Annual report 2021
A journalist from Studio Tamani, Fondation Hirondelle’s programme in Mali, interviews patients at the hospital in Kayes. Florent Vergnes / Fondation Hirondelle

Fondation Hirondelle’s programme

A new strategy for 2021-2024

In 2021, Fondation Hirondelle started a new four-year strategic programme, whose objective is to contribute to peaceful, inclusive, democratic and just societies, in line with Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our contribution is made through media action: quality journalistic work and the creation of spaces for dialogue within societies. We maintain our mission of providing information to populations facing crises, to enable them to act in their daily life and as citizens. Our action aims to ensure that all people, including the most marginalized such as women and youth, are informed and can participate in civic life through responsible public interest media.

Continuity with the objectives of the 2017-2020 program is assured. We have two operational fields that are the core of what we do: production and broadcast of journalistic content; and capacity building of partner media. A third field aims to strengthen our organization, so we can fulfil our mission and be more financially independent, efficient, agile and sustainable. Finally, two cross-cutting fields focus on the search for complementary partners and on production of studies and research to improve and share our knowledge.

This programme is the framework of our institutional partnership contract with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Key Numbers in 2021

10 media operation in

20 countries on 3 continents

12 522 hours of audio programmes

327 hours of video programmes

10 602 articles on the Web

1 159 470 users of our websites

542 172 followers on Facebook and Twitter

545 media supported

550 people trained


Audience of our 6 media :

7 million regular listeners

(Kantar survey 2020)

Media in a world of crises

Hopes were high in 2021 that the world after Covid would come about. But the world after Covid presented in UNESCO’s annual report remains bleak for freedom of expression and the media: the pandemic and geopolitical tensions have increased the economic fragility of media and restrictions on press freedom around the world. Colleagues and partners in Myanmar bore the brunt of this in the wake of the February coup. In the Sahel, the coups in Guinea and Mali, where we have partners and an editorial office – Studio Tamani – respectively, have also forced the media to redefine their space of expression between freedom, self-censorship and arrests.

While pre-Covid health issues, such as the fight against malaria and cholera, were regaining importance in the concerns of populations in the countries where we work, security, economic and social issues were also the subject of our editorial coverage. In the Sahel, Studio Yafa developed a special programme for internally displaced persons in Burkina Faso, more than one and a half million in the country by December 31, 2021, made vulnerable by endemic insecurity in the north of the country and lack of reception facilities. In the Central African Republic, Radio Ndeke Luka has expanded its FM coverage with new transmitters, thus broadening its audience to fill information gaps and bring new sources of information


New partnerships with existing media outlets were developed in Madagascar and Burundi, and maintained in Tunisia, DR Congo and Pakistan. Studio Sifaka in Madagascar went from being a Fondation Hirondelle project to a local entity under Malagasy law and a partner of the Fondation. In Burundi, a new project started in May: 10 local media of all types benefit from the training and support of our experts. We have continued to collect and verify information, to open spaces for dialogue, to give a voice, to make information accessible by choosing local languages and the most appropriate media channels in contexts of violence and poverty. But this was not without obstacles. The issues and challenges posed by disinformation and the possible responses in various places were summed up in a concept note presenting our approach, based on our more than 25 years of experience and taking account of the new actors of disinformation.

Several internal reorganizations, in line with the new strategic programme, led to creation of a new post of Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Capitalization Officer at headquarters, as well as the strengthening of the operations team in the field and in Lausanne. The Fondation continued its involvement in multilateral bodies defending the role of the media, notably by joining the Steering Committee of the Global Forum for Media Development and the Journalism Trust Initiative. The Board of Trustees has supported the management throughout all these developments, and has validated a new Security Policy, an essential update given the Fondation’s mission and places of operation. Security is as much a concern for small community radio stations in the Sahel as it is for media outlets under attack today in Ukraine.