Embracing the Future: Uganda Media Week 2023 Explores Public Interest, AI, and the Evolution of Journalism

Set to take place from November 9th, 2023, the 5th Uganda Media Week Conference, hosted by Media Focus on Africa Uganda, promises an illuminating journey into the future of journalism. Under the theme “Public Interest, AI, and the Future of Journalism,” this conference is poised to revolutionize the landscape of media.

The event will convene a gathering of distinguished experts, influential voices, and industry insiders, fostering discussions around crucial topics. Panel discussions will explore the role of effective reporting in strengthening democratic accountability, creating an inclusive internet environment for women in media, deciphering the implications of AI in the realm of journalism, and confronting online gender-based violence.

Uganda Media Week 2023 is not just a conference; it’s an avenue for transformative conversations and knowledge exchange. Brace yourself for engaging dialogues that offer critical insights into the future of media and journalism in Uganda.

For more information please reachout to us via ruth@mediafocusonafrica.org

or Call +256393248341

Using media and dialogue to fight against Gender Based Violence against Women and girls.

MFA partnered with Urgent Action fund to fight GBV against women and girls using media and dialogue in the most affected regions in Uganda. Community Based Organization representatives, and journalists were trained to facilitate dialogues, produce content and host talk shows on GBV. To raise awareness and understanding of women’s rights in Uganda’s in North, Eastern, and Western Uganda, radio skits were produced in local languages and broadcast on the regional radio stations. This was accompanied by community dialogues were held with community leaders, and an online advocacy campaign. Through engaging leaders and duty bearers, the project promoted more accountability in upholding the rights of women and girls, and promoting them.

The project called for action against violence against women and girls sensitized women on their rights, created platforms to share their stories, increased voices of women in media, rallied support and put the GBV at the center of the conversation.

Impact / Facts and figures

12 radio play skits produced in local languages, 18 radio talk shows against gender based violence- with key stakeholders – victims, duty bearers, CSO representatives, 6 CSO representatives trained, 9 radio presenters trained to present and produce content on GBV, 6 community dialogues using the radio skits to raise awareness and promote respect for women’s rights and raise local ambassadors against GBV in the community, 1 Communications and advocacy campaign online, 3 regions reached, 128  participants in the community dialogues.


“Male callers would discuss serious issues about women’s rights while most female would laugh about issues like child marriages because some of them had been married off when they were still young. In most cases, the callers blamed the GBV victim portrayed in the drama skit, even on issues like rape and defilement. There is need to speak out more against GBV.” Rosemary Wakesho, Programs Officer, Anti-Domestic Violence Center (ADOVIC),Jinja

“We had successful radio talk shows with listeners calling in to report GBV cases they had witnessed in their communities.  On the panel we had a police Officer in charge of child protection and Family unit from Mbarara Central police station who took contacts of the callers to follow up on the cases brought forward on the show”, Juliet Rukwanzi, Project Officer, Integrated Community “Development Initiative (ICODI),Mbarara

“On Mighty Fire FM, very painful stories of sexual violence were shared by relatives of victims. A story about a man who molested an 11 year old nanny who had been brought by his wife to take care of their baby bribed the police with 4 million shillings and is a free man now. That is just one of the 15 cases shared by listeners. The police officer has got their contacts for follow up.” Francis Watum , Talk show host, Mighty Fire FM, Kitgum

Training Rural media Outlets and Female Practitioners on Media Viability

With support from DW Akademie, MFA trained representatives from Radio Pacis, Voice Of Karamoja, Mama FM, Voice Of Toro, Speak FM, Elgon FM, Etop Radio, Unity FM and Crooze FM.

Management across the different departments and women in media To deliver three online trainings teaching Media Viability and Innovation to 10 rural media outlets with a special focus on female media practitioners. To promote and increase women’s skills in the use of new media technologies and to reach more audiences. Social media training for 20 participants (journalists, talk-show hosts, marketers and social media managers etc) using social media to grow audiences and increase revenues.The target audience for the project were; community media managers, female media practitioners and female journalists and innovators. The module included a basic needs assessment survey conducted by MFA. In addition, a pre-and post-

survey was conducted for training to understand the knowledge and level of expertise of participants. The pre-survey allowed us to identify the large gaps in understanding Media Viability (MV); lack of knowledge and skills to include digitization; severe lack of gender sensitivity in reporting and lack of women in the overall business structures and culture in and overtly male dominant media landscape. As a result of the outcomes of the survey, it became apparent that the digital transition in Uganda has been a very slow. Small and medium size rural based media houses were struggling to adapt and integrate technology. Furthermore, it clearly identified the huge skills gap and lack of knowledge for media managers and practitioners from top to bottom. The digital disruption on top of Covid 19 impacted radio stations negatively especially financially as well as operations. Stations had to adapt to remote work and work from home but didn’t have the capacity, resources and equipment to facilitate the needs of their staff.

Overall, the topics covered in training were new to the vast majority of participants which created an excitement and hunger to learn new skills and increase their knowledge.

  •  Online sessions were based on human centered designed thinking and prototyping.
  • The basic structure of the training were trainer and trainee centered including PPT and video presentations, print media, Q and A, feedback sessions and practical group work, knowledge sharing and examples of innovation from other media.
  • The online training consisted of eight bi-weekly virtual sessions using Zoom video conferencing.
  • WhatsApp was used as a secondary group communication tool and follow up for trainers, participants and project management. The WhatsApp group is still active at the request of the participants to allow ongoing networkingand have access to trainers. All training was interactive and held synchronously in plenary and small groups for practical work focused on developing strategy and finding solutions. The online training included elements of A-synchronous work that individuals had to complete as offline assignments.

Training also included introduction and use of various free digital collaboration and communication tools such as; Jam board, Menti.com, Padlet, Canva, Google Forms.  Participants were introduced to free audience survey tools such as; Survey Monkey, Type Form, Google Forms and various other forms that include analytical capabilities.

Participants were introduced to various free video editing, audio editing, photo editing and text tools to support them in becoming more effective and efficient in their daily work and support working remotely.


The invitation for stations to participate in this series of training was met with a high level of excitement and expectation for learning new skills and creating financial sustainability. The initial online briefing to introduce the training had a total of more than 50 participants in attendance including station managers and departmental managers across the board. The training that was conducted were planned for 20 participants but we ended up with 40 people on day one. Participants stayed consistently throughout the training with an average of 36 participants daily.

Group sessions were highly interactive and engaging and offline work was done with much enthusiasm and zest. All training consisted of 50% women with a high level of participation from female media practitioners in addition to the only women owned radio station manager; a 2nd female station manager in addition to 4 women in senior management positions. The formal and informal feedback from participants were overwhelmingly positive. Participants expressed an eagerness to continue to learn more. The pre-and post- survey decidedly showed most of the topics covered were largely new to them. Participants managed to obtain more than sufficient knowledge,


For information and skills to pursue the subjects further and apply them in their daily work. Several of the managers communicated their eagerness to use the tools and models introduced during the course of the training such as audience research, content development, empathy mapping to understand the needs of their audiences through developing personas, the use of a content calendar and the knowledge and ability to adapt their business model using the business model canvas. Furthermore, as training was happening participants started sharing new knowledge and tools to staff at their own radio stations.

Participant Feedback: (comments from each of the eight training sessions)

  1.  From Joshua Imalingat: I came to this training with so many questions about this animal called Media Viabilitybut now things are getting more interesting. Very impressed with the fact that Community engagement is at the core of what we do and that Data is the new currency.
  2.  From Bettie Mujungu: This is really resourceful for our specific programs on the radio and online audiences. I see how much content we have generated on just one person’s story. And usually in our communities there same issues of address.
  3. From Hellen Aguyo Okello: the training was resourceful, linking content to social media and relating this to income generation stood out for me.
  4. From Joshua Imalingat: Well I would only want to thank you for taking us through the steps because I suppose on my side I would said it is the first time am seeing such a thing as taking us through the entire process of organizing a zoom meeting. Often times we have just landed in…boom intro.. expectations and kaboom… we move on. nothing like this. It Hasn’t been a waste of time for time. I will be available for all the sessions.������
  5. From Egonda Emmanuel: wow this is great guidance for online meetings. You really opened up my mind. Am thinking online meetings are the way to go asopposed to F2F meetings. Online meetings however require total concentration. Covid appears to be a blessing in disguise with the way organizations are communicating and meeting. Thanks.


  1. From Betty mujungu: the audience engagement, Empathy Map and persona. it's been a really engaging session
  2. From Agnes Etadu: Thank you Eva for this wonderful Training, for me today what stood out is various business models we as a radio station can adopt to generate revenue for the station. But importantly I took a lesson from your quote this morning "Go to the organization with an idea of how to solve their problem" not the other way round
  3. From Emmanuel: If media managers take this presentation serious, we can actually help our organizations to take on their competitors both business wise and improving listenership numbers. Thanks Eva for this presentation.
  5. From Dorothy Ainembabazi: I believe that audience research is good to go. I hope companies and radio stations can pick up.
  6. From Aaron Olao: I enjoyed the first session when you delved on content creation before thinking of money.
  7. From Catherine Apalat: The in-depth persona analysis was my Aha moment.
  8. From Kajumba Gorret: importance of engaging audience
  9. “I can see now that Blogging and Vlogging can be done by women and men. Social Media can be used for more than just personal posting.” Dorcas.
  10. “I am dearly impressed by the different tools I can use to generate funds for my media house and individually as well. Thanks team” Emmy Daniel Ojara
  11. “The business model stood out for me today, but i think by putting it into practice things can work out well.” Gloria Lalam
  12. I am so glad that every end of the training day, I have new knowledge added. Joe Wacha
  13. From Joseph Akiiso: With this knowledge, we are more focused and will discuss with senior management based on facts in order to argue our cases.
  14. From Joshua Imalingat: Eva this is great. I think I will never be the same again. with this training and all these tools Iwill be a digital expert soon.


10 radio stations, 30 radio presenters’ skills and knowledge in producing content on women were strengthened.

Rural Based Journalists trained on digital inclusion reporting for marginalized groups of people

141 rural based journalists in five subregions in Northern and Eastern Uganda were trained to effectively report on digital inclusion for the vulnerable groups of people. Editors, and reporters working with Print, radio, television, and online news platforms attended the trainings held in Arua, Gulu , Lira, Moroto and Soroti districts. The training sessions tackled under coverage of stories on digital exclusion among vulnerable groups of people like rural women, persons living with disabilities, illiterates, and the youth. Among other topics discussed in the training were-Digital security for media houses and journalists, and digital literacy for rural based journalists. The training was aimed at promoting the role of professional journalism in establishing and sustaining digital inclusion for marginalized people in the rural areas of Uganda, by  increasing stories reported on digital exclusion of marginalized groups of people. The training was conducted by Media Focus on Africa with support from the Africa Digital Rights Fund through CIPESA.n

Felix Warom, chief of Bureau of Daily Monitor in West Nile said that his team will be more intentional about featuring stories on digital exclusion of vulnerable people in the news. He called upon journalists to get out of their reporting comfort zones by reaching out to the marginalized groups of people for their views on the ongoing digital developments. Mr. Warom was among the journalists trained to report on digital inclusion.

Joseph Akiiso  of Etop radio said that the digital inclusion training  has not only improved the way the radio station involves women in their programming, it has greatly supported the way their female journalists report and present the news.

“Our female journalists have become content creators and distributors. Their earnings have improved and they have become competitive in the job market. We have prepared our female journalists for the future, since digital media is the future and the future is now.” Says Joseph Akiiso

“Digital inclusion was a subject I avoided to report about because it was so complex. This training has opened my eyes to the stories all around us and how to make those stories relatable to the audiences and the duty bearers.”   Timothy Eodu, reporter Karamoja News

This training was the 4th edition of the Uganda Media Week regional media trainings and dialogues held annually in the key cities across the country, to refresh the reporting skills of journalists on specific issues.  Previous topics covered in the regional media trainings include reporting on; elections, accountability, gender sensitive reporting, post covid recovery of media houses


Media Focus on Africa collaborated with United Nations Capital Development Fund to produce training content and materials. Previously the two organizations worked together to train journalists online about covering digital inclusion in Uganda. UNCDF’s Steven Waiswa joined MFA’s Jan Ajwang and Ruth Nagudi facilitated training the training sessions.

Stephen Waiswa, UNCDF’s Regional Technical Specialist- Digital Financial services (East & southern Africa) defined the complex terms like digitization, digital divide, digitalization, digital transformation, digital inclusiveness, and digital economies. In his presentation, he Contextualized digital transformation in Uganda and the importance of digital inclusion. Mr. Waiswa elaborated the implications of digital transformation, existing digital gaps and made recommendations on how they can be filled.

Jan Ajwang, Media Focus on Africa’s Project Manager handled topics on identifying marginalized groups of people, digital safety for media houses and journalists, reporting stories on digital exclusion across multimedia platforms. In her presentation, she demonstrated how journalists can leverage one story to increase audiences across multimedia platforms, and how the stories can be written to compel action from the duty bearers.

Ruth Nagudi, Projects Coordinator facilitated an interactive session on Story ideas of underreported stories on digital exclusion of marginalized groups of people. Participants were divided into 4 groups to discuss and present on the Strengths, Weaknesses , Opportunities and Threats to digital inclusion in Uganda.  After participants’ presentations, Ms. Nagudi facilitated the session on how journalists could turn SWOT analysis into stories that could increase reporting on digital inclusion

Hindrances to reporting news stories on digital inclusion

Journalists pointed out structural, infrastructural, skills and illiteracy related obstacles as the main hinderances to effective coverage of stories on digital inclusion. Among other key reasons for not reporting on digital exclusion are fear of media houses losing their main advertisers- telecommunications companies and government bodies who are directly related to the infrastructural imbalances. Journalists are not in position to independently report on such exclusions by people based in remote rural areas because the story involves an advertiser on their media platforms.

Digital exclusion stories new government initiatives that require registration of beneficiaries online, a journalist shared an example difficulty to register for parish model registration in Agago district and other remote areas partly due to lack of internet to connect to the registration system, and when the smart phone batteries run out there is no electricity to recharge the registration devices.

Relatedly, news stories exposing gaps in digital interventions by government cannot be broadcast or published because most of the media houses are owned by the members of the ruling political party (National Resistance Movement). The media owners are either Members of parliament or former ministers.

High cost of media tools has digitally marginalized the journalists. A basic photo camera costs a minimum of one million Uganda Shillings, while a video camera costs over two million shillings, amounts that are much higher than what rural based journalists earn from journalism. Most journalists cannot afford to buy their own gadgets like cameras, laptops, and voice recorders to aid them in collecting stories. Rural based media houses have limited gadgets that have to be shared by all the journalists. For example, West Nile Press Association has one desktop that is shared by all the journalist members who do not have personal laptops. Despite the increase in alternative cheaper smart phones on the market, some journalists revealed that they took long to own smart phones because they had to save for them for a long time, others did not own smart phones at the time of the training. Lack of access to news collecting tools is a huge obstacle to reporting on digital exclusion.

The high cost of data bundles has compelled some journalists to limit their journalism practice to reporting for radio rather than reporting for online news platforms or print that requires one to continuously file stories via email or uploading them to the news websites. Majority of the rural based media houses do not provide internet services for the employees so the journalists have to improvise by buying their own data. Daily data bundles cost between five hundred Uganda shillings to five thousand Uganda shillings while the monthly data bundles start from five thousand Uganda shillings to one hundred and fifty thousand shillings.

The transport facilitation availed to journalists enable them to cover stories closer to their media houses. They cannot travel to news sources in remote areas, or to those far from their media houses. This has further marginalized voices of the marginalized groups of people in the news. Journalists continue to prioritize voices of politicians, leaders and professionals as news sources while ignoring voices of marginalized groups of people. Hellen Onepur, a news reporter and talk show host pointed out that journalists need to go an extra mile to find rural women news sources by finding them in the gardens or in their kitchens at home.

Cultural structures that continue to marginalize women, and persons with disabilities. It was reported by some journalists that women decline to participate in news or dialogues without having permission form their husbands.

Language barrier between journalists and persons living with disability, in this case the deaf. Among the 141 journalists trained, none had knowledge nor experience with sign language. A Lira based news reporter for online news platform pointed out the need for media houses to facilitate sign language interpreters whenever journalists are interviewing deaf news sources.

Some journalists lack digital skills to operate digital tools for news gathering. Rural based journalists are lagging behind on digital skills because most trainings target urban based journalists in the central region. Some journalists are technophobic, and prefer to continue using the old technology that they are used to. It’s worse for the marginalized groups of people who have never gained exposure to devices like computers nor smart phones. Most of who are illiterate lessens their chances of digital literacy which requires possession basic reading and writing skills.

Participating journalists made recommendations of topics they would like to be trained on; more sessions on digital safety, mobile phone reporting, access to information and how to generate revenue through reporting on digital inclusion

From the journalists’ responses to the post evaluation form, it is clear that more trainings in digital inclusion and rights are needed to empower journalists to increase reporting on digital issues. This can be achieved through designing trainings to focus on specific marginalized groups of people and their digital needs. Journalists also expressed the need for digital mentorship sessions, and training of trainers from different newsrooms. WhatsApp groups were created to keep the conversation going, and to share stories on digital inclusion.


Karamoja Dialogues

As we continue with our journey to the Uganda Media Week 2021 edition, the pre media week dialogues continue also. This week we are in Moroto (Karamoja sub region) and Soroti (Teso Sub region).

Today, we held a Journalists’ training in Moroto district. News editors and reporters from Nakapiripirit, Abim and Kotido have joined us in Moroto for a training on Increasing reporting on Digitial inclusion for marginalized groups. The training is supported by the #ADRFfund under @cipesaug

Training and Dialogue wrap-up

We had successful regional dialogues – reporting on digital inclusion. 96 journalists from the 3 regions participated (Lira 40, Gulu 31, Arua 25). We believe there will be a digital revolution in news dissemination in these areas. Also note that they were from different districts as follows; Agago, Dokolo, Amolatar, Nwoya, Gulu, Lira, Arua, Nebbi, Paidha, and Moyo

Media Focus On Africa partnered with @CIPESAUG via #ADRF fund


Journalists’ training on digital inclusion

On igniting the journey to the Uganda Media Week, we commenced with regional dialogues and trainings with journalists in Arua, Gulu and Lira! We have realised that there is need to increase reporting in digital inclusion since this subject has been under reported yet it’s a very critical & a development agenda. Our aim is to ensure that journalists can see issues from a digital transformative lens. There are many stories journalists in the West Nile Region can report on digital inclusion around weaknesses & threats that we can write on like Infrastructure, Power Supply, Taxes & Regulation, Skilling across board. Digitalization of the economy benefits individuals & communities contributing to solving societal challenges, is an accelerator 2 achieving sustainable developmental goals. It’s important to ensure they’re distributed in an equally rather than being accessed by afew.

Media Focus On Africa has partnered with CIPESA  to ensure that there is more sensitization and retooling of journalists on how to report on digital inclusion

Community Dialogues on GBV in Mbarara, Uganda

Dialogues in Mbarara were successful. We’re using edutainment, media and dialogues to fight GBV against women and girls and to promote women’s rights at the grassroot levels of the most affected communities . With support from Urgent Action Fund, MFA has partnered with ICODI , a community based organization for facilitate the dialogues



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.

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Media Focus on Africa3 weeks ago
On this day, a year ago, we proudly announced Angel Mbuthia as the winner of Ms President. A true embodiment of leadership, grace, and resilience. Her journey continues to inspire us all.

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Media Focus on Africa3 weeks ago
Curious to learn about the tangible impact of our #MsPresident program? Dive into the numbers, stories, and lessons learned in our comprehensive new report. Be inspired by the change driven by women leaders!

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Insights From the Recently Concluded Community Dialogues: Over the past few months, a series of impactful community dialogues took place in various counties across Kenya including, Homabay, Kisii, Kericho, Samburu, Embu, Kajiado, and Wajir. Read on below.



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📢 Breaking the Silence! Jan Ajwang, our team leader, takes the stage at AWiM23 to discuss "Policies and strategies against gender-based violence in media organizations." Join us in the conversation as we work towards responsible reporting and a media landscape free from GBV. #AWiM23 #MediaEmpowerment #EndGBV
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Media Focus on Africa Uganda6 days ago
Empowering women starts with giving them a voice. MFA is using media to amplify the voices of female journalists, breaking the silence on gender-based violence.

#EndGBV #16DaysOfActivism
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Media Focus on Africa Uganda6 days ago
Online Gender Based violence against women means that women don't have the liberty to enjoy the benefits of the internet. As a media house, journalist, editor, - what are you doing t make online spaces safe for women in Media?
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Media Focus on Africa Uganda3 weeks ago
🎉 Celebrating 5 Years of Media Brilliance at Uganda Media Week! 🎉
As the curtains fall on the 5th edition of Uganda Media Week, it's not just an event's culmination but a reflection on an incredible five-year journey of shaping the media landscape. From its humble inception to the resounding success of this year's conference, Uganda Media Week has evolved into a powerhouse of knowledge, collaboration, and innovation.

🌟 A Journey of Excellence: Five years ago (In 2019), we embarked on a mission – to create a platform where media professionals, thought leaders and enthusiasts could converge, share insights, and chart the course for the future of journalism. What unfolded exceeded our wildest expectations. Each edition has been a unique tapestry of conversations, learnings, and collaborations that have pushed the boundaries of media excellence.

🙏 Gratitude to All Contributors: To the speakers who've graced our stages, your wisdom has been the guiding light illuminating the path of our discussions. To the attendees, your enthusiasm and engagement have breathed life into every session. A heartfelt thank you to our sponsors and partners whose unwavering support has been the bedrock of our success.

🚀 Looking Back, Looking Forward: As we celebrate the past, we also cast our eyes forward. The next five years hold immense promise and potential. We're committed to furthering our impact, pushing the boundaries of media, journalism and innovation, and elevating the voices that matter. The future of journalism is an open narrative, waiting to be written, and we're excited to script it together.

🎤 Join the Movement: Uganda Media Week is not just an event; it's a movement, a community of passionate individuals united by a common purpose – to redefine the narrative of media. As we embark on the journey ahead, we invite you to be a part of this exciting chapter. Your voice, your insights, and your stories are integral to the ongoing evolution of media excellence.

🥂 Here's to Five Years of Media Excellence, and to Many More! 🌐 #journalism #MediaMattersUG #UgandaMediaWeek
Media Focus on Africa Uganda
Media Focus on Africa Uganda3 weeks ago
Reflecting on the success of Uganda Media Week 2023 fills us with immense gratitude. Our exceptional speakers, engaged participants, and dedicated sponsors have collectively elevated the discourse on media excellence. I extend my heartfelt thanks to each person who contributed to this transformative event. Your passion and commitment have set a new standard for what's achievable in the realm of media. Let's continue to push boundaries and shape the future of journalism together. #MediaMattersUG

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Media Focus on Africa Uganda4 weeks ago
⏳ Time's ticking! Its tommorow!🌟
Media houses, schools, #media owners, public servants and other key stakeholders in the media will be in one place -discussing "Public Interest, Ai & the Future of Journalism" at the #UgandaMediaWeek2023 conference.

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