The West African Journalists Association (WAJA), in May 2014 launched a three year gender sensitive reporting project titled ‘Women Reporting Women’. The project which will end in December 2016 will target 32 journalists, mainly women to be trained as trainers on gender sensitive reporting and a further four hundred and eighty (480) journalists to be trained in the fifteen ECOWAS member states and Mauritania.
The project kicks off with a two week pilot phase training of trainers programme for women journalists from The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The pilot programme which holds in Bamako, Mali from July 2 to 13, 2014 will bring together 10 participants from these countries.
WAJA, through its Capacity Building Project in Bamako, Mali runs an initiative aimed at enhancing the capacities of journalists in West Africa by providing in-depth knowledge and skills on thematic areas such as poverty, democratic governance, investigative journalism, security of journalists and human rights reporting.
The project aims at offering the skills and knowledge to those who are at the frontline in reporting women but who are not necessarily equipped with the right tools to give a fresh, insightful perspective into subjects such as domestic violence, rape, inheritance, divorce, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, lack of access to education and health and reproductive rights, and women and the economy.
According to WAJA, a major drawback in gender reporting is that there are only a few women journalists—and even fewer men—who can give a fresh, insightful perspective into issues that concern women. For the most part, TV and radio contents on women focus on beauty, fashion, food and household programs.
The Women Reporting Women training of trainer sessions will offer women and men journalists interested in women’s affairs and gender issues a unique environment to learn about and apply gender related instruments and gender sensitive approaches in their day to day reporting; it is also an opportunity to offer step down training.
Participants selected to continue as trainers will receive training manuals, supervision and modest support to carry out in country activities.
The training, supported by the Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be conducted by L’Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme des Métiers de l’Internet et de la Communication, (E-jicom).
Peter Quaqua, newly elected president of WAJA said “gender sensitive reporting is critical to addressing the many inequalities that exist in our societies. It is our hope that in providing the much needed skills and tools to improve the capacity of women journalists, they will be adequately equipped to analytically report women issues. ”
While expressing appreciation to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the NJ for its support, the WAJA President urged journalists to make the most of this and other available opportunities to elevate their talent.
“Media tend to forget that half of the world’s population consists of women,” says Eva Stabell, NJ’s project manager. She added that, “Stories about women’s rights, their struggles, their opinions and their dreams should be a natural part of every country’s media coverage – in West Africa as in all other parts of the world. We have high expectations that this training will make women more visible.”
At the end of the pilot phase training workshop, participants will receive certificates from L’EcoleSupérieure de Journalisme des Métiers de l’Internet et de la Communication, (E-jicom) which will conduct the training.