Nengida Jones – Tanzania

Nengida Jones – Tanzania

Date: June 30, 2015
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“Being a managing editor in a news media as a professional woman and a mother is not an easy feat. You have to work extra hard to juggle responsibilities while at the same time ensuring that your work does not suffer. It is something few male managing editors have to confront on a daily basis.” This was the opening statement when I started the interview with Nengida Johanes, the Managing Editor of Upendo FM, a radio station owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Her statement indicated that it has not been a smooth ride since she joined the station in 2004 as a reporter.

Her resilience and hard work saw her promoted to become the editor, then moved to an information officer position in the Church’s communication department, before being promoted to become the Managing Editor, a position she holds to date. For her, it has been, sometimes, like baptism by fire.

Nengida says she had a passion for gender issues since she joined the company, but the strategies of ensuring gender was mainstreamed in the content and structures were made clearer with the development of a Gender Policy that was facilitated by Gender Links. “I think the Gender policy reawakened something in me. I saw that voices that were speaking a lot in our stories were men and a voice told me that I needed to do something,” says Nengida.

She is very keen to know who has been interviewed in each story that is aired, and if there is fair gender representation. This, she says, has made her reporters ensure that their stories seek the views of both men and women. “Whenever reporters come back from the field, I am interested in the sourcing and quality of information. If they bring reports which are gender blind, I advise them what needs to be done to correct the bias,” explains Nengida.

Not only has she been concerned with women voices in the content of her organization’s stories, but also in the structures of the institution. “I felt really uncomfortable to see that majority of the staff were male. I decided to enforce a gender balance rule, and since I have been given powers to employ, I ensure there is gender parity among those employed.”

As a manager, she says she introduced a newspaper and ensures that gender issues are captured and given prominence on the prime pages. In the newspaper, a full page has been set aside in the Sunday edition which focuses on gender issues, particularly promoting women music entrepreneurs.

Her presence on the church’s gender committee has helped to articulate gender issues to the entire church leadership. The only challenge, she says, the committee members are all women, a stereotype that needs to be addressed.

She is currently mentoring female reporters on how to win the respect of male colleagues and become managers. “I also report on politics to send a message to both male and female reporters that this is an area that women too can report on and do so very well.”



One thought on “Nengida Jones – Tanzania”

Hi Nengida…I am proud of you my Sis!!!

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