With support from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) began programming in late 2007 to build the capacity of the media to promote human rights and good governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
To date, JHR’s program has witnessed strong success. Over 600 journalists and journalism students have received training on how to report on a variety of human rights and democracy related topics including the rights of prisoners, the judiciary process, children’s rights, and multiple gender-focused topics. As a result of these workshops, 82% of the trainees stated that they would increase human rights coverage in their media house and 79% said they would share what they learned with their colleagues.
In addition to formalized workshops, JHR offers fellowships to local journalists to produce in-depth, investigative human rights stories. Recent journalism pieces that were produced through this program include a 30-minute documentary on discrimination faced by Pygmies, a radio series on children who have been accused of witchcraft, and a print series on some of the serious health and sanitation issues in slums outside of Kinshasa.
In September 2009, JHR announced its second round of grants to local NGOs under its small grants program. The grants provide the opportunity for local NGOs to develop and implement media and human rights-based programming. Current projects include voter education and voter rights for 10,000 hearing impaired individuals and the production of a radio program, in local languages, on women’s electoral rights to be broadcast on 35 community radio stations.