The Consortium to Promote Human Rights, Civic Freedoms and Media Development (CHARM) in Sub-Saharan Africa is working collectively to nurture civil society, human rights defenders, independent media, and journalists in the region by supporting actions to protect and expand freedoms to speak out, organise, and take action.
The seven consortium partners (CIVICUS, Fojo Media, Wits Journalism, Civil Rights Defenders, DefendDefenders, Réseau des Femmes Leaders pour le Développement (RFLD) and Magamba Network) from across the African continent are collaborating to strengthen the effectiveness and build the resilience of journalists, media practitioners, social media producers, human rights defenders, and civil society activists and their organisations, to advance more democratic and free societies.
CHARM focuses its work on sub-Saharan African countries where civic freedoms are obstructed. However, there is still space to speak out, organise and act, including pockets of resistance that can be supported to strengthen human rights and democratic freedoms.
In the pilot phase, running from October 2019 to June 2020, CHARM’s work centred on improving understanding of its primary constituents’ rights and enabling their capacity to demand/exercise their rights.
To achieve this, activities sought to achieve 4 key objectives:
- Advocacy actions fostering an enabling environment that promotes human rights and civic and media freedoms, with a specific focus on women, labour, LGBTI, environmental and indigenous rights journalists/activists;
- Inclusive and diverse counter-narratives to improve public support for a free and vibrant civil society and media;
- Coalition-building that encourages coordination and joint action and provides solidarity in the face of attacks and threats, with a focus on women, labour, LGBTI, environmental and indigenous rights journalists/activists;
- Enhanced access to resources, especially by marginalised groups that, strengthen the ability of civil society and the media to withstand civic space restrictions and achieve their objectives.
Key outcomes from the pilot phase include:
- Increased direct engagement with decision-makers and institutions at all levels on issues related to protecting human rights and democratic and media freedoms – for example, linking Human Rights Defenders to special rapporteurs and engaging with UN government authorities, to mention a few.
- Increased engagement amongst primary constituents, evidenced through learning, exchange, and collective/solidarity actions.
- Increased access to support and resources to help primary constituents improve the quality and sustainability of their work – for example, through conducting resource mobilisation trainings, providing direct financial support to over 200 HRDs across Sub-saharan Africa and working to strengthen national HRDs.
CIVICUS provides coordination to the Consortium to Promote Human Rights and Media in Africa (CHARM) project’s pilot phase, with financial support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
Publications & Media
- Initiated work to developSustainable Journalism Partnership in collaboration with Linnaeus University, Jönköpings Universitet, Rhodes University och Wits University. Launched concept with Swedish Embassy in South Africa 23 April
- AJENDA – network of journalism universities established together with Wits. See background study both in English and French
- SupportingIJ hubs with Wits and support to AIJC conference
- Supported Fact checking through support with Africa Check (as well as developed new concept – fact checking and gender, corruption and IJ). Connected Africa Check with partners such as AWIM, GIJN, Pax Press, Transparency Internationally. 12 online trainings have been conducted through CHARM support as well as studies and toolkit (being translated to Amharic, Kinyarwanda, French)
- Aregional gender studie with Africa Women in Media (AWIM)
- A regional Think Tank about ”coaltion building between media and civil society in sub-Saharan Africa” CHARM antology
- Mapping study about coalitions in Sub-Sahara Africa
- A media-tech-civil society-networkwith partners in Kenya and Zimbabwe