The AKU GSMC Media Innovation Centre, together with its partners DW Akademie
and Media Challenge Initiative (MCI) are looking for the brightest media minds
from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to join our 2021-2022 Innovators-in-Residence
program, a 12-month incubation and accelerator program that provides mentorship,
training and coaching to media innovators in East Africa.
We want to ensure innovators from both rural and urban areas get access to this
program and for this reason, this year’s cohort will include a special track for rural
We want to support innovators working on ideas that promote journalism in rural
communities in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Specifically, we are looking for media
solutions that improve access to information, public dialogue and participation
for rural communities considering the great linguistic diversity, potentially low
connectivity, limited access to professional news media and low literacy rates.
Innovators working outside cities such as Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Kampala are
highly encouraged to apply.
Urban-based innovators are also highly encouraged to apply as we also have slots
The 9 winning teams, 4 from Uganda, 4 from Tanzania and one from Kenya will join
our programme for a period of 12 months and receive the following benefits to turn
their ideas into successful products.
• A physical space in your home country to work and connect with a regional
network of game-changers in the media space.
• Expert coaching and mentorship based on the innovator’s needs as well as
high-quality training by experienced professionals drawn from journalism and
• Become a lifetime member of our young and growing community of journalism
and media innovators.
• Monthly stipend of $1,000 per team.
• Grant Funding of up to $20,000.
We highly encourage applicants to apply as pre-formed teams of journalists,
storytellers, visual artists, data analytics specialists, photographers, videographers,
graphic designers, cartoonists, illustrators, coders, programmers and/or animators who will work as a team to create viable solutions to the pressing challenges of the
East African media landscape. Individual applicants who do not yet have pre-formed
teams are welcome to apply, but should be ready to build a team once they qualify
for our programme.
The projects can range within the following media challenges, but we are open to
any other exciting ideas. Feel free to surprise us!
• Community-based or community targeted journalism: Community-based
media that cover critical societal issues at a grassroots level. Journalists
working in rural areas in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are highly encouraged
to apply. We want to support ideas that help us answer the following question:
How can we tailor our community journalism to be more relevant to our local
• Youth-targeted journalism: Innovations and start-ups that are producing or
intend to produce journalistic content that targets young people. Innovations
that address the issues of East African youth and package the content in digital
formats that resonate with the youth. We want to answer this question: How
can we engage young audiences?
• Fact-checking: Innovations that will assist journalists and storytellers to
address misinformation and disinformation in East Africa. We are open to
projects that answer the following question: How can we address mis- and
• Digital journalism: Innovations that focus on delivering high-quality journalism
told and packaged in exciting digital-based storytelling formats such as
graphics, podcasts, video and other visual forms of storytelling. We are looking
for innovative projects that would answer the following question: How can we
create meaningful storytelling using new digital tools and methods?
• Documentaries or ‘alternative media’: Innovations that focus on retelling
journalism in unconventional ways such as documentaries, docu-series and
limited series. We would like to know: How can information be transferred in
an engaging and thought-provoking manner?
Who Can Apply?
• Media innovators from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Journalists and innovators
based in rural areas are especially encouraged to apply.
• Innovators working in pre-formed teams or those applying as individuals but
are willing to team up for this programme. Innovators can only apply in teams
of 2-5 members.
• Projects producing content in any East African language are welcome to apply.
Applications must be submitted in English.
• Projects that address journalism and media challenges other than storytelling
are welcome. Apps and projects that support journalists and existing media
houses in their work are invited to apply.
• Participants must be above the age of 18 years.