On behalf of NiZA's media team I would like to say a few words about NiZA, about the background of this second Trainers Meeting in Grahamstown and about why NiZA feels this initiative is important.


What is NiZA?

Four years ago three former anti-apartheid organisations based in The Netherlands merged into NiZA. NiZA stands for the Netherlands Institute for Southern Africa, an independent organisation promoting democracy in Southern Africa. Besides the Media Programme, NiZA has a Human Rights Programme and an Economic Relations Programme. NiZA is strongly rooted into the Dutch society. Its 30.000 individual donors help support our programmes.

NiZA's Media Sector Plan started in September 2000. It is divided into four thematic groups, the so-called clusters: community radio & ICT, freedom of expression, community media and Training & Research. Besides these thematic clusters, there is a special cluster for exchange projects, mainly with Europe. Within each cluster, NiZA works with an independent consultant, advising NiZA and the partners in that cluster.

NiZA works on a partner basis, not a project basis. This means that only registered partner organisations within the Media Sector Plan can submit project proposals to NiZA. NiZA expects to admit new partners in the course of the year. New partners can apply for partnership through a partner application form. Potential partners will be advised by one of the consultants NiZA works with.

The appraisals of the projects are done twice a year, in May/June and in November/December. All proposals are advised upon by the consultants. The decision making is done by NiZA itself. The whole process always starts with a call for proposals from NiZA to its partners.

What kind of support can partners get from NiZA?

The Media Sector Plan is financed by PSO (Personnel Services Overseas), often referred to as NiZA's back donor. Through PSO, NiZA is allowed to finance expert missions to all its partners. These experts can be of any nationality (preferably from Southern Africa) and advise partners in terms of institutional and organisational development, research, new technologies, capacity building and journalism training. Furthermore NiZA strongly supports exchange projects between Southern Africa and the rest of the world. This meeting today is a clear example of an exchange project.

This implies that all other kinds of supports, like equipment, running costs and core financing do not fall within the scope of NiZA's Media Programme. Support within the Media Sector Plan should be considered as additional funding allocated mainly for institutional and organisational development.

Why did NiZA support the Windhoek Trainers and Editors meeting? The assessment of journalism training in the region as part of institutional strengthening and capacity building of the media training institutes. Secondly, it will contribute to NiZA's media training policy development. The Grahamstown meeting, as a follow-up is financed by NiZA to support regional institutes to decide on areas on collaboration and co-operation. Moreover, it will help NiZA to determine how more effectively to support journalism and media training institutes in terms of institutional development.

The Training Needs Assessment, implemented by Colleen and her colleagues, should give all media trainers in the region an idea of what they, the region as a whole has to offer to journalists and media workers. It also shows the gaps. This can, in time, result in project proposals from the training institutes to NiZA, aimed at filling the gaps.

How will NiZA react to any output of this meeting? Through NiZA partnership, proposals can be submitted to NiZA according to the  follow up proposals. First of all, it'll be me, as I am the project officer for all projects around training. I will send all the proposals to Mr Chudi Ukpabi, who as an independent consultant will advise NiZA about all training projects. The whole staff will then decide on the projects, under the final responsibility of Bob van der Winden, who is the programme manager.

NiZA feels very strongly committed to this initiative, organised by its media partner organisations. We hope that this meeting together with the Windhoek meeting and the results of the Training Needs Assessment will give you here and us there, an indication on how to proceed in terms of the improvement of the quality of media training.

I would like to thank you all for being here. My role during this meeting will be that of an observer. If this presentation has gone too fast and in case you have any questions, I will be around this week. Please do not hesitate to approach me.



Ruth de Vries

Grahamstown, September 8, 2001