Media Competence for the Church in Africa

Evaluation of the missio scholarship fund for the Institute of Social Communication (ISC) in Nairobi, Kenya.

After more than fifteen years of support, missio instructed CAMECO to carry out an evaluation, whereby the relevance of their scholarship fund, adequacy of the bursary amount, and suitability of the selection criteria and selection process should be scrutinised. Project documents (e.g. applications and reports) were analysed. Local scientific advisers and teaching staff were interviewed. Furthermore, a group interview of current scholarship holders and an online survey were conducted.  

The scholarship fund aims to qualify specialist personnel to assist local churches in the expansion of their media presence, thus enhancing inclusion of Catholic positions in political, economic and sociocultural discourses, especially in secular media.

The missio scholarship programme primarily supports female students from low-income families, and members of local sisterhoods. In 2001, the first eight scholarships were awarded. The subsidy covers registration fees and course fees for one of two semesters in an academic year.

In the survey, the former scholarship holders unanimously confirmed the high quality of studies at the ISC. The mix of theory and practice is seen as suitable qualification for the local market. More than half of former scholarship holders work in a church-associated organisation, such as a diocesan communications office. However, it is recommended that missio raises the bursary sum, to facilitate support for the whole academic year and the entire course duration. Furthermore, missio should demand more informative reports, which document and justify a selection committee’s choice of each scholarship holder. The ISC is advised, for instance, to improve transparency in connection with announcing the call for applications, and should establish the planned alumni network as soon as possible, to maintain contact with former students and keep up to date with their careers.