The project aims to increase accessibility of news across mobile platforms in Africa and offer increased news services to communities that may be otherwise underserved. Participating newspapers will receive funding, consultation and training to develop their mobile businesses.
Mobile News for Africa grants were made to nine newspapers last year, resulting in the development of 10 mobile news applications. WAN-IFRA will be selecting five more newspapers to participate in 2012 and is accepting applications from those seeking to develop new mobile platforms or improve or expand existing platforms.
The project has also produced a handbook, Mobile Media Services at Sub-Saharan African Newspapers: a Guide to Implementing Mobile News and Mobile Business, co-published by WAN-IFRA and the African Media Initiative. The handbook can be downloaded without charge from http://tinyurl.com/4y9dcth.
Mobile News for Africa is part of a strategic partnership between WAN-IFRA and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to advance media development and press freedom worldwide. More on the partnership and its projects can be found here.
Newspapers are invited to apply for small-scale technical assistance grants of up to €5000 to develop or grow their mobile platforms while simultaneously receiving support via training and consultancy from regional and international experts on mobile web, mobile advertising, mobile election monitoring and a range other topics. Among the key criteria for proposed projects is the potential for economic sustainability.
Concept development and training focused conferences will bring representatives from participating newspapers together on two occasions in 2012 to benefit from the knowledge of experts and share best practices.
Applications will only be accepted from newspapers; applicants may work in partnership with other media outlets or NGOs, but newspapers must lead all projects.
Interested applicants should submit a completed application form and return it vie e-mail to Catharine Fulton, Mobile News for Africa project director, at email@example.com. The application form can be downloaded from http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/53874 (at the bottom of the page) and may also be requested via e-mail from Catharine Fulton.
The deadline for applications is 13 April 2012. Successful applicants will be notified of their acceptance to the program in late April.