MS PRESIDENT: SEASON 2

After successfully producing and airing Ms President Season 1, Media Focus on Africa launched a bigger and better Season 2. The second season had 20 episodes series and was aired on both television and 5 local radio stations to ensure maximum reach and engagement with the community.

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? 

Women are usually not found in leadership positions. In many of our communities in Kenya, they are not generally perceived to have the skills, knowledge, or social status needed to bring about meaningful change.

Kenya’s constitution provides for equality in representation between men and women. However, in political leadership, women are significantly underrepresented. Following the 2017 election, female MPs make up only 22% of the National Assembly, 31% of the Senate and only 6% of the Governors.

Ms President Season 2 has contributed to Enhancing Women’s Participation in Political Leadership and Decision Making in Kenya via a multi-media program complemented with community dialogue and capacity strengthening for key stakeholder groups. Coming in the backdrop of the 2022 election made Ms President Season 2 relevant and timely. Through the TV series, Ms President 1 introduced to the national audience young, fresh, intelligent and ‘presidential’ women from across the country many of these women have thrown their hats into the ring and are seeking various elective seats during the 2022 general election. Others have been appointed into senior public service positions e.g. CAS Nadia Abdalla of the Ministry of ICT and Youth.

Just like with Ms President Season 1, the centrepiece of Season 2 was the reality TV series. Ms President 2 that introduced to the national audience another crop of intelligent, articulate and ‘presidential’ women from diverse backgrounds with an eye on the 2027 general election and for appointment to senior public service positions.

The Impact of Season 1 and 2

Ms President Season 1 and 2 have had a significant impact on the political participation of women in Kenya. The show has encouraged young women to take an interest in politics and consider leadership positions as a viable career path. It has also promoted the importance of gender equality and women’s rights, challenging the traditional patriarchal system that dominates politics in Kenya.

Through the show, women from all walks of life have been given a platform to express their opinions, share their stories and showcase their leadership skills. This has not only helped to increase the visibility of women in politics but has also challenged the stereotypes and biases that have limited women’s participation in politics.

55% of the contestants reporting that the show has provided them with leadership opportunities that were previously unavailable to them. Nadia Abdalla, Mombasa County contestant, was appointed as Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of ICT and Youth, while Betty Adera, Nairobi County contestant, is now President of KANU Political Party Women Congress, a member of the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) technical team, and Patron of the Young Women’s Forum in Africa by the Africa Youth Trust. Linet Mavu, Taita Taveta contestant, was appointed by the President to the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. Additionally, many Season 1 contestants are currently running for various MP and MCA positions.

The program received endorsements from various top government officials and international dignitaries, including the President of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta. The show was even nominated for the best TV documentary/TV show/TV reality category of the 9th Edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV awards in 2019. The program was also awarded the Best Women Empowerment Initiative at the DIAR Awards 2023.

2022 WOMEN ASPIRANTS SUPPORT

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

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

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

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

 

GBV Training

Media Focus On Africa undertook a training on fighting Gender Based Violence (GBV)  in post covid19 era. Participants were from 3 radio stations and 3 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and 12-15 journalists. The training was basically online using the zoom platform. We also undertook trainings for journalists on gender sensitive reporting and Trainings for journalists to produce better content on gender issues. We trained local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) representatives on how to use media to raise awareness on Gender Based Violence (GBV)

UGANDA MEDIA WEEK 2020

The 2020 Media Dialogues lasted a period of 7 days and included open discussions on ‘Scientific General Elections – Key issues for journalists’ followed with training sessions on: ‘Fake news and disinformation in times of elections – Fact Checking and verification’ and ‘Upholding independent journalism in scientific elections – principles of effective elections reporting’ held on Monday 7th September, 2020, in Gulu district. Over 30 participants attended.

 

UGANDA MEDIA WEEK 2019

Media Focus on Africa (MFA), with support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, held a breakfast session of the Pre-Media Week Dialogues under the theme ‘Creating Mechanisms towards Self Regulation,’ which took place at Golden Tulip, Kampala. The media dialogue that was held in partnership with the Uganda Editors’ Guild, one of a series building up to Uganda Media Week that will take place later in the year.

MS PRESIDENT: SEASON 1

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.

UGANDA MEDIA ROUND-TABLES

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

Context

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.

 

ONE MINUTE PROJECT -WESTNILE

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.

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