Annual report 2021
Studio Sifaka reporting from the Atsinanana region in Madagascar © Iako Randrianarivelo / Fondation Hirondelle


Constructive, pragmatic useful journalism

Nearly a hundred countries are currently in the grip of profound crises. More than half of humanity is suffering from wars, pandemics or droughts. In most of these countries, people also suffer from a lack of reliable information.

In the countries of the Sahel that I had the opportunity to visit last year, our projects meet a need because their primary vocation is to serve the population. This constructive, pragmatic and useful journalism has a real impact on people’s daily lives. Our teams in the Sahel and in the rest of the world are committed, rigorous and consistent. I thank them for that.

Factual and accurate information focused on essential needs has become a tool that offers people not only a glimmer of hope in often desperate situations but also a compass to help regain a little humanity. Based in particular on humanitarian principles, in situations where hatred and violence are rampant, it also has the power to unite and bring people together.

Tony Burgener
Chairman of the Fondation Hirondelle Board

Media at the heart of global challenges

In 2021, Fondation Hirondelle teams braved security, editorial, financial and organizational difficulties to continue fulfilling our mission of providing information in crisis zones. Indeed, despite the hope of “a world after” Covid, crises have remained global. The pandemic and climate change have proven this to anyone who still believes in the impermeability of borders and media spaces. The war in Ukraine is provoking opinions and media reactions in Africa and elsewhere. As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet reminded us at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in Tallinn in February 2022, the right to know opens access to other rights and frees speech. This gives the media responsibility and a duty to fulfil their missions of information, knowledge sharing and dialogue. In return, citizens and public authorities must recognize and support this role, everywhere.

Fondation Hirondelle has five commitments in its Charter: independence, dialogue, accountability, proximity and pragmatism. It is particularly through the last two that our media are at the heart of global issues. They are close to the populations because of their geographical location, the languages used and the profile of our journalists. They deal with local issues with a global reach: human rights, security, peace, migration, global warming. Through their pragmatism, using the most appropriate formats and media — from FM radio to podcasts and Facebook Live –, they are accessible to the greatest number of people and at the heart of the lives of the populations they serve.

Convinced by these commitments, in 2021 we launched an ambitious new strategic programme. The beginning of 2022, marked by a new war whose international consequences remain largely unknown, encourages us to work even harder towards our ambition: the existence of free media in fair, democratic and peaceful societies.

Caroline Vuillemin
General Director, Fondation Hirondelle