Rwanda media organisations commit to promoting gender through action

Women In News’ advocacy efforts in promoting gender equality in and through the media have seen the programme adopting various approaches in its engagement with media organisations.  Stemming from this, two media organisations in Rwanda received training on how to formulate gender policies from the Women In News team on 24 and 25 October 2017.  The New Times and PAX Press are now able to draw on the guidelines provided to ensure that gender equality is built into all aspects of their work, from the news and programmes they deliver, to overall organisational policies and procedures.  Despite having different backgrounds and focus, the New Times and PAX Press leadership expressed their interest in prioritising gender equality in their work.  The training involved making a case for diversity, the gender policy formulation process and steps to creating an action plan for the formulation of a policy.  Both organisations now understand that it is important that gender is considered in the content and delivery of their work as it creates a more inclusive, effective learning and working environment. Furthermore, encouraging greater representation and participation is key in levelling the workplace for men and women.  Board Chairperson and Legal Representative for PAX Press Janvier Murenzi stated that the gender policy is a document that the organisation had been talking about adopting for a long time.  Given PAX Press’ various programming, which spans from capacity building, coaching and management of journalists, holding community debates and advocacy, the training could not have come at a better time as the organisation continues to seek ways in which it can improve in addressing the needs of men, women, boys and girls in its programmes. Murenzi encouraged his team to place the gender policy formulation process among the top priorities for the organisation and stated that a draft should be in place by end of January 2018.  National Coordinator for PAX Press Albert Baudoiun Twizeyimana stated, “The workshop was relevant and has been fruitful. We now have a plan for drafting a gender policy, which was among our priorities”.  New Times CEO, Collin Haba, expressed the same sentiment. “We needed this policy yesterday”; he said when he and his team were drafting the action plan for their formulation process.  Various studies have pointed to the need for media to embrace gender diversity. WIN acknowledges that media organisations need to go a step further in ensuring that gender diversity is promoted more so given the gaps that currently exist in coverage of women in the media as well as their representation in media management.  The WIN programme works toward tackling the existing inequality in the media industry by working with leaders within the industry to address these gaps. WIN recognises that leaders who are willing to embrace equality are the key in ensuring the success of diversity within their organisations.

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Women In News Africa back in action!

The new intake of the Women in News (WIN) programme started in earnest in Botswana and Zambia from mid October and is now happening in Zimbabwe before going to Tanzania and Malawi and excitement is in the air for the new recruits who are ready to grab this rare opportunity with both hands. “I am so happy to hear that I have been accepted into the WIN programme. It is an opportunity I greatly value and plan to make full use of it.  Thank you so much,” says Chipo Masara of Zimbabwe. “I am delighted to be selected into this prestigious programme, as such I am looking forward to this rare opportunity,” says Sheila Chimphamba of Malawi. “What a wonderful news to hear I have been selected for the WIN programme amidst all the uncertainties here in Kenya! Thank you very much and looking forward to such a great engagement,” says Jael Lieta of Kenya. Happy Chabuka of Malawi could not contain her excitement: “Oh my God! I am so humbled and thankful for the selection! Thank you so much for the opportunity, oh my God am so happy!” One may be tempted to ask, why is everyone waxing lyrical about the WIN programme? Africa Director for WIN, Tikhala Chibwana thinks he knows the answer “You see, the WIN programme is a transformative programme. Our biggest advertisements are lives the programme has transformed. We have had employers come back us to say they have noticed a remarkable change in their employees since joining the programme. They mention things like confidence, attitude, performance and willingness to go the extra mile. These changes are also being noticed by colleagues and they want a piece of the action,” he concludes. As if to support the assertion by the Africa Director, Joyce Shebe of Tanzania says: “I am honored to be one of the participants of the WIN Programme. For me this is a golden opportunity and I really value the programme from witnessing the changes it has brought about in my colleagues who have already attended this programme”. It is amid this excitement that the first National Gathering meetings which kick off the programme in each country are taking place. The National Gathering for Tanzania has been scheduled for 8 November, Malawi for 10 November, Rwanda for 21 November and Kenya for 24 November. Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe have already had their gatherings which kick starts the programme in each country. The WIN programme is aimed at empowering female journalists with skill sets that would enable them make a high contribution in their media houses, thereby positioning themselves for increasingly higher responsibilities. The programme is support by SIDA in Rwanda, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe while the programme in Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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