Community Media Fund

Across the African continent, a large and growing community media sector provides a unique and significant service to many citizens. These outlets make available news and information to, and about, local and provincial communities that are often not reached or well covered by traditional media. Often, they are the only media providing coverage in local languages.  Community media include those that operate as private enterprises, as well as those run by educational institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and community-based organizations (CBOs).

The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) and the Ford Foundation have partnered to establish a Community Media Fund (CMF) providing critical philanthropic support to enhance citizens’ access to relevant information that enables the public to hold officials accountable and to urge support for policies and practices that promote inclusive economic and human development.  In its first two rounds of grants, the CMF has awarded 15 grants to organizations in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

These grants to key organizations are intended to strengthen citizen journalism, enhance the financial literacy of citizens, improve public access to relevant data and build the capacity of community media to improve governance and accountability.

Eligible organizations must be Africa-focused and headquartered, and meet the following criteria:

  • Civil society organization (CSO)/non-governmental organization (NGO) supporting community media; or
  • Media training institution; or
  • Community media outlet, including an outlet affiliated with educational institutions; or
  • Network of community media; or
  • CSO/NGO supporting initiatives that increase the visibility of emerging nontraditional reporters; or a
  • CSO/NGO focusing on transparency, accountability and financial literacy at the community level.

Additionally, applicants must:

  • Be registered in good standing in accordance with their national and local laws.
  • Be directly responsible for the preparation, implementation and management of the proposed project.
  • Have a bank account, and be willing to open a separate account for the grant and
  • Have certified financial audit reports.

BMIA has also provided CMF grantees with a series of webinars and resources to help them understand and cover COVID-19, continue their professional development and enhance their capacity to complete their CMF projects successfully. A special set of grants were also made in 2020 to support the creation of public service announcements to educate the public about COVID-19 to prevent its spread.

The CMF is administered for Bloomberg and the Ford Foundation by the East Africa regional office of HIVOS, a global non-profit development organization.

For details about eligibility and application requirements when they are finalized, please indicate your interest and provide complete contact information to

CMF Grantee Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT) Kenya

Hivos logo

Underwritten by:



Ford Foundation logo

“The Community Media Fund seeks to increase citizen participation in the planning for public resources in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria. These grants will also strengthen community media which serves a critical role in promoting transparency, accountability and inclusion in making financial and economic policies.”

Ms. Mendi Njonjo, Regional Director, Hivos East Africa

“This project, implemented by Bush Radio and funded by the Community Media Fund, will deliver municipal financial literacy skills to both reporters of community radio stations in the Western Cape, as well as their listeners. The reporters will produce content on their local municipal budgets as well as analysis of these budget, and deliver this content in an understandable format to listeners, while encouraging listener participation and feedback. We aim to have communities engaging municipalities on their budgets beyond the project, ultimately ensuring that these budgets are responsive to community needs.”

Brenda Leonard, Managing Director, Bush Radio 89.5FM, South Africa

“In marginalized communities like the Turkana, the enthusiastic adoption of new media technologies is reshaping public discourse. Doubly, marginalized groups in the community like young women, who have been actively seeking to organize and join forces in their quest for better conditions, are actively exploring opportunities, skills and support to make their own voices heard through new media, prompting our project “Giving Voice Through Citizen Journalism. Through this intriguing partnership project, we will train 20 young women and adolescent girls in media and facilitate their access to safe spaces, networks, mentorships and community stories.”

Ms. Ikal Ang’elei, Director, Friends of LakeTurkana, Kenya

“The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) is grateful to the Community Media Fund (CMF) funders Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa and Ford Foundation for the opportunity to partner in the second phase of this project and look forward to the outcomes that will emerge from the initiative. We reached 7 million people with our first CMF grant. We also have community radio journalists whose skills were enhanced tremendously and this remains an outcome their stations enjoy to date. Communities took action in response to the critical accountability, transparency and social justice stories produced by community radio journalists and citizen journalists supported by the CMF grant.”

Ms. Marceline Nyambala, Executive Director, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)

“Mtaani CBO seek to use its two community radio stations to enlighten communities in Nairobi and Kajiado Counties on issues contained in the County Integrated Development plans (CIDPs), to ensure enlightened public, who engage with the devolved government units on the utilization of their resources focus on ensuring transparency and accountability. By employing the People First Impact method, we will engage with the community members, involving them in conversations and contents of the CIDPS through focus group discussions, and public forums to identify gaps that community radio journalist will address through in depth programs on Mtaani Radio and Radio Domus. This will in turn build a community that is able to ensure social accountability and engage in building structures necessary for meaningful citizen engagement.”

Bonface O. Opany, Station Manager, Radio Domus Fm, Kenya

“At such a time as this, when a pandemic challenges individual and collective capacity, this initiative helps to uplift national institutions and processes. Developing and activating the capacity of community journalists to engage natural resources management will refuel the media and re-energize governance far into the post – Covid-19 era.”

Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society (IMS)

For more details on eligibility and application requirements for the CMF’s call for concept notes, please click here.