iHubOnline Gets COVID-19 Relief Funding

"This is a major boost to our operations. We hope to upgrade our infrastructure, extend our reach and enhance partnerships with other stakeholders," said Mnela.

Amid great risk of shut down, Malawian digital media start-up, iHubOnline, has been handed a lifeline after being awarded a COVID-19 emergency grant of close to €10,000 through a European Union (EU) financed programme.

The emergency support programme, dubbed ‘COVID-19 Response in Africa: Together for Reliable Information’, is being championed by the International Media Support (IMS) with an aim to help public interest media in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news of the award of the grant was communicated by IMS Regional Programme Manager for Africa Lena Veierskov in an email dated 4th January 2021.

"I am pleased to inform you that following the evaluation of your proposal, we have decided to award you the emergency grant," reads the email in part.

Reacting to the news, iHubOnline Managing Editor Mallick Mnela said through this rapid response mechanism, IMS will provide funds to enable the start-up get back into operation after scaling down due to COVID-19.

"This is a major boost to our operations. We hope to upgrade our infrastructure, extend our reach and enhance partnerships with other stakeholders," said Mnela.

Mnela added that the support gives them confidence that they are pursuing a journalism model anchored on the principles of innovation, good journalism, free expression and democratisation of information.

The grant will enable iHubOnline to continue its vital operations, purchase of personal protection equipment (PPE) and related safety provisions, as well as facilitate content production and content distribution related to the COVID-19 theme.

iHubOnline, which formally started in early 2019, is also currently participating in a media innovation fellowship with South African based Wits University's JAMLAB.

In the six months JAMLAB Accelerator hothouse programme for journalism and media innovators, participating start-ups are learning emerging themes in media innovations for greater social impact and business sustainability.

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