Grounding Innovation in Pacific Media and Communication for Development Projects

Jessica Noske-Turner, Jo Tacchi


The Pacific Islands are home to diverse and fast-changing media and communication infrastructures and practices. In this article we examine the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) Innovation Fund, which has opened up the media and communication for development field to new players by funding many small-scale, low-cost initiatives. As elsewhere, the funding environment has exerted a major influence over the kinds of projects that are implemented, both in terms of the focus and goals as well as the actors who are able to participate. This article explores some of the ways in which this Innovation Fund, which has funded highly localized, small-scale initiatives, has encouraged experimentation and how these initiatives respond to locally determined needs. Central to this article is the question of what happens when donors have less control over the focus of funded projects. Through an analysis of some projects undertaken as part of the PACMAS Innovation Fund, we investigate what innovation means in this context, paying particular attention to how the spread of digital technologies is integrated into media and communication for development practices.

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