In 2017, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) introduced its fellowship programme. The media fellows aims to raise media understanding of, and its effective and consistent reporting of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) -for-democracy issues in East Africa towards increased quality and regularity of reporting, as well as a greater diversity of voices, in coverage related to ICT, democracy and human rights.
The academia fellows aims to nurture university students’ and early career academics’ understanding of ICT for governance, human rights and development. By engaging members of the academic community, the programme benefits partners of the ICT4Democracy in East Africa network through placements of individuals with skills in fields such as ICT, mass communication, and informatics, within the partner organisations. Ultimately, the programme aims to grow links between the academic community and practitioners in the ICT field for mutual research, learning and knowledge exchange, so as to create the next generation of ICT for democracy and ICT for human rights champions and researchers.
Since its launch, numerous fellows representing east, central and western Africa, as well as Asia and the United States of America have participated in the programme, with a wide range of outputs including commentaries, broadcast content, multimedia content and journal articles. The learning and experiences of the fellows so far have informed CIPESA’s contributions to the to the curriculum review and development for a Masters in eGovernance programme at Makerere University. Furthermore, CIPESA’s engagements with the Makerere University Development Informatics Research Group on the role academics should play to contribute to the national and global development agenda, including through producing actionable knowledge, creating closer linkages with development practitioners and seeking ways to influence policy making.