Fondation Hirondelle has been active in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2002. Between 2002 and 2014, it contributed to the creation and development of Radio Okapi, the radio station of the United Nations mission in the country. Since 2014, Fondation Hirondelle has reoriented its activities in the DRC towards two priority populations: youth and women. A network of media partners, created and led by Fondation Hirondelle, now includes 102 partner radio stations (mostly community radio stations, but also some commercial) and 23 television stations. This is the most developed network of radios in the country. It represents more than 25% of the Congolese media.
As a part of its approach to supporting media and independent information, in the DRC Fondation Hirondelle carries out content production, training, technical support, and income generation activities. This support began in 2004, and was a particular focus from late 2010 until early 2017 within the framework of the Media Sector Development Program (MSDP), led by the NGO Internews with the contribution of Fondation Hirondelle, with funding from USAID. This program enabled Fondation Hirondelle experts to support the network of partner radios selected for the project in the following areas: journalistic, managerial, technical, and income generation training; production and broadcasting of content by partner radios.
From 2015 to 2017, Fondation Hirondelle implements 3 information programs for Women and the Youth : Youth & Elections; Women & Elections; My Body, My Dignity (against sexual violence).
Since October 2017, Fondation Hirondelle implements a new program, Médias Citoyens pour la Vie Publique (Media for Citizen Participation in Public Life), supported by Sweden. With this two-year program, Fondation Hirondelle continues to support its network of media partners and the production and broadcasting of content for its target audiences, women and young people, on cross-cutting themes connected to major development issues for the DRC, such as governance, the environment, and human rights. These are multimedia productions: audio contents (a national magazine, portraits, chronicles...), video contents (Motion Design, portraits...), and public debates (Hirondelle Débat : a meeting gathering a hundred of people to dialog with experts on social issues). These productions aim to present and explain and on social networks (Facebook).
- Contribute to the consolidation of a democratic society in the DRC through the diversification and improvement of the media offer of general interest, especially for young people and women, during and after the electoral cycle.
- Produce and disseminate media content for the special attention of young people and women in the DRC to give them the information they need for better participation in public life.
- Strengthen partner media through structuring coordination and actions that enhance journalistic, editorial, managerial, and revenue-generating skills
- « When listening to the WOMEN AND ELECTIONS programmes (produced by the Fondation Hirondelle team in the DRC and broadcast by its partner radios), I really enjoyed listening to the testimonies of personalities like Jeanine Mabunda. It encouraged me to enrol to become a future candidate, because the others were just like me.»
Ms. Gertrude Tsungu Diambu, an inhabitant of Boma, West region of the DRC
- « With regard to the My Body My Dignity programmes, some of our listeners asked in our morning shows if the programme was broadcast every day and said that if possible they should be able to call in and ask the doctor questions directly about the causes and consequences of sexual violence.
Our partnership has helped us a lot not only financially but also with quality productions that have enhanced our programming. So it is very advantageous for us, and we hope that it will continue for a long time.»
Serge Nguizani, coordinator of Centrale FM radio in Kinshasa
- « The idea of putting young people and key players in the electoral process face-to-face is brilliant… The amplification of the message through the Hirondelle radio network is a considerable asset. It helps to ensure that the message is heard even in the most remote environments. Publishing content through social networks is another positive element of the program, which characterizes its innovative and dynamic aspect ».
M. Willam Evans, UK Governance Adviser, Kinshasa