Kushiriki Project

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the role of youth in shaping political discourse and electoral processes is more critical than ever. Recognizing this imperative, Media Focus on Africa (MFA), in partnership with Impact Unified AB and the Public Policy Institute (PPI), embarked on an innovative initiative known as the Kushiriki Project. As the project concludes, it’s time to reflect on its impact in empowering Uganda’s youth for meaningful engagement in the electoral process.

Kushiriki, Swahili for “to participate,” was born out of the collective vision to reignite the interest of young people in participation and electoral processes. With Uganda’s 2026 general elections on the horizon, the project aimed to enhance the capacity of youth civil society organizations to provide civic information, engage youth through mobile applications, social media, and websites, and conduct training and dialogues on electoral processes.

Ms. Ruth Nagudi, the Projects’ Manager, emphasized the significance of involving the youth in shaping the nation’s political landscape. “More than 75% of Uganda’s population is under 35 years, making them a crucial entity of voters in any election,” she stated.

The Kushiriki Project sought to create a conducive electoral environment that upholds issue-based campaigns for free and fair electoral practices in Uganda. Ms. Evangilistar Nyiramahoro, the Programs Officer at PPI, highlighted the project’s goal to reignite youth civil society interest in engaging in the electoral process.

The collaborative endeavor involved Impact Unified, Media Focus on Africa Uganda, and the Public Policy Institute. The campaign targeted young people across the country, providing digital platforms as safe spaces for political discussions and debates. Trainings and dialogues were held in Central (Kampala, Wakiso, and Mukono), Eastern (Jinja), Western (Hoima), and West Nile (Arua).

The Kushiriki Dialogues, organized by Media Focus on Africa convened in Hoima on February 22nd and in Arua on February 23rd, 2024. These dialogues served as pivotal moments for youth empowerment, focusing on media literacy, civic engagement, and advocacy skills. By providing a platform for interactive learning and practical application, the dialogues aimed to equip youth with the tools and knowledge needed to engage effectively in their communities.


PROJECT ACTIVITIES

  • Content Development
  • App Design
  • Inception Meeting
  • Dialogues and Workshops

Inception Meeting

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) recently hosted a groundbreaking inception meeting on 6th September via Google Meet, marking the beginning of an ambitious media literacy initiative aimed at empowering Uganda’s youth, The Kushiriki project. The meeting gathered a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from organizations such as the African Youth Development Link (AYDL) and Sensitize Uganda, all passionate about youth development and media engagement.

Introductions revealed a wealth of expertise and dedication among the attendees, ranging from youth advocacy to electoral governance.

Wayombo Ema, representing Sequence Domain Solutions, expressed enthusiasm for learning about MFA’s initiatives, setting a tone of anticipation for the discussions ahead. Crispin Mutehimbwa, Executive Director of Sensitize Uganda, highlighted the organization’s focus on electoral governance and civic education, reinforcing the meeting’s relevance to pressing societal issues.

Key insights emerged as participants shared their organizational mandates and roles, underscoring the collective commitment to empowering Uganda’s youth. Ivan from the African Youth Involvement Link emphasized the importance of placing young people in decision-making spheres, aligning with the initiative’s goal of fostering youth participation in governance.

Onzima Rasul highlighted the mandate of Mayank Anti-Corruption Coalition, emphasizing the multifaceted approach to addressing societal challenges. The presence of esteemed leaders like Jan Ajwang further enriched the discussion, setting a collaborative tone for the meeting.

Ruth Nagudi, representing MFA, provided an overview of the organization’s mission to stimulate social change through media, outlining the objectives of the Kusiriki project. This innovative initiative aims to empower youth civil society organizations, promote civic information, and increase youth participation in elections.

Dr. Peter Kisakye, from the Public Policy Institute (PPI), elaborated on PPI’s role in fostering public policy research and engagement. Together with MFA, PPI received support from the Swedish Institute to convene dialogues on elections and governance ahead of the 2026 general elections in Uganda.

The meeting concluded with a clear roadmap for collaboration, emphasizing the importance of leveraging new media tools such as TikTok and Twitter to engage young people effectively. Training of trainers and interactive dialogues emerged as key strategies to strengthen civic competence and political accountability among Uganda’s youth.

Generally, the inception meeting served as a catalyst for collective action, uniting stakeholders in their commitment to empower Uganda’s youth through media literacy and civic engagement. As the initiative progresses, it holds the promise of shaping a future where informed and empowered youth actively contribute to the nation’s development and democratic processes.

 


APP DEVELOPMENT

The Kushiriki app stands as a beacon of empowerment for Uganda’s youth, offering a comprehensive platform for meaningful civic engagement and informed participation in the democratic process. Developed by Impact Unified AB in collaboration with partner organizations and supported by the Swedish Institute, the Kusiriki app represents a cutting-edge tool designed to bridge the gap between young citizens and essential electoral information.

At its core, Kushiriki embodies the Swahili concept of “Participation” or “sharing,” reflecting its mission to unite youth civil society organizations and engage young people in promoting a conducive electoral environment. Through intuitive design and user-friendly features, the app serves as a one-stop destination for accessing critical information on elections, governance, and political processes.

Key features of the Kusiriki app include:

  1. Comprehensive Electoral Resources: Users can access up-to-date information on electoral procedures, candidate profiles, manifestos, and voting guidelines, empowering them to make informed decisions during elections.
  2. Fact-Checking Tools: In an era of misinformation and disinformation, the app provides fact-checking resources to help users discern truth from falsehoods, promoting transparency and accountability in public discourse.
  3. Youth-Centric Content: Recognizing the importance of tailored content for young audiences, the app delivers engaging multimedia content, including videos, infographics, and interactive quizzes, to educate and inspire youth participation.
  4. Community Dialogues: Facilitating dialogue and collaboration, the app serves as a platform for organizing virtual and physical dialogues on elections and governance, fostering inclusive participation and civic engagement among diverse youth groups.

It is the Ugandan Election 2026 App. We are thrilled to introduce a groundbreaking platform that serves as a gateway to the general Ugandan election in 2026. Our app not only aims to educate users about democracy and service delivery but also tackles the critical issue of misinformation through an engaging game. Let’s delve deeper into the features and benefits of this innovative application.

The Ugandan Election 2026 App is designed to be an educational resource, providing users with a wealth of knowledge about elections.

Download the app via the following links:

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/se/app/kushiriki/id6447473663?l=en-GB

Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ImpactUnified.Kushiriki

As Uganda prepares for the upcoming 2026 general elections, the Kusiriki app emerges as a powerful tool for empowering young citizens to become informed, engaged, and active participants in shaping the future of their nation. By leveraging the potential of technology and media, Kusiriki embodies a vision of democratic renewal and youth empowerment, paving the way for a more vibrant and inclusive democracy in Uganda.

Screenshots of the App

 


Hoima Dialogue Highlights:

Hosted at NAVODA (Navigators of Development Association), the Hoima dialogue drew together 30 enthusiastic participants from diverse youth organizations. The training agenda covered multifaceted topics, including the fundamental role of media in society, harnessing social media for advocacy, mechanisms for holding power to account, and strategies for combatting disinformation. Through a blend of informative lectures, engaging role-plays, and collaborative group discussions, participants were actively involved in exploring the nuances of media usage. Notably, discussions revealed that many participants were predominantly using media for entertainment rather than leveraging its potential for advocacy or accountability purposes. Consequently, the training pivoted towards empowering participants to embrace their roles as citizen journalists while upholding ethical journalistic standards such as accuracy, fairness, and transparency. Group activities encouraged participants to identify pressing community issues, select leaders for accountability, and strategize effective media channels for advocacy campaigns.

https://www.facebook.com/2072676282803258

Hoima Pictorial


 

Arua Dialogue Highlights:

Took place at the social center opposite the Inspector General of Government’s office in Arua City, the dialogue attracted a diverse cohort of 30 participants, including journalists and representatives from youth organizations. Mirroring the content of the Hoima dialogue, the training in Arua emphasized the strategic utilization of media for advocacy purposes. Many participants, particularly those from grassroots youth organizations, expressed initial apprehension about utilizing social media platforms for organizational communication and advocacy. However, their receptiveness to learning journalistic tools and effective communication strategies underscored the transformative potential of the training.

Key Outcomes:

  1. Heightened Awareness:

Participants developed a deeper appreciation for the pivotal role of media in shaping public discourse and driving social change.

  1. Empowerment:

Youth emerged from the dialogues with newfound confidence and skills to leverage media platforms for advocacy, accountability, and community engagement.

  1. Skill Enhancement:

Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, participants honed practical skills in citizen journalism, media advocacy, and the discernment of disinformation.

  1. Positive Feedback:

Post-training evaluations illuminated a notable shift in participants’ attitudes towards media usage, with many expressing eagerness to harness its potential for positive impact in their communities.

The Kushiriki Dialogues in Hoima and Arua epitomized the power of collaborative learning and grassroots engagement in fostering media literacy and civic empowerment among youth. By equipping participants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate the media landscape effectively, these dialogues have laid a foundation for sustained advocacy, accountability, and social change in Uganda.

Arua Pictorial for the dialogues


Jinja Dialogue Highlights.

The dialogue aimed at enhancing media literacy, combating disinformation, and promoting civic engagement among Uganda’s youth. The initiative sought to equip young professionals and media practitioners with essential skills and knowledge on media, governance, accountability, and service delivery.

The dialogue commenced with a briefing session involving MFA, project partners, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) representatives. Participants, drawn from various communities in Jinja and Iganga, engaged in a day-long training session covering diverse topics.

Key activities included:

  1. Briefing Session: MFA convened the first meeting with project partners and CBOs representatives, setting the stage for collaboration.
  2. Training: Participants underwent intensive training on media programs for social change, understanding the role of media, citizen journalism, media advocacy, ethics, and combating disinformation.
  3. Group Discussions: Interactive sessions allowed participants to delve into community issues, simulate press conferences, and explore avenues for media advocacy.
  4. Introduction to the Kushiriki App: The project team introduced the Kushiriki App, emphasizing its role in fostering youth participation and engagement through technology.

The training culminated in a comprehensive evaluation, gauging participants’ understanding of media-related concepts before and after the session. Feedback from attendees underscored the significance of the dialogue in enhancing their knowledge and skills.

The pre-and post-evaluation results revealed a significant improvement in participants’ awareness of media’s role in development, digital media utilization for social change, advocacy techniques, and understanding of disinformation’s impact on society.

Participants expressed satisfaction with the training, highlighting newfound insights into media advocacy, community engagement, and interview skills. Many pledged to leverage their enhanced knowledge to drive positive change in their communities.

Overall, the Jinja dialogue proved instrumental in equipping youth with the tools and understanding needed to navigate media landscapes effectively, advocate for societal issues, and contribute meaningfully to democratic processes.

Jinja Pictorial for Dialogues


GENERAL CONCLUSION

Through collaborative efforts and targeted interventions, initiatives like the Kushiriki Project continue to empower Uganda’s youth, fostering informed citizenship and active participation in governance and social development initiatives.

Utilizing new media platforms, including a dedicated mobile app, an interactive website, and various social media channels, the Kushiriki Project delivered precise and trustworthy information about Uganda’s elections. It fostered spaces for informed virtual dialogues, facilitating engagement among youth and civil society actors.

As we conclude the Kushiriki Project, we celebrate its impact in empowering Uganda’s youth for electoral engagement. Through innovative approaches and collaborative efforts, we have taken significant strides towards creating a more inclusive and participatory electoral process.

For additional information about the Kushiriki Project, please visit our website at www.mediafocusonafrica.org or contact Ruth at ruth@mediafocusonafrica.org or +256 782 081 922.

 

Empowering Communities: 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. These dialogues, conducted by Media Focus on Africa in conjunction with partner organisations and in collaboration with local communities, aimed to address critical issues such as the empowerment of women, environment and climate change, period poverty, women’s leadership, and inclusivity in public policy. They sought to bring both men and women in discussion of these key topics. 

Our partner organisations included Inuka Community Developers Network in Homabay, A Million Hugs in Kisii, The Barrier Breakers in Kericho, Network Empowering Samburu Transformation in Samburu, Stitch In Time My Africa Projects in Embu, A Pack A Month in Kajiado, and Arid Lands Development Focus in Wajir County. Their contribution was paramount to the success of the community dialogues. 

During the community dialogues, participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions that shed light on the challenges faced by women, particularly in relation to period poverty. These dialogues revealed the severity of the situation and the lengths women would go to in order to access menstrual hygiene products, including resorting to sexual acts. In a session in Kisii, Mr. James Matundura, Chairperson of the Gusii Council of Elders, shared his revelation, stating, “In my 70 years of living, I have never sat down in a meeting with men and women to discuss menstruation. As a community, we have always viewed this as a women’s issue. This is progress.” This poignant statement underscores the importance of continuing the discussion on menstrual health at the grassroots level.

The dialogues aimed to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and advocate for affordable menstrual products to ensure every woman’s dignity and well-being. By breaking down barriers related to menstrual health, the dialogues contributed to the empowerment of women, and to promoting gender equity.

James Matundura, Chairperson- Gusii Council of Elders 

In discussion on inclusivity in public policy, there was consensus on the importance of fostering women’s active involvement in governance and local development initiatives, ensuring that their voices are heard in matters of public interest. Through these discussions, it became evident that advocating for inclusivity and gender responsive policies is vital for creating a more equitable society. In order to achieve this, it is essential to have more women in leadership positions. The community dialogues also focused on identifying and addressing the barriers that women face in their pursuit of leadership roles, such as safety concerns, financial limitations, societal norms, and structural obstacles. Despite these challenges, women were encouraged and inspired to run for political and other leadership positions within their communities. A key outcome of a community dialogue in Samburu County was the recognition that “empowering women to actively participate in decision-making isn’t just a matter of equality; it’s an investment in a brighter, more inclusive future for all”.

Samburu County 

Empowering women was the central focus of the community dialogues. Understanding the challenges faced by women was identified as a crucial step towards empowerment. Throughout the dialogues, participants engaged in discussions about these challenges, some of which included limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Additionally, participants recognized the impact of community and societal structures in perpetuating these limitations. The inclusion of both men and women in these dialogues created a platform for collective action and allowed for the exploration of strategies to address these issues effectively, leading to a more positive and equitable society.

The community dialogues also facilitated discussions on environmental issues, with a particular focus on climate change. Participants explored ways in which women can contribute to creating greener and more sustainable communities. Various perspectives were shared regarding the necessary changes that could be implemented within their respective communities. Additionally, there was a strong emphasis on empowering women through capacity building initiatives, enabling them to take on leadership roles and have a greater influence in shaping policies and decisions related to climate change. A notable example can be seen in Embu County, where participants at the Climate Change Dialogue unanimously agreed that by reducing harmful activities and empowering women to lead and advocate for environmentally sustainable practices, they could effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change.

 

Embu County- Climate Change Dialogue

The series of community dialogues held across various counties in Kenya successfully fostered open conversations on women’s empowerment, leadership, and their contributions to society. By bringing together both men and women, these dialogues provided a platform to collectively address crucial issues such as climate change, economic empowerment, period poverty, and inclusivity in public policy. The outcomes of these dialogues include increased awareness, improved understanding, and a commitment towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society. It is through continued dialogue and collaborative efforts that sustainable change can be achieved. 

 

“We will get there one step at a time…”

-Angel Mbuthia

Ms President 2022

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

Unleashing the Power of Women in Kenyan Politics: Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini

 

In a society where women’s voices are often marginalised in political decision-making, Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini (Filamu Dada) emerges as a groundbreaking initiative aimed at increasing the participation of women in political leadership in Kenya. This short documentary film project, a part of the TV Series Ms President, showcases the stories of seven remarkable Kenyan female leaders, while also empowering female filmmakers in the country. With its powerful narratives and captivating visuals, Filamu Dada is set to inspire change and encourage a more inclusive political landscape in Kenya. 

Filamu Dada brings to the forefront the accomplishments and challenges faced by women leaders in Kenya. Through the lens of seven competitively selected teams of female filmmakers, the project delves into the lives of these extraordinary women who have shattered glass ceilings and made their mark in politics. From Members of Parliament to Governors and Woman Representatives, each film offers a unique perspective on the journey of a female leader.

The Filmmaker Teams:

Each team was assigned to follow and document the journey of a specific Kenyan female leader.

  1. DONYA: Voice of The People – Donya Dorice Aburi (MP): Kisii

Filmmakers: Irene Mukonyoro & Debra Ngeru

  1. Cheptikonyool – Cynthia Muge Rotich (MP): Nandi

Filmmakers: Miriam Koske & Cherotich Kibet

  1. GENOWA – Gladys Wanga (Governor): Homabay

Filmmakers: Sandra Ruong’o & Wendy Kirorei

  1. Etomononi Nagol – Caroline Ncharo – Kajiado (Asst. Chief)

Filmmakers: Cynthia Abdallah & Ivy Kagai/S. Imisa

  1. The Nomads Daughter – Mumina Gollo Bonaya – (Woman Rep): Isiolo

Filmmakers: Gumato Denge & Aisha Hussein

  1. Ma-itu – Sabina Chege (Nominated MP) – Muranga

Filmmakers: Sally Ngoiri & Joan Rispa Kiragu

  1. The Force Within – Cecily Mbarire (Governor): Embu

Filmmakers: Ashley Murugi & Joan Kabugu

Beyond documenting the stories of women leaders, Filamu Dada also aims to enhance the capacity of female filmmakers in the country. Led by Docubox-EADFF, the project provides a comprehensive story and production workshop, ensuring that the filmmakers are equipped with the necessary skills to bring these powerful narratives to life. The mentorship and training provided by experienced professionals like Zippy Kimundu, Lydia Matata, and Franki Ashiruka foster a supportive environment for growth and development.

At the core of Filamu Dada lies the Female Directors in Film Lab, an initiative initiated and supervised by Dutch filmmaker Fleur van Dissel and Media Focus on Africa. This lab serves as a platform for female filmmakers to collaborate, learn, and exchange ideas. By nurturing their talent and providing them with the necessary resources, the lab aims to create a more inclusive and vibrant film industry in Kenya, where women can thrive and make their voices heard.

Filamu Dada is more than a film project; it is a catalyst for change. By showcasing the experiences of women leaders and empowering female filmmakers, it aims to challenge societal norms and inspire future generations of women to actively participate in political leadership. 

The much-anticipated premiere of Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini took place on Thursday evening, 5th October 2023, at The National Museum, Louis Leakey Auditorium. This event was a celebration of women’s achievements, resilience, and determination. Attendees had the opportunity to witness the powerful stories portrayed on screen and engage with the women leaders, filmmakers and producers who brought them to life. The chief guest, Embu County Governor, Cecily Mbarire noted, “we need to give our story as women. We have His story, but we need Her story.”

To celebrate the filmmakers and women leaders, the event was graced by dignitaries including the Nairobi County Woman Representative, Hon. Esther Passaris, the CEO of National Land Commision, Ms. Kabale Tache, the Head of Public Service, Hon. Felix Koskei, the Commissioner of KNCHR Hon. Sarah Bonaya. Additionally, the UN Women in Kenya Representative, Anna Mutavati, Janine Cocker representing the High Commission in Kenya, among other dignitaries were present at the premier. Their much appreciated support is paramount in encouraging young women to become involved in leadership and politics.

WE ARE HIRING: Media Consultant

MEDIA CONSULTANT TERMS OF REFERENCE

Media Focus on Africa invites applications from eligible media consultants to develop an E-based manual/guide for gender sensitive reporting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) targeted at women in politics. This is part of the larger Ms President project aimed at increasing the participation and media coverage of female leaders in elective politics in Kenya.

The Organisation

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2006. It represents a long-standing and unique International, African and East African knowledge base and expertise of the media industry and the political environment in which it operates.

Since 2006 MFA has in close collaboration with CSO/CBO organizations and the media implemented some ground breaking multi media campaigns on leadership and good governance; free and fair elections and peace building and reconciliation among others.

Background
What is Ms. President?
Ms President is an entertaining, educating, and thought-provoking Reality TV show that seeks to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. The objective of Ms President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country. Learn more about Season 1 here.

Why is Ms President important?

Kenya’s constitution provides for equality in representation between men and women. However, in political leadership, women are significantly underrepresented. For instance, following the 2022 election, female MPs (82) make up only 23.5% of the National Assembly, 31% of the Senate (21), 14% of the Governors (7) and 8% (115) of elected Members of County Assembly.

SGBV targeting Women in Politics
Kenya’s electoral processes precipitate politically motivated violence. The threat or the use of violence, including sexual violence, intimidates female candidates in political processes and forms a major deterrent to equal participation. Universally, the increase in women’s political representation has been accompanied by a rise in Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWP) . For instance, in 2008, the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence reported 900 cases of sexual violence between 2007 and 2008 . In 2017, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHRC) recorded 2011 sexual offences cases during the 2017 electoral violence. It further documented that 96.26% of victims of violence were female and 3.74% were male . While the internet and social media are useful tools for campaigning, they have become platforms for misogynistic threats and harassment to deter women from leadership. The viral nature of the distribution afforded by social media aggravates the threat .

Summary of Position
The Media consultant will support Media Focus on Africa to develop an E based manual for gender sensitive reporting on VAWP.

Key Deliverables
E based manual for gender sensitive reporting on VAWP for use by journalists, editors, media practitioners and stakeholders, Women’s Rights Organizations, Human Rights and Gender activists and Civil Society Organizations.

Duration of Consultancy
This will be agreed on with the Consultant once he/she is selected.

Logistical Support
Media Focus on Africa will provide preparatory and logistical assistance to the consultant as and when necessary.

Minimum Qualifications
Minimum of 7 years’ experience of relevant work e.g., developing reporting manuals and/or training for journalists and media practitioners.
Familiarity with contemporary media reporting and consumption trends straddling television, radio, newspaper and social/digital media.
Experience in and deep understanding of gender and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) including VAWP. Professional writing on this is an added advantage.
Minimum of a Master’s Degree in media and journalism studies or any other relevant fields.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Application Process
Interested candidates should submit their expression of interest, CV, evidence of previous work, expected compensation and references via email to harrison@mediafocusonafrica.org by close of day on 10th August 2023.

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted.

 

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.

Quotes

“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.

Overview:

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.
  4. From Kajumba Gorret: CONTENT DEVELOPMENT IS THE BEST THING BUT NEEDS TIME AS IT IS A PROCESS.
  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.

Impact

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

International Press Freedom Day: Celebrating the Freedom to Inform and Be Informed

Every year on May 3rd, we celebrate International Press Freedom Day, an occasion that highlights the importance of freedom of expression and the role of journalists in promoting democracy, transparency, and accountability. This year’s theme is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights” emphasizing the fact that freedom of expression enables the enjoyment and the protection of all other human rights.

The theme resonates with Media Focus on Africa’s (MFA) mission to stimulate social change through the media. For over two decades, MFA has been working with journalists, media organizations and civil society groups across East Africa to enhance media professionalism, increase access to information and amplify the voices of marginalized communities through various innovative TV and Radio projects.

MFA recognizes that the media is a critical tool for shaping public opinion, influencing policy decisions, and holding those in power accountable. However, the media’s effectiveness is only possible when journalists can operate freely and without fear of censorship, intimidation and or harassment.

In many parts of Africa, journalists face significant challenges in their work. They are often subjected to physical attacks, legal harassments and financial constraints that limit their ability to investigate, report and disseminate information. This has a chilling effect on freedom of expression and undermines the public’s right to know.

MFA works to support and enable freedom of expression and freedom of the media by providing training and capacity building journalists and convening media stakeholders’ roundtables for conversations and dialogue on the most pressing freedom of expression and freedom of media challenges. Through our programs, we equip journalists with the skills and knowledge they need to produce high-quality and informative content that serves the public interest.

As we celebrate International Press Freedom Day, MFA reiterates its commitment to promoting media freedom, pluralism and professionalism across East Africa. We recognize that freedom of expression is a catalyst for the enjoyment of all other human rights and that journalists and media are an essential cog in safeguarding our freedom of expression. This year’s celebrations comes against the backdrop of fighting in the Sudan and opposition protests in Kenya.

“Access to reliable official information is of critical importance during times of crisis. Trustworthy news and images may help protect civilians and contribute to diffusing tensions. Journalists are often the source of this information, but many times they’re also the target of the parties in a crisis, e.g., the recent attacks on journalists covering the opposition called demonstrations in Nairobi in March. Press freedom and freedom of expression demands that journalists’ safety be guaranteed by state and non-state actors alike at all times and especially during times of crisis such as now” Harrison Manga, country Director at MFA Says.

We call on governments, media stakeholders and civil society organizations to support and protect journalists’ work and promote a free, independent, and vibrant media landscape in Africa. This is the only way to safeguard freedom of expression and catalyze the enjoyment of all human rights by all.

Media Monitoring Report Launch: Advancing Gender Equality in Political News Coverage

Wamunyu, W. & Maleche, H. Gender and Media in Kenya speaks at the launch of the media monitoring event held at Jacaranda Hotel in Westland on April 28 2023.

A recent media monitoring report launched by Wambui Wamunyu reveals a significant gender gap in political news coverage, with women being underrepresented as political news sources, content producers, and analysts. The report highlights the need for more diverse and inclusive media coverage and provides recommendations for achieving gender equality in politics.

The media monitoring report launch event, which took place on April 28, was attended by esteemed guests, including media representatives, politicians, civil society activists, and gender equality advocates. The report, which analyzed media coverage of political news over the past Kenya general elections, revealed that women are vastly underrepresented in political news coverage.

According to the report, about 40% of political news sources were women, and female experts and analysts were also underrepresented. Additionally, the report found that women’s perspectives were often marginalized, with their voices and opinions not given equal weight as those of their male counterparts.

In light of these findings, the report provides recommendations for improving gender equality in political news coverage. The first recommendation is for editorial decision-making to include deliberate efforts to involve both genders as political news sources, content producers, and analysts. This can enhance coverage by recognizing diverse perspectives and spaces.

Another critical recommendation is a review of campaign finance structures and mechanisms to enable equal opportunity for both genders in funding their electoral campaigns. This includes policies related to the financial support political parties provide to candidates and expenditure limits on electoral races.

During the launch event, the speakers emphasized the need for collaboration between media organizations, civil society groups, and political stakeholders to implement these recommendations effectively. Achieving gender equality in political news coverage requires a collective effort from all players involved.

Read the full report below.

General in Elections 2022G1

FOR INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY TO LEAD US TO GENDER EQUALITY, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE REMAIN “ANALOGUE”

This year’s International Women’s Day is marked under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality. Innovation and technology or digital transformation provides new avenues (leapfrog opportunities) for the economic transformation of women. The internet, mobile phones and digital financial services gives women the possibility to earn additional income, increase their employment opportunities and access knowledge and general information.

However, hurdles to access and affordability, lack of education and skills, technological illiteracy as well as inherent gender biases and negative socio-cultural norms effectively curtail women’s and girls’ ability to benefit from opportunities offered by the digital transformation.

According to a 2018 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Bridging the Digital Gender Divide, 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and can access the internet. According to the report in Africa, women are 34% less likely than men to own a smartphone. In Kenya, the great majority who have access to the internet do so via their phones. The GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report for 2019 found that Kenyan women are 23% less likely than men to own a smartphone and 39% less likely than men to access the internet. The biggest hurdle to women’s ownership of smartphones in Kenya is affordability of the handsets. The cheapest smartphone handset in Kenya retails for about 5000KES or 40USD. This is out of reach of many women. Women headed households account for 30% of households living below the monetary poverty line compared to 26 percent of those headed by men according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2018 Economic Survey. The relatively higher incidence of poverty among women compared to men is underpinned by socio-cultural norms governing gender roles, ownership of and control over familial property etc.

Fewer girls than boys are enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning. Female students made up 40% of all the students enrolled in Universities compared to 60% male students during the 2020/21 academic year according to statistics from statista.com. Further, girl’s enrollment in disciplines relevant to the digital transformation (ICT & STEM subjects) is lower than that of boys. The World Bank estimates that only 30% of ICT graduates in Eastern and Southern Africa are Women. This boils over to the underrepresentation of women in technology design and governance. Negative socio-cultural norms surrounding education of girls versus boys as well as gender roles in society contribute to this situation.

Women on average spend 2.6 more time than men on unpaid care and domestic work according to the OECD 2018 report. This restricts the time they can spend in paid work or to upskill themselves using online tutorial videos and freely available information.

While digital transformation offer “leapfrog” opportunities for the empowerment of women, this will only succeed if the “analogue” work of actions that raise awareness, challenge gender stereotypes and negative socio-cultural norms, attitudes and behaviours and enabling greater female political participation and representation continues full speed. It is the case that for digital transformation to yield for us gender equality, it is imperative that we remain “analogue”

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