning training outcomes and impacts presented below is based on MISA Tanzania’s annual assessments, training follow-up reports, other documents provided by Vikes, training blogs, and stakeholder interviews conducted by the evaluator. In order to be able to comprehensively evaluate the longer-term impacts of the training project on the work and careers of the trainees, and on the wider journalistic framework in which they operate, a more systematic and representative follow-up assessment covering a longer period of time from the initial training would be needed (e.g. 2–3 years). Ideally, the follow-up assessment would also include content analysis of the journalistic output of the trainees as well as discussions with their superiors, peers and, to the extent possible, audiences and other stakeholders. To facilitate the analysis of such follow-up data, a systematic baseline survey of trainees entering the trainings would also be useful. 8
Some of Tanzania’s most prominent veteran journalists focusing on their laptops at a training in Dar es Salaam with Finnish trainer Peik Johansson.
This kind of a monitoring apparatus naturally entails costs and a trade-off between monitoring functions and activity implementation, and might not make sense from an inputoutcome efficiency perspective in a project with a relatively limited budget, such as the present one. It seems that some improvements towards systematizing the collection, storing and analysis of baseline and follow-up data could, however, be carried out with minor costs. Due to the above-mentioned limitations in the data – narrow temporal perspective, possible positive bias, and a potentially non-representative sample – the findings concerning long-term impacts are best considered tentative or inconclusive. Throughout the evaluation process, the evaluator had full independence, and he bears full responsibility for the findings, conclusions and recommendations presented hereafter.
In order to comprehensively evaluate the longerterm impacts of the training project on trainees’ work and careers, a more systematic follow-up covering a longer period of time from the initial training would be needed. 9
3.0 Operating environment ■ With the increasing popularity of smartphones and improved internet access, more and more Tanzanians are getting online. While the majority still relies on traditional radio (sole media for 60 percent of rural people), TV and newspapers, mobile technology is rapidly changing old patterns of communication and media consumption. The readership of online news sites and blogs has continued to proliferate, as has the use of social media platforms. Many media houses have internet sites that are regularly updated. Online broadcasting of radio programmes via podcasts and even direct streaming are also gaining in popularity, although it seems that at the present the audience for those remains limited and concentrated in the biggest urban centres. As also noted in Vikes’ analysis of the operating environment – which is largely accurate – the professional use of internet among Tanzanian journalists is still rare. This is due to factors such as lack of capacity, knowhow, technology and other resources, the absence of journalistic internet use in journalism education at universities and colleges, and the fact that media managers, owners and senior editors often do not appreciate or understand the value of modern ICT tools, including internet. Instead of fact-finding, verification and research, internet is mainly used to copy content that is then published without crediting the original source, which is a clear violation of standard, internationally agreed media ethics. These challenges are more pronounced among correspondents and local journalists in rural areas and smaller towns, but they also apply to mainstream media houses in big cities to a considerable degree. Virtually no training focusing on the journalistic use of the internet was offered in Tanzania before the first Vikes project. At the present, the situation is slightly better, but a considerable skills gap continues to exist. Unesco is the only organization besides Vikes and MISA Tanzania that provides training specifically on the use of ICT and internet in journalism. Its trainings feature skills such as the use of search engines and setting up a blog. Some other training or mentoring programmes include a “new media” or ICT component that also deals with internet, as do certain courses in universities and journalism colleges. However, no journalism school in Tanzania gives its students a comprehensive or adequate practical knowledge of the professional use and possibilities of internet. This is something that even university lecturers themselves admit.
Some other relevant organizations Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF) provides longer-term on-the-job mentoring and grants to individual reporters and media companies. TMF does not have a special focus on internet journalism, but the use of new media is incorporated in all of its programmes. TMF also channels considerable support to local radio stations or community radios and promising individual journalists working at these radio stations. BBC Media Action’s main objective is enhancing good governance and public accountability. Its training approach is an intensive partnership with a relatively small number of radio stations through long-term on-the-job mentoring. It also has a bigger number of less10
Bertilda Rwegasira from Time School of Journalism took part in a training for journalism college tutors in Dar es Salaam in September 2015.
intensive partners with which it cooperates on programme broadcasting and lighter training. Internet is not a priority component in these trainings, but its journalistic use can be taught as part of the journalistic work process. The Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), an industry organization focusing on professionalism and ethics, has shifted its priorities away from training provision, but it continues to arrange on-the-job training in media houses on an on-demand basis. Community Media Network of Tanzania (Comneta) does not organize trainings at the moment, but it seeks to facilitate and support community radio operations, foster cooperation among community radio stations, represent them in relation to third parties, and lobby decision-makers in their interest. For several years, Comneta was a loose network under Unesco Tanzania without a permanent secretariat or office. It has since been formalized and registered as an independent organization with an office and a newly-built broadcasting studio in Dar es Salaam, and it seeks to become a more powerful actor.
Virtually no training focusing on the journalistic use of the internet was offered in Tanzania before the first Vikes project. 11
4.0 Project goals and activities â– According to Vikes, the projectâ€™s main objective is to improve the professional skills of Tanzanian journalists, especially their capability to use the internet effectively for fact-finding, news monitoring, investigation and communication. This is assumed to result in better journalism and enhanced access to relevant information by ordinary Tanzanians, especially those living in remote communities. Key project activities include: 1. Training of trainers and consultations for development of study programmes at major Tanzanian journalism education institutions
The aim is to consolidate internet training as part of journalist training so that instructors and graduates have the capacity to use the internet for fact-finding, news monitoring and investigative journalistic research.
2. Regional trainings in Swahili for upcountry journalists and correspondents
The aim is to provide trainees with a basic knowledge on the journalistic use of internet for fact-finding, research and news monitoring, as well as data security and media ethics.
3. Investigative internet journalism training for editors and correspondents in major regional centres
The idea is to provide editors and correspondents with improved practical skills in the use of the internet for fact-finding and journalistic research, resulting in more investigative journalistic stories.
4. Online radio training and planning of a community radio online portal
The aim is to teach reporters and producers at community radio stations and university radio stations the basic journalistic uses of the internet relevant for radio producers, including online broadcasting by podcasts or live radio stream. Radio stations are also encouraged to collaborate and share experiences and content more than has been the case before.
The main objective of the project is to improve the professional skills of Tanzanian journalists and their capability to use the internet effectively for fact-finding, news monitoring, investigation and communication. 12
5.0 Key findings ■ Below are some of the key findings of the evaluation. Their presentation loosely follows OECD/DAC evaluation criteria, which assesses project activities in terms of their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. The criteria have been slightly modified to better suit the purposes of the task at hand, and findings that do not fall within these criteria are also discussed. Relevance here refers to the extent to which the objectives of the project are consistent with beneficiaries’ needs in the present Tanzanian operating environment and media context. Effectiveness is the extent to which the project’s planned objectives, effects and outcomes have been achieved, or are expected to be achieved, primarily in the short term. Efficiency relates to how economically resources and inputs are converted into results. Efficiency assessment was not in the scope of the present evaluation, so this is discussed only shortly below. Impact is a measure of the project’s long-term effects. Sustainability refers to the continuation of the benefits of the project activities after their completion and in the longer term. In the following subchapters, findings relating to cooperation with other actors, risks and obstacles, gender equality, and local ownership are also discussed.
Community radio reporters from Mtegani FM in Makunduchi village in Zanzibar at an in-house training in September 2015.
Zulfa Musa, correspondent for the Mwananchi newspaper, working on her assignment during an internet training in Arusha in March 2014.
5.1. All activities are relevant Information gathered for this evaluation shows that in the present context, all of the projectâ€™s components are relevant and successfully address an important existing need. With regard to professional internet use among journalists, a skills gap continues to exist on all levels and in all media types. Capacity needs seem to be a lot more pronounced in the regions and rural areas than in Dar es Salaam and other main centres. Journalists working in more remote upcountry settings also have less access to relevant trainings and information than those working in cities. In terms of value added and longer-term impacts, project components focusing on journalism instructors and academic curricula have extremely high potential.
5.2 The project is largely effective Most concrete actions have thus far been implemented according to the project plan. The following passages discuss each of the projectâ€™s six immediate objectives and the extent to which they have been reached. Objective 1: Journalism lecturers from Tanzanian universities and journalism colleges have adequate skills in the journalistic use of internet for fact-finding, news monitoring, communication and publication and are able to teach the same to their students. This objective seems to have been reached as concerns the instructors trained so far. The capacity of the trainees interviewed meets the objectives set forth in the project plan. They have also started to make use of internet and emails as part of their teaching. Objective 2: The use of internet is incorporated into the journalism training programmes at Tanzanian universities and journalism colleges. This objective has been reached only partially. However, it should be noted that at the time of evaluation some of the planned trainings of trainers are yet to be concluded and that reforms within academic institutions often take time to materialize. 14
Evidence suggests that the instructors that have been trained are making use of their newly acquired skills and knowledge in their teaching, for example in the preparation of course contents and assignments, and also when discussing ICT or “new media” in journalism. However, little has thus far changed in terms of curricula. The trainers trained are clearly motivated to update their study programmes, but in most institutions such reforms are lengthy processes. Therefore, it is too early to assess whether this objective will or will not be reached. Given the huge potential impact of teaching reforms, it would seem sensible to continue pursuing this goal. Objective 3: Local journalists and correspondents in the regions have basic knowledge in the journalistic use of internet for fact-finding, news monitoring and IT security and are also sharing their new knowledge with their colleagues. This objective has largely been reached. The capacity and experience of journalists entering the trainings vary greatly. While some are familiar with basic online tools, internet searches, IT security and email functions, others lack even rudimentary computer skills. At the most basic level, the trainings may entail learning how to check names, spelling and pronunciation on the internet, or to send and receive emails with attachments. Nevertheless, the majority of trainees sampled feel that their skills have improved greatly and that as a result the quality and effectiveness of their work has also improved. The fact that practically all of the trainees would recommend the training to their colleagues is another positive signal. Actively used key skills learned in the training include searching for information online, fact-checking, and improved data security. Many trainees reported that they were now able to produce better researched, better balanced and more detailed stories than before. The success of these trainings has been greatly enhanced by highly competent Swahilispeaking instructors, accessible materials and a practical hands-on teaching approach. Most participants are also sharing their knowledge with peers, although the extent to which this is happening varies. There are some challenges to sharing knowledge at the work place, such as unwelcoming attitudes from superiors in the media houses – many of whom are “old-school” men who are not tech-savvy and do not understand or value the potential and importance of internet and other modern ICT skills and tools for journalism. Symptomatic of the low ICT capacity of many rural journalists, some trainees also mentioned the lack of basic computer and internet skills among their colleagues when asked for obstacles to knowledge sharing. In some instances, the effectiveness of the training could have been improved if the training equipment and internet connections had been more reliable and if there had been even more time to practice the skills taught in the training. Objective 4: Editors and correspondents in major regional centres have improved practical skills in fact-finding and more investigative research techniques and practise how to produce better stories by making use of the internet. Assessing this objective was not among the key focuses of the evaluation. However, the (limited) information available suggests that the knowledge level of editors and senior correspondents have improved with regard to the use of internet in investigative journalism and fact-finding. Most trainees report that they are actively making use of the skills learned during the training and that this has resulted in better researched stories. Another often cited benefit is time-efficiency: writing, editing and producing stories has become easier and quicker. Objective 5: Reporters and producers at community radio stations and university radio stations have basic knowledge about the journalistic use of the internet, including online broadcasting by podcasts or live radio stream. This objective has largely been reached. A majority of trainees feel that their internet skills have improved greatly and that as result the quality and effectiveness of their work has also 15
improved. A lot of the positive results noted under Objective 3 above also apply in the case of community and university radio stations. Some of them also mention increased interaction with audience as a result of their strengthened online presence. After the radio station trainings, trainees are also familiar with online broadcasting, including uploading pre-recorded programmes for download (podcasts). However, although there is increasing interest for direct streaming among Tanzanian media in general, it has thus far been left out of the community radio trainings due to technological and capacity-related limitations. It should be noted that the level of prior knowledge varies greatly between individual radio stations and persons. This is also reflected in the results to some extent. It is positive that Vikes has adopted a flexible and practice-oriented on-the-job training method that allows for some adjustments depending on the characteristics of each group. Objective 6: Community radio stations are networking and sharing knowledge, experiences and journalistic content with each other, possibly also broadcasting some of their programmes via a community radio online portal. This objective has been reached to some extent. With regard to the community radio portal, the project has progressed even faster than expected. While the project plan only mentions “planning” of the portal, in practice the portal is already up and running, and a pilot group comprising eight community radio stations and Comneta has been trained to use it. The portal can be accessed at https://crp.vikes.fi. As mentioned elsewhere in this report, this is a highly promising initiative with great potential. However, while networking and collaboration between community radios has increased to some extent, as of early January 2016, most stations had uploaded relatively little content onto the portal. As it is still in its early stages of development, this is quite understandable. The mood at a January 2016 training, for instance, was positively energetic, and the radio producers present seemed committed to the project. Pilot group members are also discussing ways to improve the portal and its use – including for advertising revenue generation and direct streaming to end-users. At the present, it appears that rather than airing stories produced by other stations as part of their own programming to provide listeners information on what is happening in other communities, pilot group members might be more inclined to use the material shared as a source of ideas and inspiration for their own, locally based work. The portal’s success also depends on developments concerning the future of Comneta and other community radio support initiatives, including those boosting the financial viability of community radios.
5.3 Many project activities are highly efficient As mentioned above, a comprehensive financial efficiency analysis is not within the scope of this evaluation. In the course of preparing this evaluation, the evaluator has, however, gained a basic understanding of the cost-effectiveness of the activities of the present project compared to other donor-funded training activities in Tanzania.
With regard to the community radio portal, the project has progressed even faster than expected. The community radio portal is a highly promising initiative with great potential. 16
Frank Mgunga (Pangani FM), Baraka Ole Maika (Orkonerei FM) and Amua Rushita (Jamii FM Mtwara) at the first community radio portal training.
It would appear that the mode of implementation of the Vikes and MISA Tanzania project is very efficient, at least regarding the arrangements and outcomes of the trainings. Costs for transportation, accommodation, training venues and trainer fees are reasonable given the considerable positive effects of the trainings.
5.4 Long-term impacts are likely positive but their extent is unclear While comprehensive long-term follow-up data is lacking (see chapter 2.0), it would appear that the project is having positive longer-term impacts on its immediate beneficiaries. A majority of the people trained have put their new skills to use and continue to do so, and this has led to improvements in their work. They have also shared their new knowledge among peers and, in the case of journalism instructors, with students. Some trained journalistsâ€™ careers have also received a boost as a result of more professional, higher quality reporting. All of this has resulted in better journalism. In some ways, the benefits are also self-sustaining in the sense that as a result of the trainings, trainees are able to search for help when encountering technical or other skillrelated challenges and to independently deepen their knowledge on the use of internet and other modern ICT tools in journalism. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the ultimate objectives, such as improved representation of marginalized voices and empowering local communities through improved access to information and democratic accountability, have also been reached to some extent, although it is impossible to reliably assess the degree to which this has happened. While all of the project components have had positive effects, and most likely also positive long-term benefits, the mechanisms through which the impacts occur differ. 17
Aloyce Mohamed, head of journalism department at University of Iringa, enjoying the internet training in Mbeya for upcountry editors and tutors.
The most drastic and immediately observable impacts can be seen among those rural journalists who enter the training with practically no prior experience in the professional use of information and communication technology. As noted above, the training often transforms the way in which they practice their profession, leading to considerable improvements in output quality, impact, efficiency, data security, and also income in instances where their stories are accepted and run by media more often than before the training. At the other end, the impact of the trainings of trainers on the teaching of universities and journalism schools takes much longer to materialize. As stated above, while the instructors trained have begun to make use of their improved internet and online skills in their work and teaching, there have so far been only few observable changes at the curriculum level. However, if professional internet knowhow needed for investigative journalism were included in basic journalism teaching programmes at journalism schools, the impact could be tremendously positive, broad in coverage and long-lasting.
5.5 Some sustainability challenges remain Many of the benefits will most likely be sustainable as the trainers and journalists trained will continue to make use of the skills and knowledge gained through the project. These new skills also enable continuous learning and autonomous professional development. It is also likely that this knowledge will be shared among colleagues and thus reach those who have not had the chance to attend the Vikes and MISA Tanzania trainings. However, it seems that some of the trained journalists, especially upcountry, are not able to independently apply all the skills and tools taught in the trainings in their practical work. Either they did not learn these skills well enough during the training or they have forgotten them since. The fact that not all superiors in media houses encourage the use of internet and online resources may make it more difficult to maintain and develop these skills. One potential sustainability challenge with the present training approach is its focus on individuals (university and college trainings notwithstanding). Even considerable positive effects may be lost if a trainee decides to quit journalism or does not share her learnings. 18
Also, some of the initial interest may dissolve after a certain time. Examples of this include the fact that many of the blogs created by trainees during the trainings have since become inactive, and that most of the community radio stations involved in the portal have not actively used it thus far. The latter may well change if the portal process develops successfully. Online ethics may be another topic on which more continuous work would be beneficial. While trainees do learn about ethics, practices such as copy-pasting and not crediting sources can still be seen in at least some of their work. One of the project’s aims has been to make the trainings themselves more economically self-sustaining. Ideally, media houses would begin to see staff capacity building as a smart investment and agree to pay part or all of the training costs. One of Vikes’ stated goals for training Swahili-language trainers was to create a pool of local capacity builders who could be hired by anyone interested. None of this happens at the present, and Vikes/MISA attempts to convince bigger media houses to pay for trainings have previously largely failed, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. Another idea has been to find new commercial sponsors. MISA Tanzania has previously contacted a couple of mobile operators and requested them to provide free internet for the trainings in exchange for visibility at the venue and in media. This has not been successful. One of the intentions of the present project was also to “cooperate with Comneta/Unesco and the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs (UTPC) by sending trainers to other training events arranged and financed by these organizations” so that MISA Tanzania would cover only the fees and travel costs of the trainers. This objective has not been met. UTPC has had little if anything to do with the project. Representatives of local press clubs present in each regional capital have, however, helped to identify trainees and potential training facilities for some of the regional trainings. Comneta’s contribution has thus far remained limited, but should its currently ongoing restructuring prove successful, it may be a more powerful partner in the future.
5.6 A participatory project The mode of implementation of the project has been highly participatory. Cooperation between Vikes and MISA Tanzania and the local trainers has functioned well. In the planning of the project, largely based on lessons learned from previous trainings, the views of different stakeholders were taken into account, including Vikes and MISA staff, local Swahili-language trainers, former trainees and Tanzanian media experts. While Vikes bears the ultimate responsibility, a diverse group of stakeholders have been able to shape the content of the project based on their expertise. The idea to train university trainers and update study programmes, for example, originally came from journalism schools. In the practical arrangements of the trainings, MISA Tanzania has had the lead role. Local trainers have had considerable autonomy in developing the Swahili-language training package. Trainings have been adjusted according to the wishes and needs of participants. The community radio portal has been developed together with and based on the preferences of community radio stations.
If professional internet knowhow needed for investigative journalism were included in study programmes at journalism schools, the impact could be broad in coverage and long-lasting. 19
All in all, each stakeholder surveyed for this evaluation seemed to have felt a sense of ownership and was very content with the participatory and open manner in which the project had been carried out. Vikes is perceived as a fair partner that is not “pushing an agenda”. Its expertise is highly valued.
5.7 Gender equality well-recognized but still room for increasing diversity Women continue to lag behind men in internet use in Tanzania in general, and this seems to apply to journalists as well. Gender equality has been one of the project’s guidelines. In the selection of local trainers and participants, gender parity has been the objective. While there have been more men than women in both groups, the difference is not so big as to warrant concern. Ideally, however, the gender balance would be more even.
5.8 Some identified risks have materialized The potential risks identified in Vikes’ project plan include MISA Tanzania’s operating capacity; rigid structures and attitudes among decision-makers in media and universities; technical hindrances; and limitations to the freedom of expression in Tanzania. Some of these risks have materialized. MISA Tanzania continues to operate with much smaller resources than until a few years ago. People in different positions in and around Tanzanian media seem to hold mixed views on the organization, its current activities and capacity to operate. However, the vast majority of stakeholders involved with the current project expressed satisfaction in the highly professional manner in which MISA has performed its responsibilities relating to the project. This has also been the case during previous Vikes/MISA training projects. At the present, it seems likely that MISA has sufficient capacity to successfully fulfil its responsibilities relating to the current project. As already noted above, the risks relating to prevailing attitudes and practices among decision-makers in journalism training institutions and media houses have materialized to the degree expected. Some technical risks have also materialized. Mainly they have had to do with internet connection, other learning equipment, or power cuts. Regarding the freedom of expression and right to information, recent developments in Tanzania have not been positive. During the past year, several legislative reforms limiting the scope of these fundamental freedoms have been introduced, and some older laws and regulations have been enforced more actively than previously.
5.9 Cooperation with other training projects and actors: partial success According to the project plan, Vikes and MISA Tanzania “will actively cooperate with all other potential actors involved in internet, new media or ICT training for journalists in Tanzania”, including the Union of Tanzania Press Clubs, Comneta and BBC Media Action. As noted under section 5.5 above, there has been little if any cooperation between Vikes/MISA and UTPC, but representatives of local press clubs have assisted with practical arrangements. During the present project period, Comneta has not demonstrated a very active interest to partner in or contribute to the community radio portal or other Vikes/ MISA activities. However, Comneta has expressed its willingness to become more actively involved in the community radio portal and potentially also other activities as soon as its new secretariat is up and running (as of January 2016, new staff are being recruited). Unesco, on the other hand, is offering internet training to upcountry community radio reporters. Thus far practical collaboration between Vikes/MISA and Unesco has been 20
Adam Bemma from the Canadian media support NGO Farm Radio International joined the internet training in Arusha as assistant trainer.
relatively modest, although there have been regular contacts. Unesco's present key trainer is a former Vikes trainee and MISA Tanzania director and present member of Comneta's board of trustees. Unesco's internet training, based on English materials with Swahili as supporting language, appears to be slightly less elaborate than that offered by Vikes/MISA as far as internet skills are concerned (a point made by Unesco's trainer as well as other informants), with less time for practical exercises and learning. It is, however, well-funded. There would appear to be considerable potential synergies and mutual benefits to be reaped from closer collaboration. The possibility of incorporating Vikes/MISA trainers or training materials in Unesco's training programme, for example, should be explored further. BBC Media Action operates on a considerable budget and its ultimate objectives are almost identical with those of the Vikes and MISA Tanzania project. Until recently, contacts between BBC Media Action and Vikes/MISA Tanzania had been virtually non-existent. Links established in January 2016 are, however, promising, and there appears to be possibilities and mutual interest to start working in closer collaboration, especially in relation to the use and further development of the community radio portal. At the present, none of the many implementing or donor organizations engaged in media support activities seem to be fully aware of the activities taking place in the country, which may result in unnecessary redundancies, overlapping schedules and lost synergies. In the case of community radios, for example, some radio stations benefit from several support programmes simultaneously whereas others receive no external support.
Each stakeholder felt a sense of ownership and was very content with the participatory and open manner in which the project has been carried out. 21
Mkombe Zanda, former editor of Radio Times FM, at an internet training with editors in Dar es Salaam.
6.0 Conclusions and recommendations ■ The key conclusions to be drawn are that all of the project components continue to be relevant and that the project has been highly effective in reaching most of its immediate objectives. As a result of project interventions, significant positive changes can be observed in most direct beneficiaries. Across the board, the trainings have received a very high rating from trainees. The (inconclusive) evidence available at the present suggests that the trainings have also had a clear positive longer-term impact on the level of professionalism and career development of at least some of the participants. While journalists especially in more remote areas (including those trained during the present project) would considerably benefit from further capacity building in several key journalistic skills, the present focus on internet and online knowhow is sensible, given the essential nature of basic ICT capacity in today’s journalism and the fact that there is a considerable knowledge gap and very few capacity-building projects of this kind in Tanzania at the moment. In terms of effectiveness and value added, it seems the biggest impacts for a given input, at least in the short to medium term, have been reached in the project components focusing on upcountry journalists and correspondents, as well as community radios. The focus on less-privileged journalists is sensible. For the success and consolidation of the community radio portal, it is crucial that a sufficient number of community radio stations recognize its usefulness and actively upload content. It is also important that the community media network Comneta commits to the portal and promotes it among its members as a programme and information sharing tool and collaboration forum. In order to create sustainable impacts in the longer term, establishing internet journalism as a standard component in journalism education at universities and colleges has huge potential. As curriculum reforms take time to materialize, it is too early to assess the rate of success of the current project in this regard. To the question of whether the current project is the “right thing to do” in the present Tanzanian context, the evaluator would respond in the positive, with some reservations. As stated above, the focus on internet and online journalism seems justified, and project activities are highly relevant and continue to produce positive results. That being said, while some elements of follow-up have been incorporated into the programme, it is still largely about one-off trainings. While this approach allows many people to be reached, learning results and impacts are not as profound as they would be if trainees – and the media houses they work for – were engaged in a more sustained and active manner. If Vikes and MISA are to continue training Tanzanian journalists, it might make sense to modify the programme so as to allow for a more systematic and continued capacityenhancing relationship with the direct beneficiaries. To some extent, this is already the case with the community radio portal pilot group and also senior journalists that have taken part in more than one Vikes training. 23
Positive and negative factors affecting the current and possible future projects STRENGTHS
• Relevance and effectiveness: trainings respond to existing needs and achieve positive results • History of successful training projects • Familiarity with context and good contacts at local level • Knowledgeable, experienced and committed personnel • High trainee and stakeholder satisfaction • Flexibility and responsiveness • Cost-effectiveness
• Limited funds and dependency on one donor • One-off training method not ideal for sustained professional development • Lack of systematically collected baseline and follow-up data hinders impact analysis • Vikes is not a major actor in Tanzania in terms of resources, and MISA Tanzania’s resources have also decreased • Network failures and other technical problems may reduce effectiveness of the trainings
• Large pool of interested and motivated beneficiaries • Increasing importance and understanding of ICT in journalism • Smartphone use and penetration, internet access, online media consumption and popularity of social media platforms are on the rise • Potential for synergies and collaboration with other organizations with similar objectives • Presence of donors prioritizing media development programmes
• Future of Finnish government funding uncertain • More restricted space for freedom of expression and critical journalism • Unsupportive attitudes among some key decision-makers within media and training institutions • Some stakeholders doubt MISA Tanzania’s operating capacity • Negative competition among some media support organizations • Meagre pay induces journalists to disregard professional standards
6.1 General recommendations • In order to maximize impact and value added, Vikes should consider focusing on further developing and emphasizing the project components targeting upcountry journalists and community radios in possible future projects. • Collaboration with universities and journalism colleges on their curriculum is another component that has a high transformational potential and relatively little costs, and it should also be pursued, even if successful outcomes are less certain. • Different ways to further encourage women’s participation in the trainings should be considered. • The possibility of getting media houses or external sponsors to cover all or some of the training costs should be explored further and more systematically than has been the case before. • Resources permitting, Vikes and MISA Tanzania could initiate a meeting between all of the organizations and institutions involved in journalism development activities in Tanzania to facilitate coordination, knowledge-sharing and collaboration among them. At the present, no one seems to have a comprehensive understanding of all the various training initiatives in the media sector. 24
Tanzania Standard Newspapers Moshi correspondents Nakajumo James and Amina Juma sharing a joke during a training Arusha. In the background, Lulu George from Nipashe newspaper.
6.2 Specific recommendations • The trainings should be extended, for example by adding one day, so that trainees would have more time to learn and practice the skills taught. • In order to ensure up-to-date training content and knowledge among Tanzanian trainers, comprehensive retraining and brainstorming sessions with them and outside experts should be arranged more regularly. • All course materials, both in English and Swahili, should be easily accessible online in order to facilitate independent learning, revision and trouble-shooting. • To facilitate the embedding of internet and online knowledge in academic journalism programmes, Vikes should consider producing and offering a “template” course module that universities and colleges could make use of and adapt to their needs. • In order to improve effectiveness, it might be good to offer community radio trainings also in Swahili. Potential trainers could be found among previous trainees. • Even more care should be taken to ensure that internet connections, computers and other training technology are reliable and up to speed at all training locations. • A systematic and comprehensive evaluation of the longer-term impacts of the current and previous projects on trainees’ work and careers, as well as on the wider journalistic framework in which they operate would be highly useful. Ideally, this follow-up assessment would include content analysis of the journalistic output of the trainees as well as discussions with their superiors, peers and, to the extent possible, audiences and other stakeholders.
In future projects, Vikes should consider focusing even more on upcountry journalists and community radios and to further encourage women’s participation in the trainings. 25
Appendices Appendix I: Literature DOCUMENTS PROVIDED BY VIKES Investigative internet journalism training in Tanzania. CSO project support application 2014–2016 to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Vikes. Investigative internet journalism training in Tanzania 2014–2016. Project document. Vikes. Investigative Internet Journalism Training in Tanzania. Logical framework 2014–2016. Vikes, MISA Tanzania and other counterparts. Investigative Internet Journalism Training in Tanzania. Implementation plan and budget 20142016. Vikes, MISA Tanzania and other counterparts. Follow-up assessment of the Internet Training for Tanzanian Journalists 2011. MISA Tanzania. Internet Training for Tanzania Journalists. Follow-up Assessment Report 2012. MISA Tanzania. Internet Training for Tanzania Journalists. Follow-up Assessment Report 2013. MISA Tanzania. Internet Training for Tanzania Journalists. Follow-up Assessment Report 2014. MISA Tanzania. Annual development cooperation report and a report on the use of discretionary government support to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland: Year 2014. Vikes. Internet Training for Upcountry Journalists. Activity Report. Kigoma Region, 8–11 June 2015. MISA Tanzania. Internet Training for Upcountry Journalists. Activity Report. Geita Region, 15–18 June 2015. MISA Tanzania. Report of the Regional Internet Training. Njombe region, 28–31 June 2015. MISA Tanzania. Notes from MISA Tanzania and Vikes planning meeting. Dar es Salaam, Sept 12, 2015. Vikes. Report of the Dar es Salaam Journalism College Lecturers Internet Training. Dar es Salaam School of Journalism, 14–16 September 2015. MISA Tanzania. Community Radio ICT Training Report. Vikes and MISA Tanzania 2015. Community Radio Portal Training Report. Vikes, MISA Tanzania and Comneta 2015.
OTHER INFORMATION DOCUMENTS Empowering Local Radios with ICTs. Final evaluation of Unesco project. Khulisa Management Services (2015). Empowering Local Radios with ICTs. Final evaluation – Suggestions for Extension, Expansion, and Replication. Unesco Management Response and Action Plan. Unesco (2015). Rural Radio in Tanzania. Background Research and Stakeholder Assessment. Final Report to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Strategic Consulting for Media (2013). Technical Assistance with Project Document for Rural Radio Support, Unesco Dar es Salaam. Final report 30 July 2015. Media in Cooperation and Transition, MiCT (2015). The evaluator also obtained additional and relevant information from training blogs produced by Peik Johansson and participants of the English-language trainings as well as from the websites of media organizations. 26
Appendix II: Key informants Maria Arnqvist
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
Tuma Provian Dandi
Radio Mlimani, University of Dar es Salaam
Sonya Elmer Dettelbacher
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Tanzania Media Womenâ€™s Association
BBC Media Action
BBC Media Action
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
BBC Media Action
Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College
University of Dar es Salaam
Media Council of Tanzania
BBC Media Action
Rose Haji Mwalimu
Radio Mlimani, University of Dar es Salaam
BBC Media Action
Zanzibar Press Club
University of Dar es Salaam
Community Media Network of Tanzania (Comneta)
BBC Media Action
Tanzania Media Foundation
In addition to the above-mentioned, the evaluator also briefly interviewed some of the journalists attending the Vikes community radio portal training in Dar es Salaam in January 2016 and held several background discussions with people knowledgeable about Tanzanian media and journalism.
Viestintä ja kehitys -säätiö The Finnish Foundation for Media and Development PL 252, 00531 Helsinki, Finland www.vikes.fi
Vikes and its partner organization MISA Tanzania have provided internet training for more than 700 journalists, editors and journalism tutor...
Published on Apr 25, 2016
Vikes and its partner organization MISA Tanzania have provided internet training for more than 700 journalists, editors and journalism tutor...