Category Archives: Development

Why having access to the internet is becoming a necessity and why this is a problem

Over the past decade, the internet has become a vital part of the way we live our lives, and its importance is only expected to grow. This article discusses the problems facing those who do not have access to the internet, why this is a disadvantage to them, and what we can do to solve the problem.

Offline and Falling Behind: Barriers to Internet Adoption

Coca-Cola Provides Internet Access for South Africans in a Creative and Unexpected Way

Coca-Cola has partnered with BT Global Services to turn vending machines in South Africa into WiFi hotspots. They hope to empower South Africans in rural and impoverished communities by helping them access information and education opportunities they would not have otherwise.

Coke Turns Vending Machines into WiFi Hotspots in Web-Starved South African Villages

FP2P post discusses positive ways to write about international development

When writing about work related to international development, it is easy for the narrative to take on a condescending tone. In this post from From Poverty to Power, the author discusses how this can be avoided, and how we can better communicate, write, and reflect on international development efforts.

From Poverty to Power: How to Write about Development without being Simplistic, Patronizing, Obscure or Stereotyping

Creating sustainable media in developing countries – how do we do it?

By Luisa Ryan

Media development projects and organizations tend to concentrate on media quality – journalism skills and ethics are generally the main training themes. However, a key concern in developing media sectors is financial sustainability.

Media development partners don’t focus as much on the financial side of the sector. Perhaps this is because financial sustainability is a long term issue, and funding is doled out in 2-5 year cycles, making longer term planning problematic. However, thinking about the money side of media is crucial, and not just in terms of training media administrators on the technical financial management of their organization.

Financial issues can impact on the independence of journalists and media organizations, and hence on the quality of reporting. If the media organization doesn’t bring in enough money to pay staff or to cover expenses, they will be more vulnerable to “pay for play” reporting, or presenting the opinion of whomever can pay the highest fee. If the independence of the media organization is not in question, it may still not be able to hire the best and brightest if offering limited or no salary, or it may have to compete for staff time with better paying jobs.

Media development partners can “prop up” local media with unrealistic salaries, equipment and logistics which the local organization is unable to sustain once the development partner withdraws. Strategies to create income include advertising, transparently paid-for-advertorials (often by international NGOs and other development partners) and increasingly, partnerships with mobile phone operators. But will these be enough to create a sustainable, independent and pluralistic media market?

In the west, we are also struggling with this. In an age of free content, how can good quality journalism survive? How can the media development world learn lessons from the conversations currently being held in the west, to ensure that the media organizations we support in developing contexts are able to continue to deliver high-quality reporting in the absence of donors?