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Gender and Governance

AMWIK “breaks the ice” with women candidates

AMWIK invited media bureau chiefs from Eastern and Coast provinces and other journalists to interact and device ways of working with women aspirants.

During the sessions, it was evident that women political aspirants needed publicity. Amina Abdalla, who is vying for the Kisauni MP seat shared her “not so rosy” encounter with the media. Amina said she has had a rough experience with the media after she sued a certain local media house for defamation.

“The media can make or break you. I was once misquoted over a drugs scandal and I took them to court for defamation. Since then, whenever I call the media for a function, they never show up. It seems like they have given me a blackout,” says Amina.
During the forum, Ngumbao Kithi, a journalist with The Standard newspapers at the Coast advised the women aspirants to work with the media and device ways of solving problems amicably in the unfortunate event of a dispute.

Mishi Mboko, a woman county representative aspirant for Mombasa said she has been hesitant to approach the media because “calling the journalist is very expensive for me since a majority of them ask for money.”
Maureen Mudi a writer of The Star newspaper in Mombasa dismissed the claims by Ms Mboko and put the record straight saying journalists should never demand bribes in order to write stories.

She said bribery goes against the norms and ethics of journalism and no journalist should be given a bribe to write a story. Eunice Machuhi, a member of AMWIK and a Nation Media reporter based in Mombasa agreed with Maureen saying, “You should deal with credible media houses and contact the bureau chiefs as they are the ones who give consent for stories.”

Addressing women aspirants from Eastern Province, Mercy Nthuku, a member of AMWIK and a presenter at Muga FM advised women aspirants to create a rapport with the journalists. “Journalists have inter-linkages and will always link you with other journalists for you to enjoy better coverage,” said Mercy. Job Weru, a freelance journalist in Eastern Province advised the women to be confident when addressing the media.

The women were urged to use community media as compared to the national media, for convenience purposes. “It is easier to interact with the community media as they understand the issues in the community as compared to national media,” said Weru.

During a presentation on how to profile and use social media effectively, Kelvin Okoth challenged the women aspirants to sign up with social media platforms and keep up with the new trends especially when targeting the youth.

“There are a total of 1,241,720 Facebook users in Kenya, out of which 63% are male users and 37% are female users. Okoth said Twitter users numbered 70,000, according to statistics confirmed 12 months ago but that the figure is currently estimated to have grown to 220,000 Twitter users. Okoth encouraged the women aspirants to develop an online strategy to communicate with their target groups of voters.

To ensure that the aspirants keep their political careers on track, communication consultant Jayne-Rose Gacheri also a member of AMIWK took the aspirants through the process of developing professional profiles that would provide a roadmap to their political and professional life.

Rachael Nakitare a producer of the Good Morning Kenya Show on KBC and also a member of AMWIK took the participants through TV studio etiquette and how to get visibility through the media.

AMWIK conducted two training workshops for women aspirants from Eastern and Coast provinces drawn from Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Machakos, Kitui, Isiolo, Marsabit, Makueni, Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Lamu. The trainings were supported by UN Women under its Gender and Governance Programme.


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