- More than 180 women from 10 African countries join this year’s WIN Leadership Accelerator
- The intensive nine-month programme seeks to equip women journalists and editors with the skills to lead and transform newsrooms
- The programme adopts a training, coaching, mentoring and networking model
February 24, 2022 – More than 180 women today join the Women in News Leadership Accelerator programme. The intensive nine-month programme seeks to equip women journalists and editors with the skills to lead and transform their organisations.
Through a programme focused on leadership and career development, the Accelerator uses training, coaching, mentoring and networking to enable participants to reach their full potential and take on the challenges facing the media industry.
“We have doubled the number of participants in the programme this year after we received a record number of applications. The 2022 cohort will be equipped with the skills, tools and network they need to make an impact in their newsrooms,” said Jane Godia, WIN Africa Director at today’s launch ceremony, which was held virtually.
The WIN Leadership Accelerator in Africa operates in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the 11 years it has been running on the continent, it has recorded tangible success in getting women’s voices amplified in newsroom leadership.
“You get out of this programme what you put into it,” said Melanie Walker, WIN Executive Director.
“And from our cohort last year alone, 36% reported getting a promotion within three to six months of completing the programme. We also recorded 22% receiving a salary raise despite the incredibly difficult times for this industry. Additionally, 27% were given more responsibilities and 40% made a career move of their choosing. This speaks to the potential of the programme to increase women’s impact in this industry, and we’re excited to see what the 2022 cohort will do.”
On average, one in four women who have gone through the Accelerator is promoted within six months of graduation.
The programme’s impact was further highlighted by Edyth Kambalame, the 2021 WIN Editorial Leadership Award Laureate for Africa, who spoke on the power of being a #WINner. This is the tag given to those who have graduated from the Accelerator, and is a testament to the future that awaits them.
In reflecting on her journey with WIN that began in 2014, Kambalame said: “One key element I learned through the WIN programme is that leadership is about making a difference. As you go into this programme, don’t just take the lessons but apply them to make a difference.”
The keynote address, delivered by Hon Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, touched on several pertinent issues affecting the media industry, including gender inequalities in pay and newsroom leadership, sexual harassment and the need for balanced content.
“I have had a look at the curriculum you will be covering over the next nine months and it is gratifying to see these skills will not only empower you as individuals, but also enable you to impact change in your organisations,” said Mutsvangwa.
WIN is working to address many of the challenges that face newsrooms in the countries it operates in across Africa, the Arab region and Southeast Asia. It does this in partnership with more than 80 media organisations.
Joy Kaguri, the Human Resources Manager at Standard Group Plc in Kenya, an advisory partner, acknowledged the value in this form of collaboration, saying: “Through our partnership with WIN, which dates back to about 2016, we formed a first-of-its-kind women’s network in East Africa, taken 365 staff through sexual harassment training, and trained our management on digital transformation and stability.
“We have seen the difference in our newsroom, which in 2018 had 11 female editors – this increased to 24 last year. Our partnership with WIN continues to get stronger, and we look forward to further growth,” said Kaguri.
Getting women into leadership positions in Africa’s newsrooms is especially critical as this tends to boost the sustainability and diversity of views and content. All these add up to the creation of a business that has the edge over its competitors.
Carol Bayanga, the Head of Mentorship, Partnership and Monetisation at Monitor Publications in Uganda, asked the 2022 participants to take up the opportunities that will come their way as a result of their leadership training.
“I have learnt that taking up opportunities will grow me, will show me what I need to improve on, and will highlight my strengths. Go for the opportunities that come your way – and learn all you can in the process. Show up for yourself.”
The participants will embark on a programme that features leadership hubs, through which they access insights into the skills they need to transform their newsrooms; coaching that will help them tap into their personal and professional attributes to achieve their career dreams; and media management training that will prepare them to take up more responsibilities in their newsrooms.
“We can overcome the challenges women face in the media industry by working together. The agenda of advancing gender equality requires all of us,” said Tamala Chirwa, the WIN Director for People and Strategic Initiatives, as the launch wound down and the work of building #WINners began.