On 29 September 2020, through partnership with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), UNDP awarded financial grants to 13 media houses in line with a joint programme designed to help mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 on the media sector.
The grants were awarded through a competitive process and they are part of a fund amounting to 100,000 USD established by UNDP Rwanda in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Governance Board.
In response to the call for proposals, 50 media houses applied, and a selection process was undertaken by a team composed of six members from Association Rwandaise des Journalistes (ARJ), Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), RGB and UNDP.
After a thorough assessment of all project proposals, 13 applicants successfully qualified to receive the grant. The Grant Awarees are from different categories of media houses, including radio, TV and online. Successful media houses are: Radio TV 10 Ltd, Umucyo Community Radio Station Ltd, TV 1 RWANDA Ltd (Radio & TV), Fine Fm 93.1 Ltd (Radio), Isango stars Ltd (Radio & TV), Inyarwanda LTD (online, Kigali Today Ltd (Radio), Radio Isangano,, Rwanda Printing and Publishing Company/ Imvaho Nshya (online), Bwiza Media Ltd (online), Umuryango Media Group Ltd (online), Radio Flash Medinvest Ltd (Radio & TV) and Express News Rwanda Ltd(online).
Applying media houses were required to focus on generation and dissemination of content meant to help prevent and fight the pandemic. The implementation of all projects will last for three months.
This programme was set up to support efforts of media outlets to deal with the effects of Covid-19 on their operations. It will also encourage the media to play a more active role in the ongoing efforts to contain Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chief Executive Officer of RGB, Dr. Usta Kayitesi thanked media houses for their continued efforts in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and encouraged them to use the funds they got appropriately and effectively. She added that “the grants will not only help media to recover from Covid-19 negative impact but will also help to strengthen it as it is necessary for the interest of citizens, good governance and accountability.”
Speaking on the occasion, Ms Varsha Redkar Palepu, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Rwanda, commended the successful media houses for the innovative and quality work which was rewarded and encouraged them to thrive for excellence in all they do.
She challenged selected media houses to develop and disseminate programs which are people focused. “I would like to encourage you to ensure that what you produce is impacting positively on the “Rwanda we want” by empowering people to make informed decisions and opt for constructive actions,” Varsha said.
She also called on media houses to embrace inclusiveness in all their reports saying, “I encourage you to include the voices of remote communities, the elderly, People with Disabilities, women and youth to ensure no one is left behind.”
Deputy Representative Varsha reiterated UNDP's commitment to support the media sector particularly during the pandemic, as front-line essential services.