The number of women journalists applying to join the Women in News – WIN Accelerator flagship leadership development programme in Africa has surged this year as 250 women journalists applied to join the programme.
According to Regional Director of WIN Africa, Dr. Tikhala Chibwana, this is the largest number of applicants since the conception of the programme when only a few journalists were interested to join the programme that aims to empower women journalists in the media and leadership/management aspects.
“The number keeps on increasing, we have been able to see the increase in interest from one year to another,” said Dr. Tikhala.
When asked about the possibility of accepting more journalists in the programme since the interest keeps shooting up, Dr. Thikhala said that the programme unfortunately will not be able to host more people. “Unfortunately, we cannot admit everyone, because we have only 100 spaces in the programme, but I must admit that I like the level of interest, it is very exciting that there are more women who want to join WIN.”
From the pool of applicants, Tanzania topped the list of applicants with 54 entries, Kenya with 44 and Uganda with 41 applicants.
According to Dr. Joyce Bazira who is in charge of WIN Tanzania, when asked what is the secret for having such a large turnout of applications this year, she explained that the visibility of the achievements of past WINners and the increasing awareness about WIN programmes are some factors behind the growing number of applicants from Tanzania this year.
“One important aspect I need to highlight is the hard work that past WINners have put into the process through encouraging and supporting new applicants. From six people in 2015 when the programme commenced, to 54 this year, it is a major achievement to be proud of…”, Bazira said.
According to WIN alumni and Editor at Kenya’s Daily Nation, Faith Oneya: “WIN alumni including myself have turned some of the commitments they made about their careers into action. This has gone a long way in motivating others to join. The WIN network also offers scores of training and leadership opportunities, so it becomes very attractive in this way,”
The WIN Accelerator is an intensive, nine-month long career and leadership programme for journalists and editors. To ensure the women who take part in the programme acquire new skill sets and build their capacity WIN offers four things which are Coaching, Training, Mentoring and Networking.
To qualify for the programme women journalists must have 2-3 years management experience and be working in the media sector ( including print or digital newspapers, radio and, in some cases, broadcast). Applicants also must be working in one of the nine Sub-Saharan African countries where the programme is active: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.