A Non-profit Media Investment Fund

Just today I learned about a very interesting organization for community media groups to know about: The Media Development Loan Fund. Since 1996, it's given out $61 million in loans to independent media globally, which enables independent media groups to more than double their income in two years.

They describe one of their investments, a radio station in the remotest regions of Papua New Guinnea where scores of people died of famine a few years ago because they didn't know there were food reserves in the nearest village, but now the stations connects those villages. This doesn't sound like a major national television station, it sounds like a real community-owned media project like VV's, and it's fantastic to learn that a station like this would be getting traditional investment. I've been talking for a while now about my hope that, in time, VV would be able to attract venture capital investment. After all, media (or at least, entertainment) is something that people the world over pay for. If we can scale enough in India, we should be able to say to investors, we're not there yet, but can you see how over time, with four billion people needing media that reflects their own realities, community media can become a viable media business? or perhaps a way to speed this process would be for all of us working in community media to pool our programming and go after these kinds of investments this year, not five years from now!

Written by Jessica Mayberry, Founding Director of Video Volunteers.

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