The Sanitation Media Fellowship: Why journalists have a powerful role to play in the sanitation agenda

Blog • 19 September 2019

How do we solve Africa’s sanitation problem? Today 1 in 3 people still live without adequate sanitation facilities in Africa, and that shocking number rises to 75% in the West Africa region. Despite this, media coverage on sanitation is low, and therefore so is awareness of what needs to be done. Together with an alliance of organizations, Speak Up Africa has chosen to take action and address this problem through a brand-new Sanitation Media Fellowship.

Access to adequate sanitation is a clear indicator of development and has been recognized as a human right since 2010. It has been shown that without access to sanitation, communities suffer from reduced well-being, social and economic development and educational opportunities. Speak Up Africa has recognized this, and we have been advocating for the improvement of, and access to, properly managed sanitation facilities for some time.

We believe that the best way to raise awareness is by making some noise. Despite awareness that Africa is in the midst of a sanitation crisis, there is still not enough media coverage. We want to change this. That is why we are proud to lead the launch of the Sanitation Media Fellowship. By educating talented journalists on the state of sanitation in Africa, and helping them develop impactful media reports, their work will be engaged with throughout the continent. As journalists are supported throughout the fellowship, they will produce and publish pieces about sanitation, undertake research projects and speak to key figures across the industry. Journalists have a very important role in society: holding leaders accountable. This fellowship will further enable them to do just that, while also empowering them to take a creative approach in addressing the issue of access to sanitation.

Africa’s sanitation problem will persist unless we all work together. The Sanitation Media Fellowship is an important step to increasing conversation, engaging the public and raising awareness. At Speak Up Africa we aim to ‘Advocate. Enable. and Engage,’ Following years of active advocacy, it is with great joy that, with this fellowship, we will be able to engage, and drive change in the continent.

We are looking forward to receiving all applications and working with the journalists to create meaningful and impactful change for the people of Africa. For further information on the application process, or the fellowship, please visit

Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa

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