CFI brings together men and women who are the life force of the media sector and enables them to work together, in the North as well as in the South.
Media expertise is now a recognised component of official development assistance (ODA) worldwide. According to an OECD/CIMA report  published in March 2015, 0.17% of global funds allocated to development are devoted to the transfer of skills to the media sector (around $200 million in 2012).
Alongside the main bilateral donors (Germany, USA, Japan, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, etc.), the European Union has emerged as a major player in this sector by opening up many of its programmes to media projects: neighbourhood, human rights, peace-keeping, while many country programmes increasingly offer a media business modernisation component.
Long confined to the role of broadcaster of propaganda messages, the media are now on the path to development and offer a unique means of reaching out to all sections of the population, including those which have been traditionally the most isolated.
CFI relies mainly on French state funding. The annual subsidy corresponds to around 0.1% of French ODA in 2015, making France one of the most active countries in this area.
For several years now CFI has been working with the European authorities in Brussels, as well as with delegations located in the main countries of intervention. This willingness to incorporate the priorities of the European Union in this sector has the aim of optimising the effectiveness of aid by combining our mutual goals as far as possible. By taking on board procedures recommended by the European Union, CFI is also in a better position with respect to some calls for applications.
Consultation between donors and media development agencies translates into more effective aid to the benefit of the media in the South.
The sharing of information between media development stakeholders avoids duplication of aid and makes it possible to respond more effectively to crises, to make good use of feedback and, as the case may be, to build consortia capable of meeting the demands of multilateral donors.
CFI's most regular northern partners are the Danish NGO International Media Support (IMS), the British (BBC Media Action) and German (Deutsche Welle Akademie) state agencies, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), Internews Europe, IREX Europe (NGOs who defend freedom of the press and assist projects by the media, civil society, etc.) and a few other operators.
CFI also works with a number of partners in the South who, because of their location and their proximity to local situations, help to construct projects for development of the media in their surroundings. The Samir Kassir Foundation, Code for Africa, the Anna Lindh Foundation and several others including a number of journalists' and media organisations who are working for development, help structure the market and identify beneficiaries who are not always known to expert agencies.
This approach to consultation and coordination of multilateral donors around projects is widely supported by the main agencies, NGOs and other organisations working to provide media expertise who are members of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD). This international forum has 175 members and lobbies as a group to place the development of the media on development agendas.
CFI is member of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD), a non-profit organisation supporting democracy worldwide. It comprises fourteen European civil and political society organisations from eleven EU Member States present in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. EPD facilitates the exchange of knowledge and good practices around the world while advocating for a stronger presence of democracy support on the European Union's agenda.
The beneficiary media are private or public companies, community groups or organisations of more or less formal structure depending on their circumstances. In some cases, CFI supports fledgling individual initiatives, particularly in the area of community and online media.
Main categories of beneficiary media:
> Public media, television, radio, press agencies and even the print press, which are typically State media, and sometimes even government departments, regarding which the challenge is to turn them into public service companies to ensure their survival in an increasingly open media landscape.
> Private media, television, radio or print press, which have been companies from the start but which need to modernise, improve their management, increase revenues, cope with competition and grow.
> 'New' media born of individual and collective citizen initiatives, with their roots in civil society, community radio or online media, for whom the challenge is to go from activism to the construction of a self-sufficient, sustainable business model, without sacrificing their independence and enthusiasm, which constitute their strength.
The implementation of each project thus concerns a population of beneficiaries who work with the experts to achieve goals that they understand and in which they believe.
CFI draws on the best the French media have to offer, with a constantly renewed pool of some 800 working professionals.
Whether they play the role of consultant expert throughout the duration of a project lasting 2 or 3 years, or are involved more occasionally, sharing a skill or specific know-how, all agree to put their experience at the service of their media counterparts in the South. They share their expertise and methods, endeavouring to adapt them to the constraints of beneficiaries who are operating in a technical and economic environment that is generally very different.
CFI prioritises the use of working professionals to ensure Southern media benefit from actual experience currently practiced in Northern media. Training and guidance are primarily based on this confluence between professionals from different backgrounds but driven by the same values and ambitions.
The CFI experts are men and women (around 30%) recruited for missions (usually overseas) with a duration ranging from a few days to several months, usually one to two weeks. The contracts take the form of fixed-term employment contracts or service contracts, depending on the case, negotiated and drawn up on the basis of the objectives and expectations for each project. In addition to proven professional ability, these experts must be willing to share their best practices with their counterparts in the South, in professional situations that are often very different to what they experience every day at work. The ability to work in English or Arabic is a valued asset.
For some projects, CFI signs partnership agreements with French media who agree to contribute to the deployment of specific expertise. Depending on the type of project and the ability of companies to make their employees available, CFI works regularly with France Télévisions, AFP, Mediapart, La Netscouade, i-Télé, RFI, Rue89, BFM, Canal +, Lagardère Active and Bondy Blog, to offer beneficiaries expertise tailored to their specific needs.
The training of trainers is a regular component of CFI initiatives, the aim being to ensure the benefits may be shared more broadly with other professionals in the same media or media evolving in a similar context. While careful not to affect the working media by 'borrowing' their best workers too often, CFI provides the trained professionals with summary sheets to enable them to pass on what they have learned. These supports are gathered into a collection of 100 files that may be freely accessed in 7 languages