Bestina Mogutu – Tanzania

Bestina Mogutu – Tanzania

Date: June 6, 2012
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I was very happy when my commentary piece on the adverse impact of domestic work on girl child education in Tanzania was published in a special supplement on opinion and commentaries produced by Tanzanian journalists. This was after I had attended a Business Unusual training workshop organized by Gender Links in 2008. The special supplement was part of the practical training in identifying, developing and producing opinion and commentaries on gender issues in Tanzania.

The Business Unusual training was the first real practical training on doing opinion and commentaries I had taken part in, aside from the rhetorical training from the school of journalism. I learned many good things from the training. Among those was the significance of using credible and multiple sources to make your commentary or opinion stronger. In fact, Colleen asked some of participants to go back to the field to ensure that their commentaries or opinion pieces had credible and multiple sources.

Eventually, Gender Links rewarded our efforts, as it got our stories published in a special pull-out in the daily newspaper. That was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life. I realised that even though I was a broadcast journalist at the time for Radio Tanzania (which is part of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation TBC), I was able to do commentaries for print media. In other words, the training helped to boost my personal confidence as well as my professional capacity.

It was a beautiful dream that came into reality. I could not believe that I was among the journalists honoured with a Gender Links award in 2008 during the Gender and Media Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. My commentary was called “Proactive initiatives increased girls university enrollment.” In Tanzania, this emerged as a winning piece in the opinion and commentary print category. Among other things, the award gave me an opportunity to make my first visit to South Africa, as well as to meet and establish networks with few journalists from SADC region. Back at home, my TV station TBC recognized my achievement by developing and airing a news story about my award. Some colleagues were curious and started asking how I had participated; they even wanted to learn how they can do their own commentaries.

Probably the most important thing that I gained from the award was the boost to my confidence. In a way, it made me realise my potential in doing opinion and commentaries. Definitely, the five day training (Business unusual) by Gender Links in 2008 enhanced my journalistic skills, especially in the area of opinion and commentary, and also boosted my career and self-esteem.


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