2022 WOMEN ASPIRANTS SUPPORT

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is currently implementing a project “Strengthening the democratic participation of women in Kenya” which is supporting 20 women aspirants for various elective seats from the counties of Narok, Nyandarua, West Pokot and Kajiado. These 4 counties were chosen because they are among those counties in Kenya that have some of the least numbers of elected women throughout Kenya’s history. The support in form of training is exposing the women to Strategic election planning and digital media skills for campaigning especially with the reality of covid 19 and the expansion of digital technologies to many rural communities in Kenya.

So far, the women have benefited from two separate training sessions from Faridah Salim, a Governance Expert and Pioneer Member, Kisumu County Assembly.

They have also benefited from inspirational talks/mentorship from 2 elected women: Hon Zuleikha Juma, Kwale County MP and Hon Sally Okudo MCA from Central Seme Ward in Kisumu County. The 2 leaders used their own experience in elective politics to not only encourage and motivate the women but to also share much needed skills and tips for women to navigate the political environment.

This project is supported by the Canada High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiative, CFLI. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the core of the government of Canada International Policy- the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

 

Community Media Fund

The Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) and the Ford Foundation have partnered to establish a Community Media Fund (CMF) providing critical philanthropic support to enhance citizens’ access to relevant information that enables the public to hold officials accountable and to urge support for policies and practices that promote inclusive economic and human development.  For more details – https://www.bmia.org/community-media-fund/

Women and Political Campaigns in a Covid 19 world

Zoom Webinar by Media Focus on Africa. It will focus on women vying for elective sits in Kenya, discussing how the Covid Pandemic has affected the political landscape plus how women who are already disadvantaged on the political platform can navigate the landscape. The Webinar will also be live on Twitter and Facebook. More details to follow.

Investigative Sports Reporting Fund

28 October 2021: Sport has played an important role in society for thousands of years.  Around the world, it brings people together from all backgrounds and all walks of life. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has a funding programme  for journalists in Africa who want to report on how sport is run in their own country or wider region. Application deadline is 28th October 2021.

Learn how you can apply here – https://www.trust.org/media-development/opportunities/?sfid=a053z00000ppJKvAAM&sfProgId=a15D0000018xcQuIAI&areaOfFocus=Equality+and+Tolerance

World Congress on Information Technology and Computer Science (WCITSC)

9 October 2021: The conference provides a platform for professionals involved in Information Technology and Computer Science to exchange knowledge and gain an insight into the state of the art in the current technology, techniques and solutions in Computer Science as they have been developed and applied in different countries. Participants include a wide variety of stakeholders from research and academia, to industrial sectors as well as government organizations.

International Conference on Wireless Networks and Mobile Communication (EUIWNMC)

19 Sep 2021: EUIWNMC aims at examining the various challenges in the areas of wireless networks & mobile communications. The conference will provide a forum for exchanging ideas, discussing solutions, and sharing experiences among researchers and professionals from both academia and industry interested in wireless networks and mobile communications.

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urges Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. This day is commemorated every year on 2nd November a date which coincides with the day when tow French journalists were assassinated in Mail.

KENYA 2022 ELECTIONS: FINDING THE GENDER BALANCE

We are effectively into the election year. Kenya’s general election are due to be held in August 2022. In the last few weeks there’s been a heightening of political activities across the country. As with every electoral cycle, the issue of participation and representation of women will come into sharp focus. The constitution requires that not more than two thirds of the members of any elective body consist of one gender. 11 years after the constitution was passed, this threshold is far from being realized. Following the 2017 election, women made up 7.9% of elected MPs (from the 290 constituencies), 6.4% of Governors and Senators and 6.6% of elected MCAs. Regionally (East Africa) Kenya lags behind in the representation of women.

A variety of reasons account for the low representation of Kenyan women in political leadership. Top of the pile is the impact of age old social-cultural norms that define gender roles in our communities.  This has proved a major hindrance to women achieving political leadership. Political campaigns tend to be quite expensive. A study estimated the cost of running for an MP seat in 2017 to range between 20-35 million Kenya shillings. Due to socio-cultural norms that govern ownership and access to property and capital, women are greatly disadvantaged when it comes to raising resources for campaigning.

High media visibility of political candidates contributes to likelihood of success, but women candidates are less visible in the media. A 2019 global study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that men remain the vast majority of quoted experts and sources in political news coverage and that the share of voice by men is 7 times that of women. The male dominance of political leadership spaces means that male candidates in competition with female candidates benefit from the unconscious bias of the voters i.e. voters unconsciously equate political leadership with men. The dominance also means that male candidates have abundance of role models to learn and get inspiration from. Female candidates competing with male candidates for the same seat and with similar qualifications and experience must work at least twice as hard to compete favorably.

As we head towards the August 2022 election, the need to increase the number of elected women representatives across the board has never been more apparent. In order for this to happen, female candidates for election require a lot of support. Strategic election planning training can make a significant contribution towards the success of female candidates in election. This refers to the capacity to approach electoral campaigning strategically. It involves analysis and use of data on demographics, past elections and voter trends to inform a candidate’s campaign plan. Strategic election planning allows a candidate to efficiently and effectively utilize limited resources and time during campaigns while greatly increasing the chances of success. Female candidates for election can also greatly benefit from increased visibility as a result of effective branding and messaging using digital/social media platforms. Digital/social media can be a useful alternative platform for visibility for female candidates during the campaigns. Proper branding on these platforms can also lead to getting noticed and profiled on traditional media which ultimately leads to getting known by more electorates. Learning from, inspiration and motivation by senior elected female colleagues can also add great value to female candidates running for election, particularly for those running for the first time.

With funding from the Canada High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiative, Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is embarking on a project to support 20 women aspirants for various elective seats from the counties of Narok, Nyandarua, West Pokot and Kajiado. The goal of the project is “Strengthening the democratic participation of women in Kenya”.   These 4 counties were chosen because they are among those counties in Kenya that have some of the least numbers of elected women throughout Kenya’s history. The support in form of training will expose the women to Strategic election planning and digital media skills for campaigning. In addition the women shall receive motivation and inspiration from elected female colleagues. The project will run for the next 4-6 months.

This project is in line with MFA‘s priority focus area of gender equality. Over the last 5 years, MFA has implemented a number of exciting and successful projects on gender equality including the recently aired popular TV series ‘Ms President’. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the core of the government of Canada International Policy- the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Image courtesy of UN.

BARRIERS WOMEN FACE WHEN RUNNING FOR POLITICAL OFFICES

On July 29, 2021, The Canadian High Commission and Media Focus on Africa engaged in discussions with Ms President participants who will be vying for elective seats in the 2022 elections in Kenya. These discussions are part of Canada’s and MFA’s objective to promote and support women’s political participation. These discussions are going to take place over a period of months in the lead up to the elections.

In the discussions held at the High Commissioners Residence, the commission and MFA sought to understand the individual journey of the women, their experiences in their quest for leadership, the strategies they were putting in place and the barriers women face when they run for office.

Some of the conversations are captured in short video. Watch HERE

WHY VIRAL SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT IS BAD FOR JOURNALISM

Opinion: Who these days doesn’t have guilty pleasures such as watching endless videos online when you are supposed to be sleeping or working?

My favourite are cat videos, babies, pets, and animals.  The creators of these videos have become the new e-entrepreneurs and social influencers.

To journalists, viral social media content continues to reshape the ways news is to be packaged.   The redefinition of what makes content engaging has put stress on news media to repackage items to fit a new type of consumption.

Journalism vs entertainment

The media has evolved at a speed that journalism is still working at catching up with. One of the conspicuous changes has been the exponential expansion for the production of online content. This has opened the playfield to an uncontrollable number of players. This content is directly competing with journalism.

While the expansion of platforms has created space for diversity, the playfield has been made grossly unlevelled. Journalism in some regions of the world has suffered a colossal slump as a result.

The cost of producing quality journalism remains considerable. Conversely, producing social media content is relatively cheaper and without the need for time-consuming gatekeeping or editorial quality checks.

Changing tastes for audiences

Social media transformed the way audiences consume content.   Online audiences developed traits such as impatience, constant use, consumption on the move, and the luxury of infinite choices.

These traits turned the audience into an insatiable beast that constantly nibbles bits of information.  In return content creators produce shorter and entertaining content.

The word ‘Viral’ was reborn.

It must be viral to show impact?

Numbers are the new definition of impact.  The drivers of impact have become quite obscure if journalism is to retain its depth and analytical values.  Viral content has proved to be driven by entertainment value, bizarre elements, scandalous nature, or emotional appeal.

It’s all about click baits.

Daily journalism may not match these standards.  It is not every good piece of journalism that will contain one or all of the qualities of viral content.

This makes the average reporter’s work remain flat amid bubbling social media viral posts that are dumbed down to attract numbers.   The ability of news and feature stories to engage is now being judged against entertainment on social media.

 

Additional costs for journalism

Facebook’s addition of sponsored content has made it further challenging for unpaid for news content to compete.

Legacy media may still boast of a large following on social media. This is largely inherited from their dominance in the pre-digital era.  Upcoming and alternative media still find it difficult to amass a following online without considerable budgets on social media advertising and branding.

Even for legacy media, social media has been an additional cost. There needs to be trained personnel, repackaging of long-form journalism to short form as well as necessary apps and software.

The cost of retraining journalists to write and produce for social media is considerable.  There has also been a shift in work culture, such as the need to use mobile phones for journalism.  All come at a cost.

Preserving long-form journalism in the digital space

The sacred space of journalism has always been under threat.  Media freedoms must be continually fought for.

While the digital space was hailed to provide a leeway for alternative voices which would have been an addition to press freedom and freedom of information and expression, the trend is changing fast.

Digital may soon be just like mainstream. Many good pieces of journalism get drowned in the sea of ‘viral’.   The ‘viral’ virus has infected journalism and a cure is needed.

All the funny videos online are good for audiences, people need comic relief. However, the truths and perspectives that journalism offers are the lifeblood of our democracy and freedoms.

 A new social influence audit

 Journalism has to redefine its social media influence.

An audit of followers, comments, and real-life impact may give fair indicators of how a story is performing.  The metrics for other social media content should not be used to judge journalistic engagement.

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Updates from Uganda & Kenya

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Twitter Kenya


Yesterday, Kisumu MCA - Pamela Odhiambo worked with the women to develop ground strategies for local elections which included dealing with opposition and attacks based on gender.

#WomenConnect #ElectionsKE2022 #SheCanLead #EqualityMatters #CFLI #CanadaFund https://t.co/3J7aVUQB9N https://t.co/StHieCEfqa
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Media Focus on Africa @Media_Focus
We are in a forum helping women MCA aspirants prepare for 2022 elections. Rangwe MP - Dr Lilian Gogo is mentoring the women & sharing tips to help them navigate their way up. Thank you @K24Tv for highlighting the forum https://t.co/yctJ93A3Su

#SheCanLead #EqualityMatters #CFLI https://t.co/vvPBfPZNN8

We are in a forum helping women MCA aspirants prepare for 2022 elections. Rangwe MP - Dr Lilian Gogo is mentoring the women & sharing tips to help them navigate their way up. Thank you @K24Tv for highlighting the forum https://t.co/yctJ93A3Su

#SheCanLead #EqualityMatters #CFLI https://t.co/vvPBfPZNN8
Media_Focus photo

23 women including current governors, women MPs and professionals have declared interest in running for the governors sit in the 2022 Kenya elections. Learn more from @NationAfrica

#ElectionsKE2022 #SheCanLead #EqualityMatters #WomenConnect https://t.co/sFwFBEccwA

One vote matters, your vote matters! There are many elections that have been decided by only a few votes and yours can help propel the right candidate who believes and works for equality and development for all. Register to vote #ElectionsKE2022 #EqualityMatters #ECVR2021 #CFLI https://t.co/ANhHLd3VEK Media_Focus photo

A malaria vaccine has been sought for many years and finally one has now been approved by WHO. A big breakthrough in the fight against the killer disease. https://t.co/fIh4ANQBhx Media_Focus photo

Ongoing https://t.co/KerEuBnEWk
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ActionAid Kenya @ActionAid_Kenya
Register to engage with our guest speakers during our main event tomorrow beginning 5 pm EAT.

Theme: wo/men participation in political spaces amidst the current environment. #FOAA

https://t.co/ptuw9bSuOx https://t.co/n2c2sQ9hg4

Twitter Uganda


HIGHLIGHTS: #DYK Cartoons tell alot of stories sometimes even morethan words? At the #EASTFest21 was an exhibition
@jana https://t.co/EsisIMvtz7
MFAUganda photo

HIGHLIGHTS: Paraphrase: at the #EASTFest21
It is more natural to discuss topics you are passionate about. This is even more engaging! It's a point to note to journalists.
@janajwang @AbahoEdward5 @RuthNagudi @MusinguzOscar @nbstv @Iam_solomon_kis @WatumK https://t.co/20zFHPXrBv https://t.co/terOM59Kgy
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"Before you share a viral social media video, have you verified it? There is no way a media house can do away with "VERIFICATION" and think you are on a safe side."
- Mary. N. Kalundu at the #EASTFest2021 https://t.co/EBTawiYBol
MFAUganda photo

"Journalism is a discipline of verification. We can't air anything that are not verified." - Mary. N. Kalundu at the #EASTFest21 https://t.co/Ukd5hzpKn6 MFAUganda photo

The debate on skilling journalists- young people think there is ‘too much theory’ in university compared to the practical skills! Collaboration between the industry and training institutions is key! #EASTFest21 @mcimediahub @IMChallengeug @AKUMediaFutures https://t.co/C6kJHAfB2N MFAUganda photo