By Leah Mushi
COVID-19 has forced many, including Women in News, to engage in new ways. In-country WINers training, where cohort members previously met at a single venue, for a day’s training and networking, has been successfully replaced with virtual gatherings.
With almost all African countries on lockdown, three gatherings, featuring WINners from two countries at a time, met on zoom in May for training and discussion. There were 18 WINners from Rwanda and Zambia, 18 WINners from Tanzania and Malawi, and 22 WINners from Uganda.
The two-day National Gathering (NG) was packed with various topics including Finance for Non-Financial Managers; Gender Balance in Content, Life and Career Planning; How to Deal with Difficult Bosses and Colleagues; Emotional Intelligence in Leadership; and Dealing with Stress, Anxiety and Depression.
WIN Africa Director Dr. Tikhala Chibwana said “moving the NGs online has been a learning experience for the entire team. For many of our WINners this was the first time they use Zoom and they were introduced to the whole Zoom etiquette.”
“One exciting thing has been the excitement and commitment from WINners, as most are working from home. We took advantage of the technology to bring onboard resource trainers from Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Uganda for each NG, a situation that is not possible during normal NGs,” he said.
Despite this positive impact of COVID-19, the pandemic has brought pain to many, including job losses and salary reductions. “For the first time, we brought in certified counsellors to talk about how to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression in response to the effects of COVID-19. We also arranged virtual counseling clinic sessions for those who needed them.” said Dr. Chibwana.