Call for proposals: Media Nexus Programme: Information empowerment for public participation and engagement

IMS and Fojo Media Institute (Fojo) are jointly inviting applications to support the implementation of a three-year media development programme whose aim is to contribute to the strengthening of the media’s role in advancing democracy and development.

Programme Overview

Overall Objective

Zimbabwean citizens (particularly marginalised communities) freely participate in, and contribute to, governance and development processes.

Specific Objective

Zimbabwean citizens (particularly marginalised communities) are informed and empowered with relevant, reliable, inclusive information and media content, enabling meaningful participation in governance and developmental issues. The following are the main outcome areas and summary of the proposed activities to be deployed under each of the three outcomes.

Issuance date: 9 September 2022
Closing date:  3 October 2022
Funding type: Grant
Category:Media Development 
Project activity implementation period:      Minimum period of 12 months, maximum 30 months
Geographic coverage: Rural, peri-urban and marginalised urban communities across all provinces of Zimbabwe. Selection of specific activities for each province should be informed by identified needs and in complementarity with existing initiatives.
Grant ceiling/range:Up to USD 90,000 per year (single applicants) up to USD 180,000 per year (consortium). All subject to scope, reach, organisational capacity and reputation, relevance and value for money aspects of the proposal.
Eligible applicants:   Media civil society organisations (CSOs), media operators, community media organisations, community based organisations (CBOs), media unions, media networks, media content creators and innovators, based and operating in Zimbabwe.

The above-mentioned categories of organisations/institutions should ideally: 

  • Be a legal entity registered under relevant Zimbabwe laws.
  • Have sufficient programme outreach capacity in the designated/project-focused geographic and programmatic area.
  • Documented evidence of utilisation and management of grants/funds will be an added advantage.
  • Have established systems for reporting mechanisms.
  • Have audited financial statement for the last completed financial year.

IMS will not accept applications from individual persons. Consortiums are encouraged to apply for this call with one lead applicant, while single applicants will also be considered based on merit. A lead applicant is the one that will hold the grant and be responsible for all expenses and reporting to IMS. A lead applicant can only be lead in one application. All applicants should be legally compliant under Zimbabwean laws and operating in Zimbabwe. Applications that demonstrate strong geographic presence and implementation partnership with entities based in the target communities, or with reputable CBOs, CSOs or FBOS within the target communities will have an added advantage. This is dependent on the specific outcome area and activities proposed (see outcome areas in the sections below). Applicants must be able to demonstrate non-partisanship, i.e., that they are not affiliated to any political party or promoting a political party’s activities. Proposals are to be submitted online, on time and in the stipulated length and format. Proposals sent after the deadline will be rejected.

Programme overview: outcome areas

Outcome 1

Communities, especially marginalised and special interest groups, access and use credible information to participate in public debates on developmental and governance issues.

Examples of activity types

Content production, dialogues and media literacy activities such as, but not limited to:

  • Production and distribution of community newsletters in offline communities in local languages for all provinces (these can also be distributed in PDFs on WhatsApp).
  • Curation, repackaging and distribution of online content for offline communities (aggregating social media, online, tv and online print media content for distribution via WhatsApp and printable materials [USB drives]).
  • Bulk SMS distribution for election messaging.
  • Production and distribution of community radio content including talk shows, radio drama series, news bulletins, current affairs discussions; distribution of community radio content through offline formats – kombi casting.
  • WhatsApp discussion forums for citizen journalists and community leaders in all the 10 provinces; content production and distribution on online media platforms.
  • Multi-media information campaigns on misinformation and disinformation.
  • National schools and colleges debate and essay writing competitions.
  • Community meetings targeting organised community groups including women and youths, rural district councils and churches.
  • Public media literacy campaigns involving nation-wide activities.
  • Activities to include election-focused content production, media literacy and dialogues/debates.

Outcome 2

Professional, reliable, innovative, sustainable comprehensive media enable informed citizen agency and engagement, with a focus on marginalised communities.

Examples of activity types

Support for viable and professional media and information platforms as follows:

  • Expert-led institutional safety of journalists and media training.
  • Expert-led development of individual safety of journalists strategies and plans for programme partners.
  • Joint and tailored digital safety training for community and online media platforms.
  • Joint and customised training and coaching for alternative content producers on gender equality and gender mainstreaming.
  • Regular media monitoring of all content producing partners under the programme.
  • Commissioning research, surveys and studies on specialised areas such as production of research papers and policy briefs on the nexus between media and other development sectors.
  • Annual summer schools aimed at developing specialised skills and knowledge around factchecking, investigative journalism (IJ), climate change and environment, gender, health and governance.
  • Embedded journalism programme with expert and specialised organisations (in factchecking, IJ, climate change and environment, gender, health, governance including reporting on elections and socio-economic issues, [approaches will be physical, virtual, blended depending on context]).
  • Refresher trainings for mainstream, alternative and community media on various topical issues.
  • Leadership retreats on principles of freedom of expression, media freedom, access to information.
  • National journalism awards.

Outcome 3

Relevant duty-bearers ensure a conducive media policy and operational environments enabling safe journalistic practice and citizen participation.

Examples of activity types

Community-led, coalition based local and regional advocacy on ATI, monitoring and influencing media policy reforms and policy implementation and promoting safety of journalists and media:

  • Convene information-sharing meetings and advocacy platforms on relevant media policy reforms.
  • Community mobilisation for engagement with parliamentary outreach and relevant ministries and government agencies.
  • Production and distribution of policy briefs in vernacular simplifying new media laws for communities.
  • Usage of civic tech platforms and tools to create publicity around media and freedom of expression-related legislation.
  • Multi-media campaigns around policy implementation and awareness on digital rights.
  • Promoting safety of journalists using advocacy engagements with relevant security arms and ministries.
  • Monitoring, documenting and publishing media freedom violations for awareness raising.

Application and submission requirements

Format: All applicants are strictly to complete an online application form on this link with all requisite attachments uploaded virtually. No email applications will be considered.             

Attachments are limited to the following:

  1. Tentative budget
  2. Workplan
  3. Monitoring and evaluation plan 
  4. Proof of registration
  5. Copy of independent institutional audit report of the last fiscal year 
  6. Table of current funded activities, funding partners and budget amounts and funding period
  7. Organisational team structure
  8. Risk matrix
  9. List of references of your current and previous funders

The proposals will be evaluated in accordance with the evaluation criteria set forth below and include the following sections:

  1. Coherence and justification:  proposals will be assessed for their relevance to the objectives of the programme, particularly the anticipated connecting link between the proposed activities and their intended impact on target groups identified. Outcomes and objectives must be coherent, measurable and realistic. Concept notes must show how the proposed activities will achieve the desired outcomes. 
  2. Innovation: proposals that demonstrate innovation and new approaches that demonstrate learning from previous interventions will stand high chances of success.
  • Gender integration: the proposed projects must address gender issues in a substantive and integrated manner, describing specific and effective approaches for addressing gender constraints and how these will be addressed.  
  • Relevance to marginalised communitiesApplicants must outline how the proposed project will be inclusive of marginalised communities and how it will benefit marginalised communities. 
  • Organisational capacity:  The application must briefly describe the applicant’s organisational history, capacity areas and experience including traceable past performance.  Applicants with no related prior funding are also encouraged to apply. IMS may do reference checks on all applicants shortlisted.
  • Cost application/budget:  The applicant must include an indicative budget breakdown for the proposed action within the stipulated ceiling. The budget must clearly demonstrate value for money (VFM) and all budget lines must be justified and commensurate with the proposed activity costs and corresponding results.

Submission instructions and deadline

Applicants, without exception, are to complete the full proposal form on the following link no later than 5:00pm Zimbabwe time on Monday, 3 October 2022. Submission after this deadline will not be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all fields are completed and all questions are adequately addressed. IMS bears no responsibility for last minute data errors, technical delays, power outages or omissions.

Download the proposal form here.

Submit applications here.

Questions/Clarifications: All questions for clarification on this call are to be sent to by 20 September 2022.