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Une journaliste de Radio Ndeke Luka en reportage dans une salle de classe à Bangui, Centrafrique ©Fondation Hirondelle / Marc Ellison Une journaliste de Radio Ndeke Luka en reportage dans une salle de classe à Bangui, Centrafrique

2016 Activity Report

An open or closed world?


2016 was marked by globalization of information, of migrant movements, ways of life and conflicts, a vote for Brexit, border closures and blocking of Internet and social media (11 cases recorded in Africa). The year 2016 saw both globalization and shutting down.
In most countries where Fondation Hirondelle works the “shutdown” mentality is growing. Yet we live in a global village and we are “condemned to live together”. How can we live together on a global level without sacrificing our national or personal interests, our identity and values? Technology brings us closer, since the flow of content on the Internet changes our relation to time and distance. But these technological tools do not in themselves help us to understand the world around us, learn the art of dialogue and nourish our curiosity.
Impartial news and information and debates, real services broadcast by credible media that address everyone’s concerns, can do that. That is the challenge of Fondation Hirondelle’s work in 2016 and for the coming years.

Jean-Marie Etter
CEO up to December 31, 2016

Caroline Vuillemin
CEO as of January 1, 2017


Fondation Hirondelle strategic framework


Four-year overview

The period 2013-2016 marked Fondation Hirondelle’s first experience of implementing a four-year strategic programme. This programme was organized around three activity fields: production and broadcasting; support and training; sustainability; and research and impact surveys. The challenges we set ourselves, including boosting our non-audio production capacities, multimedia broadcasting, diversifying activities with the support of local media partners, testing theories to consolidate news media over the long term and contributing to research on the role of independent information in crisis zones, have been met in these past four years. Nevertheless certain implementation difficulties, such as those linked to security conditions in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013-2015, funding problems in Palestine and Ukraine, limited some results. As the year 2016 closed, Fondation Hirondelle was a recognized, strengthened institution with a new management committed to a new programme for 2017-2020.

Understanding through information and dialogue

Despite a radicalization of political and social contexts that change the attitudes of our main financial and political partners, as well as the authorities and people that we deal with in the countries where we work, Fondation Hirondelle managed to maintain its volume of activity in 2016 with 11 media operations in 10 countries on 3 continents and on Internet.
In Niger, a new radio production studio, Studio Kalangou, was launched to cover the February 2016 presidential election. We conducted journalism training in Myanmar and Palestine for the first time.
In total, we produced and broadcast 10,000 hours of radio programmes in the CAR, Mali, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea, 180 hours of TV programmes in Burkina-Faso and, since the COP22 in Marrakech, 11,618 articles on our websites JusticeInfo.Net,,,,, plus 10,347 posts on our social media. These programmes and information have allowed listeners, TV viewers and website visitors to better understand the environment in which they live and the problems that face them. Our programmes offer them spaces for dialogue amongst themselves and with their representatives, so as to better understand everyone’s needs and seek common solutions to conflicts. We paid special attention to the most marginalized people, women and young people, to help them get their voices heard.
We have strengthened the capacities of 776 media and civil society professionals through training and editorial and management support, so as to allow our media partners to play their role in a professional and sustainable way. We supported two public media outlets in Tunisia and Burkina Faso in their process of transition to public service media.
We contributed to research and international discussions on the role of media. A survey by Zurich University on Studio Tamani’s contribution to the peace process in Mali found a preference among Tamani’s listeners for “dialogue” as a solution to conflicts in the country. We also analysed the impact of our programmes in Niger, Burkina Faso and Tunisia through quantitative and qualitative surveys.
Finally, Fondation Hirondelle has embarked on an important transition reorganizing its support in Lausanne to rationalize costs and increase capacity to respond to the requirements of partners and donors. This is part of a landmark transition after co-founder and long-time CEO Jean-Marie Etter retired from his operational functions on December 31, handing the top management over to Caroline Vuillemin. Ms. Vuillemin has taken on a new team to strengthen Fondation Hirondelle’s editorial output and its capacity to develop and manage projects in contexts that are more and more complex and uncertain.

Key 2016 figures


  • 12 media operations in 10 countries, on 3 continents
  • 10,000 hours of radio programmes
  • 185 hours of TV programmes
  • 11,600 articles on the Web
  • 250 media supported
  • 755 people trained
  • Population covered: 60 million
  • Financial volume: 10,1 millions CHF


Financial report



Out of total expenditure of 10,092,875 CHF, 13.05% went on headquarters expenses, down nearly 1% on 2015. The remaining 8,775,331 CHF went to projects, with 62.15% spent on staff costs, 30.9% on operating costs and 6.95% on equipment.

Financial resources

Fondation Hirondelle’s total revenue was 10,042,875 CHF in 2016 and came from the following sources:

Download our 2016 Activity Report: PDF