« Back to all News

The impact of the GFMD MediaDev Fundraising Guide: Somali Media Women Association (SOMWA) story

Our MediaDev Fundraising Guide helps all GMFD members who need innovative strategies and practical tools to transform their fundraising efforts and achieve sustainable growth. The guide is more than just a collection of tips; it’s a comprehensive roadmap designed to empower organisations, especially those operating in challenging environments.

Author: Communications Gfmd | 13. December 2023

The story of the Somali Media Women Association (SOMWA) exemplifies the transformative impact of our guide. Faced with financial struggles and the monumental task of advocating for women’s rights and safety, they found in GFMD and our Fundraising Guide the support they needed to develop and enhance their approach to fundraising and network building. This user case illustrates how, with the right resources and guidance, even the most daunting challenges can be overcome.

The Challenge

The Somali Media Women Association (SOMWA) is a non-profit, non-partial, non-political and voluntary women journalist organisation based in Somalia. Founded by a group of women journalists from the region in January 2006, SOMWA is dedicated to increasing the presence of Somali women in the media, particularly harnessing the competencies and potential of its committed members to advocate for and give visibility to issues related to journalists.

Despite their vital work, the organisation encountered challenges in thriving: the competition for funding from international NGOs and donors was intense, and the organisation’s funding proposals often faced rejection. This constant struggle not only threatened their operations but also posed a significant risk to the progress they had made in their advocacy efforts.

The Tools

  • MediaDev Fundraising Guide: our key resource to help you submit better – and more successful funding proposals. It is available in multiple languages!
  • Find Funding: This page is an excellent resource to find the latest funding opportunities for your organisation. It also features the latest news on fundraising, tips, and the latest publications of our newsletter.
  • Bottom Line is our newsletter on MediaDev and journalism fundraising. Every month, we bring you news from the world of media funding, profiles of media donors, and expert insight from GFMD’s MediaDev Fundraising Guide.

The Guidance

GFMD’s MediaDev Fundraising Guide is publicly available; however, as a member, SOMWA was able to make the most of these tools. With guidance from the GFMD Secretariat, the organisation learned to navigate the Guide and apply its principles effectively. This comprehensive resource offered more than just fundraising tactics; it provided a new perspective on how to approach donors, craft compelling narratives, and articulate the urgent need for their work in a manner that resonated with potential funders. As a member, SOMWA was also able to benefit from the multiple workshops and training that GFMD offered.

Implementing Strategies

Under the new framework provided by the guide, the organisation overhauled its approach to proposal writing. Collaboration became a cornerstone of their strategy, with team members bringing diverse insights and experiences to the table. They focused on creating well-structured, persuasive proposals, enriching them with impactful case studies that highlighted the real-world implications of their work. This shift not only improved the quality of their applications but also boosted the team’s morale and confidence.

“I recommend that you read the whole guide, from the planning and preparation to projecting, not once but a couple of times. Share it with your team; let them read because, when it comes to proposal writing, it is teamwork.”

Maryan Seylac, Executive Director of the Somali Media Women Association

Overcoming Challenges

Beyond professional support, GFMD also offered a sense of community, connecting a vast network of like-minded organisations, and fostering opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual support.

“GFMD is a great network which allows you to connect not only the media development that I like only it allows you to connect with regional and international organisations that share the same interests with you. They supported us to connect with some of the international NGOs that we found really challenging to connect with.”

Maryan Seylac, Executive Director of the Somali Media Women Association

SOMWA’s Executive Director was able to attend a session on writing proposals by Michael Randall – who drafted the first version of the MediaDev Fundraising Guide – during the Global Investigative Journalism Conference. The trip was funded thanks to larger members of our network. The “membership fund” aims to support smaller members’ participation in major global events, showcasing our GFMD community’s generosity and solidarity.

The journey of the Somali Media Women Association is a testament to the power of effective fundraising and networking strategies. Their experience with GFMD and the MediaDev Fundraising Guide is not just a success story; it’s a blueprint for other organisations facing similar challenges. It highlights the critical role of strategic partnerships, community support, and the relentless pursuit of sustainability in amplifying the impact of organisations working towards noble causes.

Did you know? 

Our MediaDev Fundraising Guide offers strategic guidance to assist all GMFD members who want to enhance their fundraising capabilities and ensure organisational sustainability by:

  • reducing the challenges of competitive funding landscapes, ineffective fundraising strategies, and limited donor engagement (pain)
  • enabling the development of compelling funding proposals, stronger donor relationships, and a more robust and sustainable financial foundation for media organisations and their mission (gain).

Join GFMD’s Community

Joining the Global Forum for Media Development is a strategic step for any organisation committed to media development and freedom. Membership in GFMD not only provides access to invaluable resources like the MediaDev Fundraising Guide but also connects you to a global network of like-minded organisations, offering opportunities for collaboration, learning, and mutual support. By becoming a member, you gain a voice in a community that is collectively shaping the future of media development and freedom. Learn how to join our growing community here.


You are using an outdated browser which can not show modern web content.

We suggest you download Chrome or Firefox.