More than 120 participants including 92 new cohort members from eight African countries joined the virtual launch of the 2021 Leadership Accelerator last week, which featured Her Excellence Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Asa Perhson, and five WIN Leadership Award Laureates.
Ambassador Perhson spoke of Sweden’s support for projects like WIN, which supported the strengthening of free and independent media and democratic voices.
“All of us have a responsibility to stand up for gender equality and democratic values in order to counter shrinking democratic spaces and authoritarian tendencies across the globe. I believe that our cooperation and the Women in News programme is a great example of how we can do that together”, said Ambassador Asa.
WIN executive Director Melanie Walker said when they created Women in News a decade ago it was with understanding that in order to fundamentally change the composition of the media industry to better reflect the societies the media serve, they needed to first equip women media professionals with the skills, strategies and support networks resources to succeed.
“While Women in News has evolved and grown exponentially since then, this has remained at the heart of the work we do. We know it takes a village to bring about change at a structural level, but each of you can be the drivers of change within this movement. We hope that in the process and through the leadership Accelerator we help you to unlock your own potential to drive this change, and flourish in your own careers”, noted Melanie Walker.
A panel comprising five WIN Editorial Leadership Award Laureates, Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye (2016), Pamella Sittoni (2017), Barbara Kaija (2018), Anna Nimiriano (2019) and Mary Mbewe (2020), shared highlights of their career journey, from climbing the ladder in the media, to work life balance, challenges and opportunities in newsrooms.
Mary Mbewe mentioned how lucky new members are, for having WIN to groom them earlier in their career, unlike what she went through when appointed as a leader. “If I had WIN at the beginning of my career, life could be a little bit easier. For instance, I had limited knowledge on things like finance and it was difficult”, she said.
According to WIN Africa Director Jane Godia, the Accelerator covers amongst other, topics like management skills, finance for non-finance, how to deal with difficult bosses and colleagues, branding and sexual harassment.
More than 500 applications were received during the call to enroll in this programme from which 92 new cohort members from eight countries have been selected and will be trained, mentored and coached over nine months. There are 10 participants each from Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Botswana, 12 from Tanzania and 20 from Kenya.