THE Tanzania Media Fund (TMF) has disbursed institutional grants to nine media outlets and production companies, totalling 1.38bn/-.
A statement issued by the fund said each beneficiary of the competitive grants promised to deliver according to TMF expectations by implementing their projects in line with their work plans. This now brings to 67 the total number of institutional grantees since TMF inception in 2008.
The Deputy Managing Editor of a Kiswahili weekly newspaper - Changamoto, Mr Samson Kamalamo was all smiles during the ceremony recalling that they had applied twice but failed only to succeed in the third attempt.
"Like we say in Kiswahili - 'mambo mazuri hayataki haraka' (you don't rush a good thing), I'm proud that we have joined the TMF family by being one of the beneficiaries. We were patient enough even when our first two proposals never went through," said Mr Kamalamo who is also the project coordinator.
The Managing Director of Dhamira Communicating and Artists Company Limited, Mr Robert Mwampembwa who runs the first ever puppet show in the country on Star TV, said the grant will help in capacity building for his staff.
"We really need training for our puppeteers to ensure we raise the quality of production so that the episodes for season two are of high quality. We also want to use the funds from TMF prudently to guarantee sustainability after expiry of the contract," said Mr Mwampembwa.
The media outlets and production companies that have secured grants are Gaba Africa Limited, Ladyband Company Limited (Changamoto newspapers), Maa Media Centre, Dhamira Communicating and Artists Company Limited and Passion FM.
The rest are Ebony Entertainment (Ebony FM), ABM FM Radio, Radio Kili FM Stereo Limited and the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR) based in South Africa but the funds will have to finance investigative projects of Tanzanian journalists who are members of FAIR.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Director of TMF, Mr Ernest Sungura, explained how competitive the selection process was, saying a total of 35 institutions had applied for the grants.
"All the applications were subjected to the strict TMF criteria before submitting the 15 proposals to the Grant Selection Committee (GSC) for the final vetting. You should consider yourselves lucky and deliver according to TMF expectations," said Mr Sungura.
The director called on the beneficiaries to promote quality work through production of excellent programmes, features and analyses that generate debate and eventually lead to domestic accountability. Mr Sungura said in line with building the capacity of the beneficiary institutions, TMF plans a "Pre-project Implementation Workshop" in Morogoro on November 26 - 28.
"The aim here is to build your capacity on project management, quality report writing, financial management and monitoring and evaluation on how to track success stories," he said, adding that TMF will outsource a training group to do the job.
The Tanzania Media Fund seeks to promote the quality of journalism in the country through grant-making and learning components whereby it offers two types of grants to individual journalists and media houses or institutions.
The learning component entails well tailored short courses to suit the demands of the media industry at a particular time. Short courses that have been conducted so far include one on mobile phone reporting and on online journalism. The financiers of TMF are Switzerland, Ireland, Denmark and the UK.