Women in News (WIN) East and Central Africa has helped senior journalists in the African region to progress to greater levels of decision making in their respective media organisations.
Coordinator for WIN in East and Central Africa, Dr Tikhala Chibwana says WIN is currently a much sought after programme in Africa which has equipped potential women leaders get ready for leadership positions in their respective organisations.
“There are always complaints regarding women underrepresentation in management positions in the media. It is true and WIN is a programme that is working towards addressing this issue. The programme helps to shape women for leadership positions so that when opportunities arise, they are ready to take up the leadership positions,” he says.
Chibwana further points out that there has been positive feedback from employers across the continent, regarding women who have gone through the programme.
“I have personally seen women who were unable to stand in front of people and make a presentation have a complete turnaround. Once they go through this programme, the women are never the same. We are currently in the process of recruiting for the next session. I am excited about the crop that has just graduated and I am hopeful that we will get women with the same kind of dedication,” he says.
The Malawi team in the just ended WIN proramme members are Caroline Somanje, Suzgo Khunga and Sellina Kainja from Nation Publications Limited (NPL); Limbikani Kamlongera and Weziwawo Kasambala from Blantyre Newspapers Limited (BNL)).
Somanje said many times, media managers concentrate on editorial matters and neglect pertinent areas such as budgeting and finance or the overall company turn out that are equally important for effective job delivery.
“We were privileged to have learnt the need to understand our company’s budgeting, balance sheet and financial performance as part of managerial skills which the newsrooms never impart.
“We have learnt how to work with every department as one of the means to deliver and understand our various roles,” said Somanje
Khunga said: “The programme helped me tremendously in how I can shape my career going forward. I am now able to effectively and confidently contribute to the overall administration and management of my team. In the end, WIN has not only benefited me personally, but my company as well”.
The five went through thorough training and mentoring in various topics that included budgeting and finance, team leadership and management, marketing dynamics, online and print advertising, human resource for media managers and convergence.
They qualified for a Wits University certificate in media management after passing examinations designed by the programme through class and take home assignments and examinations assessed by the awarding university.
Win observes that although newsroom numbers between male and females in media houses around the southern Africa are generally equal, the ratio slants away from the relative parity as one progresses higher within the newsroom.
WIN, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is running another programme from this month until July 2017.
The programme will see 20 high potential female journalists from media partners in Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania trained in skills development on topics of newsroom and media management, media ethics, public interest reporting and overcoming the gender bias in reporting, among others.
Participants will also have coaching sessions to define and begin their three to five-year career strategies and will also engage in peer monitoring and networking through formal gatherings held during training sessions.
Women in News (WIN) is a programme building upon six years of learning and success for women working around the Africa region to progress to greater levels of decision making in their respective media organisations.
Over 160 women journalists, managers and editors have passed through the programme, 44 percent have been promoted to new positions within their organisations; 75 percent made career moves of their choice; and 68 percent felt they now have more opportunities to progress within their organisations. n