New course to undo bias and privilege in development organisations’ communication practices

Press Releases 7 August 2023

 08 August - Johannesburg, South Africa: Africa No Filter, the not-for-profit working on narrative change on the continent, today launched a new digital course that will improve how communication professionals in development organisations tell stories of their projects in Africa. 

The Ethical Storytelling: How to write about Africa course will provide tips and tools to help communicators undo the stereotypes that persist in many of the storytelling outputs of local and international NGOs, donors and foundations working on the continent.

The course addresses privilege and bias, highlights the importance of consent and context, and the need for investing time to build relationships with people and projects. Ultimately, the course hopes to change the usual behaviour that leads to biased and stereotypical stories about Africa in development communications.

It was inspired by Africa No Filter’s ethical storytelling handbook - How to Write About Africa in 8 Steps - and designed by the e-learning platform, Digemy.  The best way to tackle the course is to do it over a four-week period, taking an hour each time.

Moky Makura, Executive Director of Africa No Filter, said: “Every communications person working in the development sector should consider taking this course because this community is arguably one of the biggest perpetrators of the ‘Africa is broken’ narrative through storytelling that inadvertently focuses on poverty, disease, conflict, corruption, and poor leadership. Development communicators hold significant power and influence over how the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself because of the information they put out and the way they talk about their work.  Unfortunately, they have been instrumental in defining us as a continent. It's time to change years of poor storytelling practices and this course is the first step towards that. When you know better you do better.”


About Africa No Filter: Africa No Filter exists because many stories about Africa still lazily revolve around the single story of poor leadership, poverty, corruption, disease, and conflict. These stories fail to portray the other more progressive side of Africa and collectively perpetuate the narrative that Africa is broken, dependent and lacks agency. The result? Harmful stereotypes that continue to paint a rigidly negative picture of the continent, despite the massive strides we are making.  Our mission at Africa No Filter is to shift these stereotypes because they impact the way the world sees Africa and how Africa sees itself. Through research, grant-making, community building and advocacy, we support storytellers to help shift the stereotypical narratives about Africa one story at a time.  Our funders are Ford Foundation, Bloomberg, Mellon Foundation, Luminate, Open Society Foundations, Comic Relief, the Hilton Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation.