Coalitions for Change (Aug/Sept 2021)
This learning brief by Michael Randall and published by PRIMED presents the findings of an online workshop held from August 30 to September 3, 2021 and organized by the International Media Support.
The purpose of the learning brief is to share the lessons learned with stakeholders who benefit from the PRIMED programme, as well as other participants of the media development community.
"It's not about forming an institution- but a platform upon which the collective good is advanced." Tabani Moyo
Coalitions are temporary alliances of different actors with a variety of interests and affiliations looking to achieve common goals through collective action and advocacy. This learning brief presents the unique abilities of coalitions to fundraise and advocate, explains why coalitions are needed in the media development sector, and highlights the best way to start a coalition. The report covers the architecture of coalitions, the considerations that should be taken into account when assembling coalitions, the most effective leadership structures, and details how although there is no linear evolution that coalitions should follow, there are certain actions that coalition members can take, from incorporating an incremental approach to using analytical tools, to ensure that the evolution is successful. Finally, this section of the report also addresses the support from the international community in terms of how effective it is for international agents to collaborate with local media development organisations. The full summary of these sections is available here.
The workshop participants highlighted different techniques for the capacity-building of coalitions:
- Research and monitoring
- Stakeholder consultations
- Direct advocacy
- Exchanging experience
- Legal analysis and drafting
- Media programming
- Public engagement
- Support mechanisms
Additionally, key areas for upskilling include training in engagement and advocacy, consultancy in governance and project management, and awareness-raising of international norms and best practice models. The full summary of this section is available here.
Because most media and civil society collaborations lack the vision to naturally integrate sustainability into their vision. However, including sustainability is linked to a coalition's relevance, and thus must be considered. The following are some of the suggestions that the learning brief highlights to naturally include sustainability in a coalition's planning:
- Borrowing from existing structures instead of trying to build new structures from the ground up.
- Diversifying sources of income.
- Sharing responsibilities among coalition members.
The most commonly mentioned challenges that coalitions face are:
- Building trust with governments stakeholders.
- Managing competing agendas.
- Maintaining momentum.
- Steep learning curve.
"Coalitions need to be nurtured and requre a lot of diplomacy and tact to bring people together around a common agenda, not least because collaboration doesn't come naturally to media in volatile and often highly-competitive environments."
The Model of Theory of Change presented maps out a generic sequencing, drawing together multiple approaches and intervention models. It is unlikely that any one coalition would cover all the activity strands depicted, going from strategic development and capacity-building, to technical assistance and advocacy. The graphic is included here, and on page 14 of the full learning brief, available here.
In the making of the learning brief, six case studies were highlighted:
- Coalition Building for Press Freedom in Somalia
- Media Alliance of Zimbabwe
- Pakistan Journalists' Safety Coalition
- Media Freedom in Zambia
- Declaration on Media Freedom in the Arab World
- Media Advocacy Coalition, Republic of Georgia
In addition to the learning brief, the PRIMED workshop compiled three view interviews with Adnan Rehat, Maha Taki, and Tabani Moyo, as well as two interview transcripts with Dr. Haron Mwangi and Jane Chirwa. The video interviews and the summary of the transcripts are available here. The full transcripts are available here.