Pushpa Jamieson – Malawi

Pushpa Jamieson – Malawi

Date: June 16, 2015
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I wonder how many facilitators have had the joy of holding a workshop in the open, under the trees in the sweltering heat? Well! We had a fantastic workshop in Monkey Bay when the accommodation that Dzimwe Community Radio Station has in the offices of the National Parks and Wild Life did not have enough space to sit all the staff and the board. We just moved the whole workshop outside and enjoyed the open air while we did the work. I had a personal lesson in innovation!

Policies in media houses is a new concept and it has been a learning curve for both the media houses and me as a facilitator. Reporting about other professions and their commitment to challenge the effects of HIV has been the media’s job in the past years. Developing a policy for their own media house means the media house has had to accept that they are not spared the effects of HIV and that there is still much need to continue to highlight the issues of the pandemic.

My journey with policy work in media houses has been both challenging and exciting. The media is a profession that is full of deadlines and breaking news that have to be reported on. This meant that on many occasions, meetings with members of media houses had to be cancelled at the last minute. Often, meetings were cancelled when I arrived at the media house after I had traveled over 400 KM to Blantyre.

Promises from the task teams were usually not met; that resulted in delays in completing of the policies. In an effort to overcome the challenges, telephone calls to confirm the meeting were made several times before the day. Days spent in Blantyre were often extended in order to accommodate the possibility of the meetings being held the following day. The important thing was to be flexible in all arrangements in order to accommodate the media house.

I was most concerned about approaching one of the religious media houses that has particular belief about the role of women in society. The challenges I expected to encounter at Radio Islam seemed almost impossible to overcome. I was elated when I was given an audience with their board that consisted of religious sheiks and senior members of the Islamic community. A real highlight was the completion and launch of the Radio Islam policy.

The official launch of the policies is a true highlight and the acknowledgement by organisations like the National AIDS Commission, John Hopkins University and government of a job well done has made all the effort and work involved in facilitating the development of the policies well worth it. The experience of training media houses to develop their policies has helped me to become more confident in dealing with people. My training skills have improved significantly since I started engaging with Gender Links in 2006.

Pushpa Jamieson, Gender Policy Country Facilitator Malawi

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