2. The GFMD approach

Section 2 of the GFMD 2021-2025 draft strategic plan.

GFMD is uniquely positioned to tackle the imperatives outlined in the problem statement.

It represents a broad cross-section of the international media development community and includes a significant proportion of actors from the Global South.

Furthermore, GFMD has a strongly independent profile, underpinned by a democratically elected governance structure that draws on multiple skills and diverse backgrounds. This means that it can represent the interests of its members fairly and equitably in all discussions aimed at shaping development strategies.

GFMD’s core activities

At the current time, GFMD’s core activities can be summarised as follows:


GFMD has an excellent track record in connecting media development agencies through a combination of networking activities and online engagement.

The organisation’s events remain the sector’s leading arena for policy and strategy debates.

As well as enabling an exchange of experience and ideas, networking activities are effective in building partnerships between individual agencies as well as exploring opportunities for collaboration or pooling resources in the context of ongoing initiatives.

Peer-to-peer learning

A key achievement of the past year has been the launch of resource centre pages which enables an exchange of know-how and skills between organisations operating in very different environments.

Webinars and online meetings are the main learning vehicle, offering beneficiaries the chance to learn from their peers through moderated sessions and follow-up engagement.

Informal surveys of GFMD members point towards a growing interest in this service, particularly in areas such as proposal development and impact evaluation.


The newly revamped website, social media platforms (LinkedIn and Twitter), active mailing lists and innovative newsletters offer GFMD members a broad range of services and resources.

They also ensure that the secretariat can share information on upcoming events and opportunities.

GFMD will continue to invest time and resources in enhancing these platforms to the benefit of members worldwide.

There is also room for using social media discussion forums as conduits for professional debate and constructive interaction.

Knowledge management

GFMD has accrued a wide experience of disseminating research and analysis, including insights into access to information cases and media consumption patterns.

The organisation has considerable potential to showcase best practices in the sector and capture lessons learned, then stimulate a discussion of new techniques and approaches.

Knowledge management efforts are underpinned by the website which offers an increasing range of downloadable resources.


GFMD tackles the political and structural constraints to media sustainability and media freedoms by engaging in peer-led advocacy.

Through research and networking activities, it documents how high-quality journalism and media can impact governance, civic participation, poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and economic prosperity worldwide.

Using a combination of bespoke events and third-party forums, GFMD works to mainstream these issues, thereby shaping the international discourse and reaching a wide range of decision-makers and duty-bearers.

These activities contribute to GFMD’s core mission to enhance the impact, efficiency, and professionalism of a sector that supports the creation and strengthening of independent, sustainable journalism and pluralistic media which meet the information needs of communities across the globe.

GFMD’s overall Theory of Change is stated as:

GFMD recognises that collective efforts are the most effective way of driving system-level change and overcoming key challenges within this sector. If there is a structure that allows local, regional and global journalism support and media development NGOs to participate in global policy and decision-making processes on an even playing field.

Then nuanced context-specific strategies can be developed, piloted and tested for appropriately targeted assistance that optimises resilience of public interest media content for various tiers of the media system and then an evidence base can be generated and disseminated for context-effective and forward-looking models of journalism and media development assistance that can sustain demand-driven public interest content streams over time

Leading to the widespread application of these models, ensuring that demand-driven streams of public interest media content continue to reach and engage target audiences within the dynamic matrix of local and global pressures that will continue to affect local media markets. This makes for more coherent journalism support and media development sector in which GFMD relays the structured policy arguments of civil society in policy discussions with government and private sector actors.

Structure allowing media dev to participate in policy and decision making on an even playing field

→ nuanced context-specific strategies can be developed, piloted and tested

evidence base can be generated and disseminated

⇒ widespread application of these models → demand-driven streams of public interest media content reach and engage target audiences

⇒ more coherent journalism support and media development sector that allows media dev to participate in policy and decision making on an even playing field (full circle)


This draft strategic plan will be presented for discussion at a special session of the GFMD General Assembly on 1 October 2021. For more details and to find out how to participate see:

page1 October 2021

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