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QW+ and AIP Introduce the R2 Million Innovation Fund backed by First for Women

Community media, Quote This Woman+  (QW+) and the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP) today announced the launch of a new R2 Million Innovation Fund, which has been kickstarted with a donation of R100 000 by 1st for Women Insurance.

Ensuring that the voices of women get the greatest chance to be heard; and to strengthen and democratise media from the grassroots up, the initiative is called “The Look, Listen, Local Innovation Fund”.

Announcing the innovation fund launch, QW+ director Kath Magrobi explained that her organisation and AIP had decided to collaborate on this fund, and to launch it in Women’s Month, because both see the need to centre women in South African media. The Innovation Fund aims to amplify women’s voices and provide critical support for journalists and editors working in the media.

“We’re delighted to have 1st for Women as our primary sponsor, kickstarting the Look, Listen, Local Innovation Fund into being. The fund has a specific focus on empowering community-first media; where women sources, journalists, editors and news consumers, who have been underserved for too long, are in critical need of support. Our Innovation Fund gives us a chance to start to reimagine community newsrooms that properly serve their communities with reporting that is inclusive and reflective of the diverse and complex community needs,” says Magrobi.

Seugnette van Wyngaard, head of 1st for Women Insurance, congratulated QW+ and AIP on taking the necessary steps to establish the fund, saying “The importance of closing the gender gap in the media cannot be overstated. This is how we start giving girls the role models they need, and start ensuring South Africa gets to hear women’s voices in the news speaking truth to power on important issues. We need to be able to turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper and tap on a media article and not just get the opinions of men over and over again – we are thrilled to get women’s fearless voices into the spotlight.”

Kate Skinner, director of AIP, contextualised the fund saying that journalists need support now more than ever as the media industry has been under threat from budget cuts, retrenchments and mis and dis-information. The fund will allow AIP to strengthen community media publishers, ensure they produce a rich diversity of content reflecting women and other marginalised voices and to assist publishers to go online.

Filling the fund coffers

The Look, Listen, Local Innovation Fund will officially come into being on 22 September at a corporate donor media breakfast, where 15 corporate sponsors will “buy” a table that will be hosted by women thought-leaders from the QW+ database, as well as by editors, journalists and publishers from across SA’s media who have thrown their weight behind the Innovation Fund. The price of each table will be the sponsorship needed to make up the R2 Million Innovation fund.

So far, the media list includes Nwabisa Makunga, Editor of the Sowetan, Heather Robertson, Editor of Daily Maverick, Katy Katopodis, co-founder of Nala Media and Newzroom Africa Editorial advisor, Verashni Pillay, media editor/expert, Phathiswa Magopeni, previous head of SABC News and now COO of Bhekisisa, Joanne Joseph, broadcast journalist and author—with more confirming every day.

Community publishers include Mbali Dhlomo, Intuthuko Newspapers; Slindile Khanyile, Umbele; Thembisa Mjiba, iDikelethu News; Octavia Hlungwani, Phofula Golden Highway Voice; Anetta Mangxaba, Dzindaba News and Moipone Malefane from Vutivi Business News.

Khadija Patel, a top investigative journalist and journalist-in-residence at the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) will lead the panel discussion at the breakfast, where political thought-leader, Mbali Ntuli will be joined by Mamokete Lijane, SA’s leading finance and economy expert, and Mbali Dhlomo, a community news specialist, to talk about radical democracy vs open democracy; what it will take to make South Africans become discerning media consumers in the context of the upcoming elections; South Africa’s media landscape; and what is really happening in communities in South Africa and at the grassroots level.

Table sales are limited to 15, and disappearing fast: any corporates who would like to participate are invited to reach out to QW+ or AIP.


Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity. Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them. Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS. Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.

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