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AWiM and UNESCO capacitate Eastern African female journalists on Covid-19

A group of 200 Eastern African women journalists will soon be connected through an on-line resource hub addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and providing online training materials on how to cover the outbreak. The hub will also include a database with reference media content and links to good practices on reporting sanitary emergencies in the world.

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“We are pleased to announce our partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to launch the Women Journalists’ Health Resource Hub for East African Women in Media’, #RCCE2020 project, aimed at promoting ethical, inclusive and gender responsive reporting on the COVID19 pandemic, through capacity building training and materials made accessible via an online resources hub,” said AWiM cofounder, Dr Yemisi Akinbobola.

#RCCE2020 benefits 200 female journalists in Eastern Africa through media associations in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan through three key focal areas:

  1. The development of six courses on health and risk communication skills, and community engagement. These will be complemented by live mentoring by trainers through webinars;
  2. Research into the lived experiences of East African women journalists covering COVID-19
  3. Wikimedia training to profile East African women journalists specialised in health reporting

“This is a timely initiative,” said Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, co-founder, AWiM. “We have seen how Ebola and COVID-19 have impacted the way we report global health issues, and the way in which journalists can operate. We hope this programme contributes to opportunities for female journalists reporting on health and future pandemics, to do so safely and in a way that enhances their career progression, by positioning them as experts.”

This project is in line AWiM’s priorities and goals, SDG5, and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, Aspirations 3, 4 & 6.  The courses developed by professionals in the field include:

  1. Balanced health reporting
  2. Accessing, interpreting and fact-checking scientific information
  3. Ethical health reporting
  4. Safety for journalists (offline and online)
  5. Identifying gendered angles and impact stories
  6. Automated journalism

“In coordinated response to the crisis, media is most relevant”, said Tirso Dos Santos, UNESCO Representative to Tanzania. “UNESCO support reinforces national efforts to improve public access to credible reporting, accelerate the fight against misinformation and leverage digital innovation in responding to assessed needs through strengthened media capacity to communicate information and disseminate gender-responsive, conflict sensitive and cultural appropriate messages on COVID-19”. These actions are already part of UNESCO’s work in country support but have become even more urgent now, with the current emergency.”

Furthermore, UNESCO Liaison Office to AU and UNECA is also committed to creating synergy with other similar regional and Pan African initiatives that UNESCO is supporting in Africa, in response to COVID-19. “This activity provides a good foundation for UNESCO’s planned action with the African Union, in promoting ‘Communicating Science in Africa by localising the UNESCO and WHO COVID-19 MOOCs to African Context. This Eastern African Resource Hub for female journalists will be linked to the Pan Africa Covid 19 Media Hub and Resource centre.”

To register to be one of the 200 participants and part of the trusted network of women journalists reporting on health and pandemics, complete our online application at bit.ly/rcce2020. Register for the Wikimedia training here registration form.

Deadline for registration to the Wikimedia training is 5 June 2020. The risk communication and health reporting courses will be launched on 1 July 2020.

UNESCO supports this activity within the framework of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). IPDC is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) programme aimed at strengthening the development of mass media in developing countries.

The project also aims to support African women journalists in their work, and has commissioned a research on capturing the lived experiences of East African women journalists during COVID-19. Please respond to this short survey, as the first stage of participating in this project.

For further details contact:

9 Responses

  1. It is really expedient that journalists receive a training along the lines of health reporting and other sectors if need be. We can only be as good as being part of the system, if we are healthy and living well, it will be easier to report about it. Thanks again

    1. I loved the project from day one, because we African journalists needed it as early as yesterday.

  2. I loved the project from day one,because we African female journalists needed it as early as yesterday

  3. I loved the project from day one, because we African journalists needed it as early as yesterday.

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C.E.O & Co-founder, AWiM

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, consultant and co-founder of African Women in Media (AWiM). AWiM’s vision is that one-day African women will have equal access to representation in media. Joint winner of the CNN African Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting), Yemisi ran her news website IQ4News between 2010-14.
Yemisi holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University, where she is a Senior Lecturer. She has published scholarly research on women’s rights, African feminism, and journalism and digital public spheres. She was Editorial Consultant for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 commemorative book titled “She Stands for Peace: 20 Years, 20 Journeys”, and currently hosts the book’s podcast.
She speaks regularly on issues relating to gender and media. In 2021 she was recognized as one of 100 Most Influential African Women.