The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced $5 million in journalism and media funding to advance anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria. The grants are part of the Foundation’s On Nigeria grant-making, which seeks to create a new atmosphere of accountability, transparency, and good governance in the country by strengthening Nigerian-led anti-corruption efforts and reducing retail or “petty” corruption in key sectors.
The nine grants announced in a release in Abuja seek to strengthen investigative and data-driven journalism in Nigeria and to reinforce the role played by independent media and citizens in revealing and documenting corruption.
The grants will support a range of projects, including trainings for journalists on investigative field work and data-driven reporting, assistance for independent media organisations working to develop sustainable business models, and initiatives to monitor and report on Nigerian regulatory agencies in key sectors. Additional funding in 2017 will support efforts to increase the capacity of citizens to use social media as a driver of social change.
“Media and citizens are playing an increasingly active and important watchdog role in Nigeria,” said MacArthur Foundation Nigeria Office Director, Dr. Kole Shettima. “With this support we hope to contribute to a culture of investigation and transparency, in which authorities are held accountable and independent voices are empowered to monitor, detect, and report on issues of corruption.”
The grantees announced include: Bayero University, Kano (Kano); to enhance training, curriculum, teaching, and learning opportunities for the next generation of investigative journalists; Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation (Lagos); to support investigative journalism in Nigeria and to educate the public and other important audiences about issues related to corruption, with a focus on the electricity and education sectors.
Others include Daily Trust Foundation (Abuja); to strengthen the capacity of journalists, media professionals, and students to conduct high quality investigative and data-driven journalism; International Centre for Investigative Reporting (Abuja); to train journalists on investigative journalism techniques and to support in-depth field investigations.
There are also Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (Abuja); to conduct investigations on financing, security, and terrorism; to create a fact checking website for journalists; and to build civic technology for citizens and journalists to collaboratively learn and produce multimedia reports related to corruption; and Reboot (Abuja); to train Nigerian journalism and media organisations on understanding and engaging audiences, developing sustainable business models, strengthening investigative and data-driven reporting, and collaborating with advocacy groups.
The last three beneficiaries are Sahara Reporters (Abuja); to launch a Lagos-based civic media laboratory to engage citizens in public dialogue on corruption and other social issues; Tiger Eye Social Foundation (Dzorwulu, Ghana); to strengthen investigative capacity of Nigerian media by training journalists in investigative techniques and supporting field investigations on corruption; and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (Lagos); to pilot an initiative that will monitor regulatory agencies in Nigeria using media and investigative journalism.
The Foundation’s On Nigeria grantmaking seeks to support Nigerian-led efforts to address the corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability that have posed major governance challenges in Nigeria, with far-reaching impacts on the well-being of Nigerians and development in the country.
Strategic priorities of the work include reducing corruption in the electricity and education sectors, two services that Nigerians report as being critical but difficult to access due in part to corruption. The grants announced are intended to support this work by building and strengthening a system of accountability journalism in the country.
MacArthur has been making grants in Nigeria since 1989, opening an office in Abuja in 1994 staffed by Nigerians.