Director, Media Development, WAN-IFRA
Programme Lead, Women in News
Melanie is a gender and media development expert with more than 10 years’ experience leading capacity building and advocacy initiatives which place gender equality at their core.
As director of Media Development for WAN-IFRA, Melanie oversees the organisation’s media development portfolio, which includes management of a multi-million euro budget to support media in 25 countries around the globe. Melanie is a creator of WAN-IFRA’s sector-leading Women in News programme and the architect of WAN-IFRA’s Gender and Media Freedom Strategy, an ambitious multi-year initiative to promote women’s leadership and voices in the news with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She manages WAN-IFRA’s Media Freedom Board, as well as the Media Freedom Brain Trust, which contributes to WAN-IFRA’s media freedom programmes as trainers, mentors and advisors.
Melanie has previously held various leadership, programme development and social investment strategy positions in North America and Europe, including four years with the Toronto-based Women’s Executive Network, where as Vice President International, she led the company’s expansion to its first international market with the launch of WXN Ireland.
Melanie has a BA (Hons) from Kings College, Dalhousie University, and holds an Msc from the London School of Economics, University of London.
Alison Meston Bunting, Director, Capacity Building, Women in News
Alison has twenty years’ experience in international development, capacity building and advocacy roles in Australia, the UK and France within human rights organisations, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the international labour movement. Her roles have been varied and always flamboyant! She has been grass roots organiser in the aviation, health, food and education sectors – ensuring low-paid workers have fair pay. Alison has experience as WAN-IFRA’s Director of Press Freedom and has had The Declaration of Table Mountain (which seeks to repeal criminal defamation in Africa) endorsed by the Reverend Desmond Tutu. Alison is passionate about journalism and its role in ensuring strong democracies. Alison was the recipient of the 2005 Western Australian Journalism Prize for best academic performance in the Graduate Diploma of Journalism Programme at her university.
Farah Wael, Digital Content Manager, Women in News
Farah Wael is one of the core members of Egyptian start-up Medina Media’s founding team. She has been working on developing a digital strategy for Medina, as well as creating partnerships with other media organisations in the region and beyond. She has experience working on diverse issues as part of WAN-IFRA’s press freedom and media development teams for the past five years. She has a BA in Language, Literature and Civilisation from Université Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle, and will be pursuing a Masters degree in convergent journalism at HMKW Berlin this upcoming fall.
Molly Tsitsi Chimhanda, Project Manager, Women in News Africa
Molly has worked in Zimbabwe’s media development sector for 7 years as a researcher, head of advocacy and programmes for Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe. She has experience in human rights, governance, political and social movements work. Her experience has seen her become an activist for freedom of expression and access to information issues where most of her career has been spent in promoting public information rights for citizens in the country. She is an avid writer and has been published by the Africa in Union – the African Union’s flagship magazine. Molly has also conducted various researches on gender and media issues in Zimbabwe and co-authored research such as Gender responsiveness of Policies and News Sourcing Trends in Zimbabwe’s media houses: A situational assessment of gender policy availability and gender sensitivity in the media’s selection of news stories. She has in-depth knowledge of Monitoring and Evaluation, facilitated workshops and conferences and has made presentations at high profile meetings such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. Molly holds an MA in International Affairs, a BSc Honors in Media and Society Studies [both obtained from the Midlands State University] and a diploma in Project Management, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Myra Abdallah, Project Manager, Women in News MENA
Myra Abdallah is Lebanese journalist and social activist. Having a legal and political science background, she writes about social issues, local and regional politics, armed groups, rise of radicalism and human right violations in the Middle-East. For over 10 years, she worked on social issues advocating for social justice, tolerance, women and sexual rights. She worked for NOW news, a Lebanese news website published in English. Having an in-depth experience in media, communications and projects that aim at reducing gender bias in the Arab society, she assists human rights organizations as a gender and media consultant implementing internal projects and launching influential social campaigns. She is particularly interested in women rights in Arab countries, mainly in women’s participation in politics and media. She is a board member of several local non-governmental organizations in Lebanon.
Dr Tikhala Chibwana, Head of Advocacy, Women in News Africa
Tikhala Chibwana is a well-experienced media, projects and training and development manager. For the past seven years, he was general manager for the Times Media Group in Malawi. The Times Group has interests in newspapers, television, radio, logistics and publishing. Tikhala has worked in the newsroom before as features editor and assistant editor. Besides his work in the media, he has worked in project management, population and development, labour relations, environmental management and climate change. He is a trained marketer and business development manager.
Fatemah Farag, Head of Advocacy, Women in News MENA
Fatemah Farag is the Founder and Director of Welad Elbalad Media Services LTD, a company dedicated to community media development and media excellence in Egypt. Before establishing Welad Elbalad Media Services, Ms. Farag was the founding chief editor of the English Edition of Al Masry Al Youm. Before 2009, she divided her professional time between the newsroom and journalism training and education. She was Assistant Chief Editor, responsible for the features and life-style sections and senior staff reporter at Al-Ahram Weekly, the English language newspaper issued by Al-Ahram, before which she worked for the Regional Bureau of the Washington Post, was a full time staff reporter for the Middle East Times – Egypt, and has freelanced for a host of local and international news organizations. As an educator she has held the position of Training Consultant for the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism and has also consulted and trained for various organizations including the European Union, the British Council, Free Voice and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. She also taught journalism at the American University in Cairo (AUC) for two years and continues to dedicate time to journalism training. Ms Farag began her career specializing in development issues with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and as a reporter and newspaper editor she has dedicated much of her work to the coverage of social issues. She is a graduate of the American University in Cairo, from which she also received a Masters degree in political science.
Susan Makore, Coach – Zimbabwe
Susan is currently the Group Chief Executive Officer of AB Communications, owners of ZiFM Stereo, Zimbabwe’s first(and currently) the only private commercial radio station and Mighty Movies Private Limited, arguably the largest Independent media production house in Southern Africa outside of South Africa. Susan worked for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation(ZBC), becoming the first female Chief Executive officer of Zimbabwe Television. She is a published writer, trainer and lecturer. Susan has vast experience in the media industry, spanning over 15 years. She has a Master of Arts degree in Media and Cultural Studies from the University of Natal, Durban and a Bachelor’s degree in English, History and Economic History from the University of Zimbabwe, and a post graduate diploma in Media and Communication Studies from the same university.
Tamala Chirwa, Coach-Malawi
Tamala Chirwa is an International Coach Federation Accredited Coach (Associate Certified Coach – ACC) with specialized certifications in Group and Team Coaching; Leadership, Talent Management Coaching, Career Coaching. She holds an MBA Degree from Management College of Southern Africa (MANCOSA), ACCA Diploma in Financial Management from Malawi College of Accountancy and Post-Graduate Management Certification from Graduate School of Business – University of Cape Town amongst other credentials. She is also a Coach-Trainer, Speaker, Vital Voices Leadership Fellow, member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network and Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Mentor. In 2014, she founded Women’s Leadership Footprint, a coaching practice that supports professional women to enhance their leadership capabilities so as to become more effective and impactful in their roles. During her corporate career in the non-profit, banking, mining, manufacturing, international development, professional training and consulting sectors in Malawi, South Africa and Kenya, she excelled at delivering high-value solutions in coaching, mentoring, financial management, human resources and administration functions. As a practicing Leader, Coach, Mentor and Trainer, Tamala leverages her international exposure to consistently apply high world-class standards in the programs she delivers and executes. She has carried out coaching assignments/projects with various organisations, supporting leaders to implement coaching interventions for high performance and to bolster organisations’ human capital. Tamala remains steadfast in making a meaningful and significant contribution to push forward the coaching and mentoring philosophy and agenda in Malawi and Africa. She is persuaded that besides efforts to have more women into leadership positions, more concerted efforts should go towards galvanizing women in leadership’s capacity to succeed in their roles. Her driving force is that women’s career aspirations should be nurtured and that they should be supported in creating powerful leadership legacies.
Christine Nguku, Coach - Somali WIN
Christine Nguku is a seasoned Kenyan journalist, communication professional and media executive. She has skills and experience in broadcast journalism, communication and media training. She has more than 20 years in media management, corporate communication strategy and management, and advocacy planning, public & media relations, communication research and project management. She is a lecturer at Kenya Methodist university’s department of Communication and Journalism, teaching specialization courses in media management, gender and the media, development communication and broadcasting. She is a member of the Association of Media Women in Kenya and the Kenya Editors Guild.
Dr. Joyce Bazira, Coach – Tanzania
Dr. Joyce Bazira holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Mass Communication (Media, Conflict and Peace Studies) from St. Augustine University of Tanzania and a Masters degree in the same area from the same University. She did undergraduate journalism studies at Tanzania School of Journalism, (now elevated to the Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication of the University of Dar es Salaam). Currently, Dr. Bazira is a Lecturer at St. Augustine University of Tanzania. Since 2010, Bazira has lectured at University of Dar es Salaam, Institute of Journalism and Mass Communication and Tumaini University, Dar es Salaam Campus. Her areas of teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels include; Conflict Communication, Strategic Corporate Communication, Media Ethics and Writing for Communication, News Writing and Newspaper Layout, Editing and Design.
Sandra Agyemang, Coach – Zambia
Currently works as Head of Investment and Asset Management at ZSIC Holdings Ltd (Zambia State Insurance Corporation) Zambia’s largest Insurance Company, and has to her credit over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to ZSIC, Sandra Worked for Pangaea Securities Ltd, as Senior Trader Debt Securities. Sandra is a certified investment advisor who holds a BA (Hons.) in Business Studies from University of Greenwich, a Post graduate Diploma and an MBA from Edinburgh Business School. Sandra is also Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (UK) and is a member of Economics Association of Zambia.
Solange Ayanone, Coach – Rwanda
Solange Ayanone is a journalist with 24 years spent in the industry. Her career has seen her working in radio, community development and capacity building for media personnel at different levels. She started her career in1992at“RADIO RWANDA “, a national radio station. In 1994 she was assigned to represent Radio Rwanda in the Northern province of Rwanda as a Head of Department. She successfully directed the regional office of the station until 1995.In1996 Solange was tasked to lead the sub-department of production of the same station, and she was in charge of a team of around 20producers.In 2002 she was recruited by International Rescue Committee as Technical Advisor in charge of monitoring of community projects. In2005 she became the Program Director of Radio Izuba, a community radio station based inRwanda’s Eastern province. In2007 she worked for Partners inHealth, as an education and information coordinator. In2010 she started to work with a French agency called “Syfia International “as a correspondent for the agency in Rwanda and moved onto become a trainer for the same organisation in2012. Solange has also worked with DW as reporter in its French department for both radio and the DW website /French version. Currently she works withPAX PRESS, a network of journalists based in Rwanda as editor and project coordinator. Now she is involved in coaching and training of journalist partners of PAX PRESS. She has published various articles and radio reports for both national and international media houses. Solange studied development studies at the PanAfricanInstitute for Development(PAID/CA) based in Douala. Currently she is in the completion year of a Masters in Project Management with the University of Kigali.
Batsho Dambe-Groth, Coach – Botswana
Batsho is the Principal Consultant of Resource Logic, a human resources and business management firm she started in 2003. She has a BSc degree in Applied Psychology specialising in Occupational Psychology from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology and has been working in the field of human resources for over 25 years in mining, parastatals, insurance, financial services sector and consulting for many companies. She has gained extensive skills in corporate culture building, personnel management, organisational development, performance based remuneration and compensation, executive and strategic management, and industrial relations. She is also a certified Global Remuneration Professional from the professional remuneration institute, World at Work. Batsho has in depth understanding of local Botswana business and a strong appreciation of international best practice principles. She is the recipient of the prestigious US Department of State Humphrey Fellowship under the Fulbright Programme, where she spent a sabbatical in the human resources industry in the United States in 2010/2011. Batsho has been the Chairperson of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited since 2010 which has the subsidiary companies of Botswana Life Insurance Holdings – the largest life insurance company in Botswana, Bifm – the largest asset manager in Botswana and Legal Guard- the pioneering legal insurance in Botswana. BIHL is one of the largest and most successful companies listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange. In 2015 Batsho was appointed as an independent director for Botswana Oil Limited which is mandated to ensure the security of petroleum products in Botswana.
Jane Godia, Coach - Kenya
With over 20 year as an editor and trainer, Jane Godia is currently working at the African Woman and Child Features (AWC) as Managing Editor/Editorial Manager. She holds a BA from University of Nairobi and she is pursuing an MA in Gender and development at the same university. She holds a Diploma in Journalism and a Diploma in Gender and Development among other credentials. Previously, Godia worked at The Standard Group where she rose through the ranks from position of sub-editor to position of Deputy Managing Editor. During the period she served at the Standard, Godia emerged as a mentor to most of her colleagues not only within the Standard Group but also within the media fraternity with many female journalists looking up to her and on many occasions finding her as the most easy person to go to for consultation. This continues to this day. Godia has been a coach and mentor with Plan International USA for African women leaders building their capacity on management as well as media and communication skills. She has also been a coach and mentor for Coady Institute of the St Francis Xavier University Canada also building the capacity of women leaders in mentoring for Global Change Leaders. Godia has also engaged with Political Leadership and Governance Programme 2016 of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) as coach/trainer for young leaders. Godia sits at the Gender Technical Working Group coordinated by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning; Chairperson Board of Directors at the Indigenous Information Network; Editorial Board Member Media Council of Kenya; Steering Committee member Kenya Media Programme and member Ethics, Scientific and Research Committee at the Africa Medical Research Institute –AMREF (now AMREF Health Africa in Kenya) and Member of the National Women Steering Committee.
Fatma Kheir, Coach – Egypt
Fatma is the founder of Women For Media Network (WMN), an educational and guiding network targeting women in media from all ages. She was the first woman to assume the post of Editor-in-Chief of a news website in Egypt when she established and headed the website Dream News, as well as the first online news radio in Egypt: Youm7 radio. She assumed the position of editorial development and quality manager at Youm7 newspapers and website – one of the largest news websites in the Middle East, as well as being one of its founders. Furthermore, she established and headed the Video 7 website, and has been a weekly columnist in its printed newspaper. She then moved to work at Dream channels, as she established and headed the Dream news website and Dream TV Online. She also headed the news station. She is one of the few professional trainers on the online press in Egypt and the Arab region. She has published two books, and is preparing to publish a third by the end of this year, on post-revolution women’s issues. Fatma writes a weekly article for the Dot Misr website and has previously participated in many events related to women and development. She works now as the chief editor of “3asal Abiad”, a program on Ten TV.
Lamia Radi, Coach – Egypt
Lamia Radi, Head of the Arabic Language Service at Associated Press since March 2014. Previous posts include 3 years as the Special Online Reporter of Sky News Arabia and 16 years as Senior Correspondent with Agence France Presse (AFP). War correspondent with more than 25 years experience in covering conflict zones, mainly in the Horn of Africa, Sudan and the Middle-East. Assignments special emphasized on covering topics about women in Africa, specially refugees and the social, economic and cultural challenges facing them in distress areas as well as in daily normal life and their success stories to overcome it.
Joumana Haddad, Coach – Lebanon
Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese poet, translator, journalist and women’s rights activist.She is head of the cultural page for the prestigious “An Nahar” newspaper, where she’s been working since 1998, as well as an instructor of creative writing, journalism and modern Arabic poetry at the Lebanese American university in Beirut. She has been selected as one of the world’s 100 most powerful Arab women for the 3 past consecutive years by Arabian Business magazine (position 36th in 2016), for her cultural and social activism. Haddad has published several books, in poetry and prose. Her works have been translated to many languages. Her most recent publications are the trilogy essays DzI killed Scheherazadedz, DzSuperman is an Arabdzand DzThe Third Sexdz. She has received numerous international prizes for her literary career as well as her human rights activism. Speaking seven languages, Haddad is a polyglot and has written books in different languages, and has also published several works of translation, including an anthology of 150 poets who committed suicide in the 20th century. She is also the founder of Jasad, a controversial Arabic-language magazine specialized in arts and literature of the body, which ran for two years (2010 and 2011), before being discontinued for financial reasons.
Paula Fray, Lead Trainer
Paula is managing director of FrayIntermedia, a South African training institute founded in March 2005 to meet a need for an integrated approach to service provision in the media training sector. Paula has worked in media for over 25 years. An award-winning journalist who rose to become the first female editor of the Saturday Star newspaper in South Africa, Paula was also executive news editor of The Star newspaper in Johannesburg. She has wide-ranging consultancy and project management experience and has served as a mentor for organisations such as e- Health and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). She is a recipient of the prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard.