Over the next few months, we will introduce you to members of the WIN community. First up is Margaret Ngonga, who participated in the WIN Future Leaders initiative in 2018.
Motivated by the poor dissemination of health information to the general public, Margaret, a third-year University of Zambia student, helped launch an online health magazine, called ‘Ridgeway Sun’.
She and fellow media and medical students wanted to bridge the gap between information dissemination by health centres and the public. “We also wanted to help dispel some misconceptions about certain illnesses. The coming together of media and medical students to conceptualise and produce the magazine was the best part about it all. We realised that we could use our various skills and training for the betterment of society.”
The initiative took shape after her initial meetings with the Women in News Future Leaders Initiative.
“The program opened my mind up to new possibilities as a young person in the media. I started thinking of media entrepreneurship and how to be relevant in the new digital era. The women from WIN were equally nothing short of inspirational to me and I wanted to use the training as an opportunity to grow. “
The free digital magazine launched in December 2019.
Margaret says the magazine is faring well but there was a steep learning curve about marketing. “Since the launch, there have been different responses from the public: those that read and went through it loved the content, design and quality, while others felt more marketing and awareness was needed.”
The magazine has won the support of the Zambian Ministry of Health.
Through its Facebook page, the team has been sensitizing people to COVID-19, using WHO materials. But they have also been covering different health topics such as non-communicable diseases: hypertension, prevention of certain comorbid conditions such as diabetes.
The biggest challenge ahead is to get funding for new projects. Margaret is hoping that with time, corporate bodies will see the vision of very determined youths, and invest in it.