The Africa Story challenge: Journalism that matters

The Africa Story challenge: Journalism that matters

Africa’s culture is oral-based. It means traditions are passed down to the younger generation, orally, by the older generation. Now, the issue, here, is that we live in a world where the dominant culture – The West – has a writing-based culture. That is really unfortunate for Africa, and the continent is still suffering from that particular issue. Big chunk of our history have disappeared or, worst, was falsified. Others tell our stories all the time. Some might say that it was actually necessary to destroy any existing pre-colonial structure in order to control the minds of the colonized. But that is another matter, I could write a whole book about it.

Do you remember the game called “Telephone Arabe” in French and “Chinese whispers” in English? A group of person lines up, the first person is told a story and he has to whisper it to the next person, until the story reaches the end of the line. At that point, the story is repeated loudly. Obviously, by the time it reached the last person, it will be distorted. Guess what, that little game was done to prove a point!

Not to mention the currents affairs news, those are always reported with some kind of bias or stereotypes. What is worst I think is that the bias changed depending on the channel you watch CNN, BBC, France24, and Aljazeera English…

Rather than always complaining about the type of stories that are being reported, some people are actually doing something about it.  That’s where the Africa Story Challenge comes in.

This is your chance to shine a light about YOUR AFRICA.

What is the Africa story challenge?

The Africa story challenge is a 1 million program of reporting grants to encourage innovative, multimedia storytelling that aims to improve the health and prosperity of Africans.

The aim of the project

The African Story Challenge is a two-year pan-African project that seeks to challenge the media to expand coverage of fundamental issues that matter to Africans. Our goal is to contribute to the building of a strong media sector able to deliver content that matters to the African public.

This project aims to inspire a bold form of journalism that seeks solutions and uses innovative, digital and data-driven storytelling tools and techniques. And, In doing so the project aims to hold leaders accountable, spur better policies, increase transparency, encourage public engagement and disseminate vital information that will lead to more vibrant communities.

The themes

 Entries are accepted in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic. Stories in other African languages are also welcome but the proposal itself needs to be in English and there must be a media outlet ready to publish or broadcast your story in the language you have chosen. Entries should use one or more of the following five platforms:

  1. Print
  2. Radio
  3. TV
  4. Photography/Video
  5. Digital story telling/multimedia

The Competition has Five Themes In, which you can choose to contribute:

  1. Agriculture and Food security
  2. Diseases: Prevention and Treatment
  3. My Africa 2063
  4. Maternal and Child Health
  5. Business and Technology

The team behind the project

Joseph Warungu, Editor, The African Story Challenge

Knight International Journalism Fellow and former head of the BBC’s African News and Current Affairs department, Joseph Warungu has over 20 years of media expertise as a journalist, anchor, media trainer and newsroom manager. While at BBC, Joseph was responsible for the BBC Focus on Africa and was also editor-in-chief of the quarterly BBC Focus on Africa magazine.

Maimouna Jallow, senior program manager, The African Story Challenge

Maimouna Jallow has over a decade of experience covering African political and development issues, first as a producer and reporter for the BBC African News and Current Affairs programs, and later as regional communications specialist for Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) in the Horn of Africa region.

Who can participate?

This competition is targeted at African journalists from around the continent. The competition is open to all journalists aged 18 and above and to media organizations, online contributors with demonstrated followings, or affiliated freelance journalists.

Diaspora Members are considered

African journalists based outside the continent  are accepted as long as they have an outlet for their stories that is accessible to audiences in Africa.

All participants, including freelance journalists, will have to ensure they have at least one confirmed outlet (TV, radio, print or online) for their finished work.

The International Office of journalists (ICFJ), the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the African development Bank (AFDB) and the Growing Africa Agriculture (AGRA), supports this project.

 Ready- Set- Go

Visit http://africanstorychallenge.com to spread your story!


This post was written by Ndéye séne Mbaye from Undertheneemtree

Undertheneemtree presentation : A blog about books on a multitude of subjects and Africa (politics, literature, fiction, biography, fashion, history and culture). And as Chinua Achebe rightly said “If you don’t like someone’s story write your own”.

Follow them on twitter @undertheneemtre

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