December 22, 2017
December 22, 2017

Media Fellow Alumni: 2017-Global, 2018-Global


Title/CompanyPhotographer and Blogger

Based InKampala, Uganda

Geographic Focus: East Africa

Areas of ExpertiseMedia literacy, media for development, and marketing and communications





(All biographical info is from 2017. For latest bio, please visit Fellow’s website, LinkedIn, or other social media profiles).

Jonathan Tusubira is a Media for Development specialist and a Co-founder of The Center For Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD), which aims at transforming vulnerable communities through appropriate and responsible Media and Community Approaches. Jonathan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Management with Honors from Makerere University in 2006, completed a Diploma in Journalism and Mass communication 2009 among other short courses in project planning, Human Rights and Disability Rights. He is a former lecturer of Broadcast Media at Multi-tech Business School’s Institute of Film, Radio and Television in Kampala. In 2013, Jonathan managed and coordinated a DRF (Disability Rights Fund) project at United Deaf Women’s Organization (UDEWO), where he developed a Marketing and Communication Strategy for UDEWO with the aim of Gender Main streaming Deaf Women and Girls in Uganda. Following this he produced a film documentary highlighting and exposing 5 cases of sexual abuse of deaf girls ignored by police because the victims couldn’t afford sign language interpreters. One of the cases was featured during Jonathan’s TEDx-talk on “Embracing Disability” at the annual TEDx-Nakasero women event in Kampala.

Previously, Jonathan worked as a journalist at Step Radio and Step TV, having partly grown up in a rural setting, he believed in using the media as a tool to amplify community voices so their issues could be heard. However, after five years he realized that even though the media is a powerful tool for development, the community, which the media was targeting, was not participating enough to report their own affairs. It was still “guided” by traditional media whose interest weren’t necessarily development. Even then, the high increase in the number of media houses in Uganda weren’t making newsrooms more inclusive or accommodative of diverse perspectives. As a result, communities became “voiceless” as they lacked the ability to hold their governments accountable. In 2013, together with two other colleagues, Jonathan started the Center for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD). The aim was to foster a diverse and thriving media landscape by strengthening citizen engagement and ensuring that the community was accountable to themselves and other stakeholders. In 2014, with support from Deutsche Welle Akademie, the Center piloted their flagship community media project in Mbale, Eastern-Uganda; advancing the cause for young people in influencing their own development agendas through media. The project strengthened and promoted spaces for community voices and participation in decision-making processes by connecting FM-Radios to Community Reporters (CRs) at the grassroots using interactive voice response (IVR) systems through their mobile phones. The pilot saw 27 Community-Reporters trained, and remotely participating in participatory youth radio-programs that are greatly strengthening capacities of citizens to participate in influencing their development agenda. The now popular media literacy model is being expanded in other regions of the country.

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