Olewe Invited Guest Lecturer on Public Interest Media

This week, CAMRI’s Winston Mano, Course Director for the University of Westminster’s MA in Media and Development, extended an invitation to Mr Dickens Onditi Olewe, a Programme Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation based in London, to deliver a guest lecture on his organization’s endeavours in establishing public interest media. Mr Olewe shed light on their efforts as part of the Global Media Partnership Programme, an initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at empowering “leading media organizations that serve the public interest” to cover “under-researched and underrepresented issues”, often aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Olewe highlighted the programme’s success in various regions worldwide. In Africa, the Foundation’s focus primarily spans three countries: South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. Here, they support media coverage on crucial health and development issues, alongside funding research addressing global journalism challenges, including gender representation in news. During the lecture, students engaged in discussions, querying about monitoring and evaluation procedures, as well as the criteria for media support.

Grantee media organisations, according Olewe, are “keen to cover SDG topics but they don’t have the resources, that’s the role philanthropic funding is playing”. He emphasized the Foundation’s commitment to transparency, clarifying their backing for entities with a proven history of in-depth coverage on developmental matters. Notably, they extend support to niche news organizations like South Africa’s Bhekisisa and the fact-checking outlet Africa Check, aimed at enhancing the quality of reporting. Mr Olewe is an alumnus of the Media and Development MA course at the University of Westminster.



Photo by Dickens Onditi Olewe

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