Yesterday, the five Ms President finalists made their final bids to woo viewers during the presidential debate, and demonstrated confidence, eloquence and wit.

They impressed judges and viewers with their grip of various social issues, including leadership, cultural diversity, involvement of women in violent extremism, labour rights, food security, technology and health.

The European Union (EU), which is the main sponsor of the show, said the programme demonstrated that women had huge potential in leadership.

According to Josephine Kalinauckas, the EU’s Head of Section in Delegation Foreign Policy Instruments in East and Southern Africa, all the contestants, including hundreds of those who did not make it to the final stages, had demonstrated that women had what it takes to articulate societal issues.

“It is a message to Kenyans that they should not overlook the role of women while seeking solutions to challenges. Problems cannot be fully tackled without involving everyone,” she said.

Kalinauckas said the contestants, shortlisted from 1,000 women who joined the contest at its early stages, had demonstrated that given a platform, they could articulate issues the society faces.

“The major lesson is that the solutions have to be tailored to the local context. Local women’s voices need to be heard in this process so that solutions are not imposed,” she said.

Kalinauckas said EU would work closely with Kenya to ensure issues facing the country are addressed with more focus on empowering women and youth. She said President Uhuru Kenyatta had made a positive signal by meeting the five finalists.

“We are delighted the President took interest. It is a demonstration that we have a secured democracy. It will be interesting to know what they discussed,” she said.

Last week, the President met the five contestants and invited them to the podium during the commissioning of the Bidco Industrial Park in Ruiru, before hosting them at State House Nairobi on July 25.

The winner will be announced from viewers’ votes through a free Short Messaging Service code.

After the announcement, the EU representative said she was hopeful the Ms President would start advocating more women involvement and participation in the country’s political spectrum.

“We will work with Media Focus on Africa to look at possible follow-up ideas,” she said.


Ahead of the Ms President grand finale, the contestants made a visit to the State House where they had a chat on the state of the nation and passed down nuggets of wisdom on what it takes to be President.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 establishes the principle of equality and non-discrimination as a core value. The national values and principles of governance include human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of marginalized groups among others. Famously referred to as the “Second Republic”, the constitution brought the recognition of women’s rights as human rights.
Kenya has indeed made strides in realizing gender equality. However, a lot more needs to be done to make the constitution a reality. This is mostly because Kenyan women are still heavily underrepresented in decision-making processes at all levels. Women are still faced with fewer opportunities, lack of access to property which continues to limit their participation in public processes.
Ahead of the Ms President grand finale, the contestants made a visit to the State House where they had a chat on the state of the nation and passed down nuggets of wisdom on what it takes to be President.
“If we positively engage our women by creating opportunities and giving them chances, what we’re actually doing is not just empowering a woman, we’re actually empowering the nation.” said H.E Uhuru Kenyatta
He went ahead to acknowledge the role of women in public process and the importance of their engagement in political processes at all levels.
The meeting brought to the fore gains made in the areas of investments in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. It brought forth an opportunity to forge strong partnerships with women leaders and to learn about best practices towards the realization of equality and the empowerment of women in Kenya.
This was followed by a field trip that found the contestants sharing the same platform with His Excellency for the voting campaigns. Watch the field trip here:
Ms President seeks to bring together governments, civil society and media practitioners. It showcases determination of Kenyan women to make progress on women’s rights and gender equality.
Alongside our partners, Media Focus on Africa works to promote women’s engagement in every aspect of Kenya’s development.


The first ever of its kind reality series on leadership is set to begin showing on Kenyan screens this coming 30th January 2019. Ms President Reality TV show will see tens of women from across Kenya compete to win the ‘Presidency’.

Women with exemplary community projects and passionate about bringing social change applied to participate in the show after a call for participation was released in June 2018. After a thorough shortlisting based on the answers submitted in the application forms received from close to a 1000 women from all corners of the country, at least 375 were invited for auditions in five major towns in Kenya.

Ms President, a 26-episode reality television series, will captivate the national audience with 71 extraordinary women leaders going through a series of tasks and challenges designed to display their leadership capacity and ability.

The women representing the majority of counties across Kenya will have to survive through viewers’ votes and judges’ decisions, until the last one emerges as the “Ms President”. The winner and the 5 finalists will receive additional leadership mentorship opportunities.


During Kenya’s 2017 elections, of the 1450 Wards, women were only elected into 96. Of the 290 Constituencies in Kenya, women were elected in only 23 of those. Only 3 women were elected Senators from the 47 slots available, the same with Governors.

Ms President hopes to empower Kenyan women to build sustainable capacity for effective leadership especially in the areas of conflict management, peace building and crisis preparedness.

“Concerted efforts especially those targeting to alter attitudes, perceptions and stereotypes regarding women and leadership are a necessity. Ms President is one such effort,” said Harrison Manga, Programmes Manager, Media Focus on Africa, the organization producing the show.


Ms President was an entertaining, educating and thought provoking Reality TV show that sough to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. Through a series of tasks and challenges, contestants (all female) displayed their leadership capacity and ability on National TV. The series showcased intelligent and articulate women who are “Presidential” with the aim of increasing the chances of women in Kenya taking up leadership positions.

26 episodes of the Ms President TV show were produced and aired attracting average weekly viewership of 3.5 million. Episode 25 (the Presidential debate) attracted the highest viewership of 5,246,000 million and episode 26 (the finale) attracted the second highest viewership of 4,077, 000 million.

The President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta endorsed the programme. It also recorded commendation / endorsement from among other top government officials, Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Hon Ababu Namwamba who participated in episode 22 of the show. Others were Supreme Court Judge Hon Justice Njoki Ndungu, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service and Gender Hon Racheal Shebesh, the then Principal Secretary in charge of Gender at the ministry of Public Service and Gender Hon Safina Kwekwe, various Governors including the Governors of Nairobi and Garissa and several Members of the National Assembly and Senate plus other stellar leaders in the country.

The Ms President TV show attracted wide media coverage locally and internationally. There are at least 122 articles, news stories, features and OPEDs on Ms President on newspaper, TV and online platforms of leading local and international news organizations. Most of the coverage was balanced, fair and objective and did not perpetuate gender stereotypes often characterizing media coverage of women. Some good examples can be read below;

TV show proves women’s desire to vie for Presidency- Joan Thatiah Saturday Nation 10th August 2019

Of Ms President and the demand for emancipation- Prof Austin Bukenya Saturday Nation 17th August 2019

African Women are redefining leadership- Stephen Ndegwa People Daily August 8th 2019

The Ms President TV show was nominated under the best TV documentary/TV show/TV reality category of the 9th Edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV awards 2019.

All episodes of the TV show can be watched here.


Round table discussion that will discuss issues about safety for journalists’ online, offline and at their workplaces and find ways of addressing the existing challenges. This is part of an ongoing project to ensure that clear mechanisms are put in place for safety for journalist especially female journalists across the country.


 What are the Media Roundtables about?

Media roundtables are open discussions about safety for female journalists between media managers, editors, reporters and security officials.Conducted by Media Focus on Africa in partnership with UMWA, media roundtables are intended to identify key issues about safety and come up with practical solutions that can be implemented immediately to minimize threats that female journalists are exposed to as they go about with their professional duties. With information generated from the media round tables, UMWA and Media Focus on Africa Uganda will support state officials, other actors and media to promote safety for female journalists in Uganda


While safety for all journalists is an issue of concern, UNESCO has recently reported a rise in deaths of female journalists while on duty. Locally female journalists attest to various challenges that put them at risk online and offline including cyber bullying, hacking, sexual harassment and brutality by security organs. Therefore there is need for a concerted effort to engage different stakeholders to identify the key issues and agree on workable solutions to address them. Results from a situation analysis on the safety for female journalists done by UMWA in partnership with Media Focus on Africa will form a basis for this discussion as we seek to find a realistic solution to the safety challenges that are uniquely faced by women journalists.


What next?

More awareness about the issues and commitment to address them for example  in-house policy to ensure female journalists work in a favourable and secure environment.



The One-minute aimed at empowering youths in refugee settlements as well as their counterparts in the host communities  with skills and knowledge in film production, media and communication.  The skills will  prepare refugee youths and  youths in host communities to be able to tell their own stories and stand out  beyond the narratives that are often presented in the media.

To enable this move, the youths were given resources to help with their learning and also produce their own films. These included Ipads configured with video editing software. With these, the youths can record and edit video and audio footage. These Ipads, among other resources, will be left available to the youths even after the project is over, such that they can carry on producing films to express themselves and tell their stories to the world.

Project One-minute is funded by Creative-Force-Swedish Institute, a Swedish agency engaging other countries in information, culture, public life among others, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency working on behalf of the Swedish parliament and government to reduce poverty in the world. Project One-minute is facilitated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.


Kenya Media Week 2018 was a Grand Three Day Event that included presentations, panel discussions and exploration of media opportunities with Kenya’s leading journalists, researchers and key media stakeholders. They shared their insights and reflections on the future of Kenya’s journalism and media trends.

The first of its kind media gathering brought together great minds from the world of academia and media. Some of the speakers included Patrick Gathara, a renowned Kenyan journalist, cartoonist,  blogger, and author, Swaleh Mdoe, ranked as one of the best Kiswahili news anchors in Kenya, Dr. Wambui Wamunyu, head of Media studies at Daystar University, Patience Nyange, Senior Human Rights Officer, Kenya Human Rights Commission, Jessica Musila, Executive Director, Mzalendo, Johnson Mwakazi, Founder, The Royal Voice, Terry Anne Chebet, CEO, Fanaka TV, Luke Kizito,  Founder Signs Media, Marren Anot, Business Manager, Standard Media  Group , Njeri Kirieni,  Media and Research Consultant, Kenya Audience Research Foundation, Shitemi Khamadi, Bloggers Association of Kenya, Catherine Gicheru, Country manager, Code for Kenya, Christine Nguku – Kenya Editors Guild among others.

This national media conference sought innovative solutions to emerging challenges facing journalism in combating fake news, sustainable funding models for and addressing democracy. It took place on the 12th of September 2018 to 14th September 2018 at the Kenya Cultural Centre, Nairobi.

The discussions were extended online and were happening under the hashtag #MediaMattersKE and #KenyaMediaWeek. The hashtags trended in Kenya on twitter for the 3 days.

A detailed publication of the event and all that was discussed can be downloaded from this website at the Resources section. Read and download here. 



Television, Radio and newspaper media have been urged to stick to its ethics of verification, in depth analysis and fact checking in order to preserve the truth in journalism and countering fake news. Additionally, the media has been urged be creative in order to boost its survival by investing in research to fuel innovation. That was the conclusion at the Kenya Media Week held last week at the Kenya Cultural Centre, Nairobi.

“Rather than rushing to publish a story. Check the facts and gather data before publishing.  Data journalism, fact checking and investigative journalism are taking shape as journalists and media combat fake news,” said Judy Bisem, researcher, MSci. Project Management, Jomo Kenyatta Univeristy of Agriculture and Technology.


During the event, there was also a call for journalists to exploit the opportunity presented by the current competition caused by friction between mainstream media and the robust growth of social media. An opportunity to work together across the media.

“We do more work when we (the media industry) collaborate as opposed to all of us trying to do our own thing. The current and new generation of journalists, have gained on the benefits of greater collaboration to make quality news content,” Dr.  Wambui Wamuyu, lecturer, Daystar University.

There were more calls for the mainstream media to ensure news reporting remains for the public good and accessible to all.

“Media is an important tool of democracy but they might not be aware of the power they possess in enlightening the people. Media needs to understand its role in promoting democracy,” Jessica Musila, Executive Director, Mzalendo.

“Instead of setting the agenda, media is now following the government’s agenda,” said Julia Wanjiku, journalist, KBC radio.


The inaugural conference which brought together over 160 media experts; journalists, media researchers, journalism students and interested parties for three days of debate and discussions is expected to be an annual event to keep abreast and prompt innovation in the media sector.

“I have learnt so much about fake news especially the solution being simple, verification. Additionally, the government hasn’t given so much space to media. It doesn’t provide information and facts to the media, “ said Leyian Wallace Mootiun, KBC Radio journalist.

“Kenya Media Week is quite an initiative. The selection of topics attracted the participants. The kind of questions and structure of the conference is exactly what the media is currently facing and talking about. I have learnt so much from the participants and my fellow panelists,” said Anthony Makokha, Digital Media Editor, Nation Media group digital.

“I have been following the conversation online for the last two days before coming here today. It has been very intriguing. I hope we can continue the conversation and not let it end here, but use the ideas and solutions discussed can be really used to improve our sector. I strongly believe that this interaction between experienced journalists and new/upcoming journalists will shape the future of the media,” said Emmanuel Yegon, founder, Mobile Journalism Africa.

The organizers of Kenya Media Week, Media Focus on Africa in partnership with National Endowment for Democracy and experts in the media, have confidence in the value of bringing together media research and industry experts to move the media sector forward.

“We are going to do a publication of all the research papers presented and feedback received over these couple of days,” said Simon Gicia, Communications Officer, Media Focus on Kenya.


From 2011 to 2019, MFA organized media roundtables that sought to examine the role of media on various issues, in conversations with media stakeholders, civil society, government officials, legislators, policy makers and the general public. Every year, the roundtables focused on a subject that MFA felt was of great public interest and could result in great public good if covered well by the media. Themes ranged from Media and the Constitution Implementation Process , media reporting of county budgets and county expenditure, media and ethnicity,  media coverage of women aspirants during electioneering periods, plus many more. The goal was to promote accountability and responsibility of media practitioners, open media to public participation and build bridges between the media and the different groups mentioned above with the aim of better information sharing.

Watch various insightful Media Roundtable discussions on our YouTube page. Here and Here

The Roundtables were supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and NED, and conducted in partnership with the University of Nairobi’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SOJMC), Media Institute (MI), Kenya Editors’ Guild (KEG), Alliance Française and the Kenya Institute of Media and Communications.


Media Focus on Africa has opened the application process for a leadership TV reality show “‘Ms. President’” a series which will inspire women and girls to become key players in leadership in all spheres of life. The TV show will also aim to change the attitude of Kenyans towards women and leadership.

The applications opened on the 5th June 2018 and can be downloaded online via The launch of applications was presided over by His Excellency Stefano Dejak the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Kenya. The applications will close on July 27th 2018. Applicants can also express interest by accessing forms from the producing organization, Media Focus on Africa through

In Kenya, as in most of Africa, women are usually not found in leadership positions. They are not generally perceived to have the skills, knowledge or social status needed to bring about meaningful change in post-conflict environments.

Kenya has the least representation of woman in the East Africa region despite the two thirds gender rule provision in the constitution of Kenya 2010.  Currently in the National Assembly female MPs make up only 22%, 31% in the Senate and only 6% of the Governors.  “Ms President” aims at building sustainable female leadership capacity in Kenya by showcasing articulate, intelligent, fair-minded women who are “presidential candidates”.The series will increase the possibility of women in Kenya being called upon to take on leadership positions.

“We are not looking for beauty queens we are looking for #women who are leaders. It’s not just putting women on TV but putting them though leadership training and mentorship” said Frenny Jowi, Project Office, Media Focus on Africa.

The inspiration to produce the “Ms President” reality series in Kenya originated from the Palestinian Ma’aan Television Network, highly popular program ‘The President’, which involved choosing a young Palestinian to be the next Palestinian President.

Kenya’s Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender representative was at launch.

“The women who make it into the programme must be the best version of us. We would like to work with all the women that will apply for the program as the Ministry of Gender” – Lydiah Mathia, advisor to CS Ministry of Gender Kenya.

The European Union that is funding the program by Media Focus on Africa was also present at the launch.

‘No human society is fully developed without women taking the central place. Women need to prepare for power .’ – EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak.

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The afternoon session is one that is not only important for a woman looking to get into the leadership and political space but for anyone looking to nurture a healthy relationship with oneself.

@AmisaRashid taking the women through Mental Wellness. #MsPresident
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Be authentic in your advocacy for inequality. If you are going to speak up about issues that affect a particular group of people, have them in the room. Create solutions together with them ~ @joannekuria

#MsPresident #MsPresidentAcademy #SheCanLead
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To grasp the gravity of income disparity, a report by @Oxfam stated that if the two richest men sat on top of all their money stacked in 100 dollar bills, they would be in outer space. In comparison, the middle class would be at chair height and most people would be on the floor Media_Focus photo
Here is why you should worry about debt and its impact on equality. Our government tends to increase indirect taxes to reduce the national debt. This primarily impacts low-income households which consist of women and youth.

#MsPresident #MsPresidentAcademy #SheCanLead
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Trivia question of the day: Out of the 193 countries worldwide, how many women are currently heads of state or government?

#MsPresident #MsPresidentAcademy #SheCanLead

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#Journalists, as you charge yourselves up to demand for #rights. Be ready to take on the responsibility that comes along with them! - @Akeda3 of @NationMediaGrp @DailyMonitor

#WorldPressFreedomDay2022 #WPFD #MediaMattersUG #journalism
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