Knowledge, quality and continuity

The work of Free Press Unlimited is becoming increasingly dependent on thorough knowledge and research. How can we best achieve our goals, what can we learn from others and from our own projects? Also: on what topics should our policy influencing work focus? Then our Knowledge & Quality team plays a crucial role in our organisation. Also the management, and where possible the limitation, of risks that we run through our work, is crucial to our future resilience.

Knowledge & Quality

After we had presented the No News Is Bad News Midterm Review internally and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our Knowledge & Quality team energetically got to work with our research agenda. What are the major gaps in our knowledge and what methodologies are best suited to finding answers to our questions? We have now drawn up a research agenda for three themes: gender and media, financial independence and the watchdog role of journalists.

Take the Gender Research Agenda. Our main question for 2019 is: is it true that more gender equality on the work floor leads to higher revenues and a better competitive position of media? In short, we will examine the business case ‘gender equality’. We will also compare the impact of monitoring strategies for gender and media in DR Congo, Mali and Nepal. We are evaluating the GIP quality label (Gender, Independence and Professionalism) of our partner in Mali and the fellowship programmes for female leadership in Nigeria. Together with safety experts, we look at the specific (un)safety of female journalists and we investigate whether, and how, gender sensitive content and the attitude of the public is actually changing. We have drawn up a detailed research plan for each of these six research questions. Our Knowledge & Quality team can’t wait to start carrying out these plans.

Our evidence base was widened considerably in 2018. Since 2017, we have been collecting evidence in this database for our Theory of Change (ToC), like the strategies we thought up to achieve our three intermediate goals. It contains external publications, internal evaluations, case studies, stories from partners and much more. Each document helps us to continuously check: are we on the right track? Also, besides our own ideas, what else is on offer, what can we learn from others, inside and outside our own organisation, in terms of approach, focus or concrete goal, for example? Each document is accompanied by a brief description, keywords, countries and of course what part of the Theory of Change the publication supports, clarifies or slates.

Project management information system

PROMIS, the system we developed ourselves to manage projects, is as good as ready and will be launched in January 2019. This project management system is an example of internal innovation: after thorough, lengthy research into existing systems, we decided to build one ourselves. The result is very user-friendly and fully customised to Free Press Unlimited. Because the basis is our own Wiki, it will take our employees little effort to become familiar with PROMIS. PROMIS is many times cheaper than existing systems and in addition, it will also save a lot of time and irritation.

Quality management

Free Press Unlimited meets several recognised quality standards.

  • A version of ISO 9001 that applies specifically to the development sector. This is also called the Partos standard, after Partos, the Dutch association of development organisations. In April 2018, we were assessed for the new version, ISO 9001:2015, and reaped the benefits of our thorough preparations for this audit. The external audit team concluded that we met all the demands, and we are now in possession of the most recent ISO certificate.
  • Free Press Unlimited is a Recognised Charity. In 2016, this quality label replaced the old CBF quality label and is the initiative of cooperating quality label organisations such as CBF and Charity Netherlands. In 2018, Free Press Unlimited once again met the strict standards of this quality label.
  • Free Press Unlimited reports on the projects in the Strategic Partnership in accordance with the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). However, there is an agreement that we do not publish data that might endanger people and organisations. We have recorded what we do and do not make public in a special Exclusion Policy.
    Free Press Unlimited has drawn up its own code of conduct to which all employees must adhere. Moreover, as a member of Partos and Charity Netherlands we abide by their codes of conduct.