31.01.2018 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Mainstreaming Gender in Rwanda Media Houses through empowerment of female journalists

Female journalists participating at the training @UNESCO

The Rwanda Female Journalists association, with support of UNESCO and the Government of Sweden conducted a training of 70 female journalists, with a view to empowering the female journalists through a series of capacity building interventions

The Rwanda Female Journalists association (ARFEM) with support from UNESCO and the Government of Sweden successfully conducted a training of 70 female journalists, with a view to empowering the female journalists through a series of capacity building interventions.

The training that was conducted by the Rwanda Media Commission is part of the ongoing interventions by Rwanda media organisations and UNESCO, aimed at supporting the mainstreaming of gender in Rwandan media houses. This intervention is also in partnership with the Rwanda Governance Board, The Embassy of Sweden in Rwanda, the Media High Council, Rwanda Women in Media Platform and the Association of Rwanda Journalists.

This training took place from 18 to 19 January 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda and covered constitutional protection, media laws, threats to female journalists, Rwanda Journalists and media practitioners code of ethics, principles of professionalism, philosophy and practices of an advanced independent press, gender sensitive reporting, while making reference to examples from the journalists cases handled by the Rwanda Media Commission. “This training was a great opportunity for me because I learnt how to cover the victim of rape and the principle of presumption of innocence was somehow new item to me and I think what I learnt will affect positively my work”, said Rachel Mukandayisenga, a freelance female journalist who attended the training.

Speaking at the opening, Mr. Mbanda, Head of Media Affairs and Communication at Rwanda Governance Board, reiterated the Government of Rwanda commitment to supporting the media in general but more specifically the female journalists. “Rwanda is committed to promote equality in all sectors, media included, and give priority to female journalists’ development,” said Mbanda.

Representing the Embassy of Sweden in Rwanda, Mr. Kirenga, Programmes Manager informed the participants that supporting gender promotion is one of the key priorities of the Swedish government. He stressed that empowering the media to promote gender equality is paramount, given the important role of the women in media in any society. He further encouraged the trainees to keep learning, for their professional development and to be more gender sensitive in their daily journalistic work.

Some of the recommendations adopted during this training included creation of a media platform to serve as a mechanism to inform and educate against Gender Based Violence and to be coordinate by ARFEM. The participants also requested a gender audit to assess if the 30% representation provided for by the constitution, is respected in the media outlets. They also recommended the assessment of representation of women in decisions making position, in all media outlet to enable voices of female journalists and advocacy of their specific rights.

Speaking during the closing session, Mr Wallet, the UNESCO Programme Coordinator in Rwanda emphasized on the need for the participants to put into practice what they learnt. The Chairperson of ARFEM Ms. Ingabire commended UNESCO and SIDA for the generous support given to ARFEM to empower female journalists. She said that the series of training is playing a vital role in the female journalists’ professional engagements and advancement in their career.

The Rwanda Female Journalists association, Agence Rwandaise de femmes de Media (ARFEM) was established following the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action that called for more gender sensitive in the media and self-regulatory mechanisms to eliminate gender biased programming. ARFEM has the vision of ensuring balanced media coverage of women’s issues by training journalists of gender sensitive reporting as well as fostering the understanding of issues affecting women through media.

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