Henry Haukeya – Malawi

Henry Haukeya – Malawi

Date: June 16, 2015
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Joy Radio is one of the 11 media Centres of Excellence (COEs) for gender in the media. Haukeya first met Gender Links (GL) back in 2003 whilst working for Capital Radio. At that time Capital had been heavily criticised for the low proportions of women sources in news. This was just after the Gender and Media Baseline Study (GMBS). The manager took all newsroom staff to task, demanding that he wanted to see a change in news content. That got to Haukeya and kindled in him a desire to change gender relations in and through the media. Haukeya sees the GMBS as a life-changing encounter as he started seeing gender differently. Since then, Haukeya has attended numerous GL training workshops which have further contributed to the gender aware man he is today.

Haukeya joined Joy Radio when it opened in 2004. He has risen through the ranks to his current position as Head of News. He gives direction to reporters as well as plans for stories and other editorial tasks. Joy Radio newsroom has seven staff members. But what drew Haukeya to the media? He says his love for writing started during his school days, where he was passionate about both reading and writing. Whilst studying at Henry Henryson Institute (HHI), Haukeya joined the ‘Writers club’. Haukeya benefited from the then Presidential Initiative Scheme, which gave secondary school students an opportunity to go to the Malawi News Agency, (MANA) and see how news is produced. This further strengthened his desire to work in the media. Haukeya later joined Pen Point School of Journalism where he graduated in 1999. After that he worked for Weekly News, then United Democratic Front (UDF) News and Michuri Suns before joining Capital Radio as a reporter in 2002. He started out as an intern because back then jobs were hard to come by. Capital saw his potential and gave him a full time job. He rose to the position of Sub Editor, then Current Affairs Producer. He pioneered a radio show Day Break Malawi.

Haukeya says growing up in Blantyre has exposed him to different societal issues and challenges such as the realities of gender-based violence. He says he also spent some time trying to break into the media field. He says at some point in his life he studied Purchasing and Supply as he tried to figure out what to do. He says Blantyre gave him the opportunity to do this. It also taught him the value of discipline and hard work.

Having joined Joy Radio at its inception, Haukeya says he is one of the pioneers, having produced the first news bulletin at the station. He worked alone in the newsroom for one month before Joy brought in additional staff. This meant that he had to produce and read the news himself. He was able to do this because of the culture of hard work at Capital Radio under Al Osman, whom he cites as one of his greatest mentors.

‘Heading one of the most important departments at Joy Radio presents me with opportunities to make a difference,’ says Haukeya. He says the newsroom is his ground where he has the flexibility and authority to direct content. There are many young journalists at Joy and Haukeya has made it his personal mission to ensure that they grow and excel on the job. Haukeya says this is because he has come to understand the principle of equal opportunities for women and men. He says his aspirations are in line with GL’s visions and other regional and international commitments to gender equality. For example, he sees his role as a potential contributor to the way Joy radio accesses women’s voices and ultimately he is responsible for news content. He says, because of his clearly articulated vision, journalists are now deliberately putting gender on the agenda and accessing women’s voices. He says this happens even in his absence.

There have been instances however, where many a young reporter has struggled to balance news sources. In such instances, Haukeya has sat with reporters and discussed these challenges. Even in his choice of programmes, Haukeya consults widely with other people at Joy Radio. He says it’s important that everyone be involved in the production of healthy programmes. His co-producers have often come up with ideas on the possible female voices to include in current affairs programmes, for example. He also links this to his experiences at Capital where Osman frequently questioned editorial and institutional practices that did not advance the gender cause.

Haukeya finds it easy to include women’s voices because of his interaction with GL. He has learnt that every topic has a gender angle contrary to popular belief that gender means writing stories about women. He says when it comes to education in Malawi, he feels that young girls who fall pregnant whilst still at school deserve a chance to further their education just as boys do. In his work, Haukeya views women as people who have a lot to contribute to dialogue on different issues, even in the newsroom.

The news and other programmes show that indeed Haukeya is helping Joy Radio walk the talk to make their Gender Policy a living document. He cites ‘Ulimi ndikama’ (Farming is profitable) as one such programme that looks at women’s contribution to the economy as well as challenges they face. He says women make up the bulk of farmers in Malawi yet their voices are barely heard when it comes to this subject. This programme therefore seeks to address this gap. There is another programme ‘Liu la amai (voice of the mother) which also discusses gender issues such as gender based violence.

Haukeya his desire is to see Gender Links conducting more in-house training workshops at Joy to ensure that other departments such as Marketing and Advertising can benefit too. He says editorial has more opportunities for learning than other departments. In-house workshops also help ensuring that all key personnel are kept in the loop. At national level Haukeya calls for a drive to sensitise women to know that their voices count. He says the government should extend this to those who cannot read or write.





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