PIWA is a non-governmental independent African organization supporting media and communication. It is founded in 2000, and operates mainly in West Africa.
PIWA is a member of the Panoses Network, which includes eight autonomous Panos Institutes. The Panos Network is legally registered in the Netherlands as "Panos Foundation Network." The Network is ruled by a "Panos Council," of which PIWA is a current member and founder. An "Executive Committee" is appointed and PIWA is presently one of the three members.
PIWA has full autonomy in the development and implementation of its strategy which it defends at the General Assembly and the Board of Directors. It is also completely responsible for its fundraising and the execution of its grants through her Five-Year Strategic Plans.
PIWA is registered in Senegal, where she enjoys a Headquarters Agreement with the state of Senegal.
PIWA enjoys the Status of Observer with ECOWAS and ACHPR.
One Mission: "Democratizing communication, and strengthen public spaces for open African societies, where citizens' opinions are informed, and their voices amplified and heard."
One GOAL: The goal of the second Strategic Plan of PIWA (2006-2010) is: "Building a democratic communication space for change and social justice in Africa"
Objectives: PIWA pursues this goal through three strategic objectives and an institutional objective.
• Objective 1: "Developing a political, legal and professional, inclusive environment favourable to democratization of communication."
• Objective 2: "To contribute to the production, dissemination and accessibility of information favourable to social change."
• Objective 3: "Strengthening communication capabilities of stakeholders of social change."
• Objective 4: "Ensure institutional development."
The approach of PIWA
To achieve its objectives, PIWA wants to be:
- By experimenting methodologies, or new models (whether for production and distribution of media contents or capacity building)
- By opening the debate on unexplored issues (ICT) or sensitive issues (the dominant social values).
- By cooperating with strategic allies,
- By relying on operational partnerships.
A truly regional organization
PIWA has its headquarters in Dakar.
PIWA intervenes at the region level but also at country level, in "focal countries" where one or more national components of the Thematic Regional Programmes are developed.
PIWA has opened a "country office" in Mali, in 2008, and the establishment of another country office is in progress in Sierra Leone.
PIWA also intervenes in Nigeria through a focal point (IMESO).
The Governance of PIWA
The sovereign body of PIWA is its General Assembly, which appoints a Board of Directors composed of 7 to 9 members, including the CEO.
Members who come from different countries of the region are recognized personalities in the communication sector or the subjects of PIWA.
Balance of gender and cultural diversity.
- By the end of 2009, over the eighteen permanent staff members, ten are women. The three executive functions are held by women (CEO, Programme Director, and CFO). Of the 12 "managers" and "officers", eight are also women.
- PIWA employs nine different nationalities, with seven based in his regional office in Dakar.
- The Board of Directors of PIWA comprises five different nationalities.
As an independent organization, PIWA mobilizes itself most of its funding. Its funding comes from:
- Non-Governmental Organizations and Foundations from the North Oxfam-Novib, Free Voice.
- European Cooperation Agencies i.e. EU, Catalan Cooperation; and North American (IDRC OSIWA).
- As well as ad hoc funding over a period.
- 26.39% of its funds are corporate funding; 11.47% are related to short-term projects funding (UNDP, CCFD, OXFAM-UK in Senegal)