Voices of women in newsrooms and rural Africa

Voices of women in newsrooms and rural Africa

Date: July 9, 2011
  • SHARE:

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is transforming the reporting of agriculture and rural development by giving voice to rural women farmers. With support from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the IWMF has launched the Reporting on Women and Agriculture: Africa (RWA) programme. RWA aims to help African journalists boost coverage of rural issues and to increase women’s voices – both as journalists and as sources – in stories about agriculture.

RWA has worked with six media organisations across Mali, Uganda and Zambia. The dominant role of women in agriculture had long been overlooked until this program trained reporters to cover this area. Trainees have also begun an informal mentoring system in their newsrooms, and they are viewed by their colleagues as true experts. “My position has changed,” Ellen Hambuba of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) – one of participating media houses explained. “My editors know that because of the training I’ve acquired more skills, and I’m able to share the knowledge with colleagues and advise them. I’ve become an expert.”

IWMF staff members Alana Barton and Nadine Hoffman travelled to Kampala, Uganda in late May 2011 for a final meeting with participants in the RWA program. According to Elisa Munoz, IWMF’s director of programmes who has overseen the project, RWA has changed how reporting on agriculture is conducted and it has transformed the careers of trainees, who now approach the topics they cover in novel ways.

The RWA trainees’ supervisors have reported that this sets a new standard for reporting on issues of agriculture and rural development. Patrick Luganda, IWMF’s trainer in Uganda said that the trainees’ reporting “gives an authoritative voice to women,” Luganda said. “Telling the story of a 34-year-old woman farmer with five children is to me a major milestone, because previously our stories were about the minister of agriculture and what he said.”

Comment on Voices of women in newsrooms and rural Africa

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *