Citizen Journalism Training Opportunity

Citizen journalism has been growing in Kenya providing alternative sources of news and information. Citizen journalists’ important role in society has however been hampered by challenges including lack of access to news sources, capacity building opportunities, means of verification and data mining skills.

As a result, the Association of Media Women in Kenya, AMWIK has organized two-days training/coaching for citizen journalists to enhance their capacity to gather, verify and deliver on their stories. The training also seeks to strengthen the skills of citizen journalists in investigating and delivering credible information on financial literacy, accountability, transparency, and access to social justice in their communities.

Criteria for selection as a trainee:
A successful candidate;
• Needs to be passionate about the improvement of Kenya and the lives of Kenyans in terms of financial literacy, accountability and social justice
• You may be a freelance writer.
• You could be having an active blog and be active online.
• You don’t have to be a trained journalist.
• Must not be active in a media house.
• Need to be inclined to use various digital media platforms to disseminate information

If you fit in the above criteria, please send your application with the following information;
Gender Male/ Female
Telephone No:
Email Address
Age bracket
Also, answer below questions:

1. Please share details of how you qualify as a citizen journalist?
2. Why do you want to participate in the training?
3. How will you use the skills acquired from the training?

The training scheduled for 5th and 6th July 2018 will be held in Nakuru County. Kindly do submit your CV alongside the application to not later than Monday, 2nd July 2018 at 5pm:

NB: ONLY selected individuals will be notified

World Radio Day 2018 – Radio and Sports

The seventh edition of World Radio Day is being held on 13 February 2018 under the theme: Radio and Sports, with all radio stations, regulatory bodies and related organisations invited to celebrate radio and its contribution to democratic debate through information, entertainment and audience interaction.

Sporting events have the ability to unite the hearts and minds of people everywhere – we join the  call on all radio stations around the world to showcase the beauty of sports in all of its diversity. Let’s celebrate the traditional sports that connect us to our cultural heritage, the grassroots sports that anchor within our communities, and the inspiring stories that challenge gender stereotypes and covers, equally, both men’s and women’s sports events.

World Radio Day 2018 will focus on the following UNESCO sub-themes:

  • Diversity in Sports Coverage: ​Through the coverage of traditional and grassroots games, radio can reconnect people with their cultural heritage, promoting freedom of expression and diversity through cultural expression;
  • Gender Equality in Sports Coverage: Sports coverage is hugely powerful in shaping norms and stereotypes about gender. Radio has the ability to challenge these norms, promoting a balanced coverage of men’s and women’s sports and a fair portrayal of sportspeople irrespective of gender;
  • Peace and Development through Sports Coverage: Through greater coverage of sports for peace and development iniatives, the universal values of non-violence, solidarity and tolerance are recognized and celebrated.

World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. Previous annual themes have included gender equality, youth participation, radio in humanitarian and disaster situations, and “Radio is You!” In past years, World Radio Day has seen wide success, with over 500 events taking place wordwide in 2017.

Digital Security Training for Women Journalists

The Internet is an essential resource that journalists depend on for news distribution, interaction with audiences and sources as well as resource for research on stories. Despite its importance, the Internet has also been used as an avenue for attacks against journalists, not just because of their journalistic work, but often because of their gender. Online Gender Violence (technology based violence) exists within a context similar to what happens offline.

According to a survey on Women Journalists’ digital security by AMWIK and Article 19, approximately 7 out of 10 female journalists in Kenya have experienced online harassment in the course of their work. The nature of harassment include: online bullying, trolling, cyber stalking, defamation/hate speech, online harassment, public shaming, identity theft, hacking amongst other offences.

Owing to the increase in technology assisted violence against women and given the inevitable online presence that women journalists must occupy, there is need to equip them with skills to help them optimise digital security in order to take proper protective measures and also stand up for their rights in the digital space.

It is for this reason that AMWIK has partnered with Safe Sister Project of DefendDefenders with support from Bread for the World and Internews to equip members with practical digital skills to enhance their online safety. The training will take place on 2nd February 2018

About Safe Sister
Safe Sister is a program for tech-savvy women working in the human rights and media movement in East Africa joining forces to take on today’s digital challenges of women human rights defenders

New Survey Highlights Dangers Of Working Online For Women Journalists

Stalking, sexual violence, verbal abuse and death threats are the most common forms of online violence faced by women journalists in their line of duty.

This is according to a new baseline survey, Women Journalist’s Digital Security, which was launched by AMWIK in partnership with Article 19 to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

The report gives an in-depth analysis into the various risks and dangers which women journalists face while working online. Indeed the internet has dramatically evolved in the recent past to become one of the major resources in collecting and disseminating information to the public.  Besides being a global tool of communication, it is also a vital link between journalists, their sources and their audiences.

However, the tech-space has its own disadvantages because it also brings together criminals in the form of cyber-stalkers, bullies and conmen. According to the survey, 75 percent of the journalists interviewed said they have experienced online harassment in the course of their work.

George and Nancy

Academicians Nancy Booker and George Gathigi

Other forms of attacks charted in the survey include hacking, trolling, defamation, public shaming, identity theft and name-calling. Of the four online platforms studied in the survey, Facebook was the most popular for Technology Assisted Violence against Women (TAVAW). It was closely followed by WhatsApp, Blogs and finally Twitter.

Needless to say, this Technology Assisted Violence against Women (TAVAW) causes women journalists to shy away from the internet space, consequently affecting their productivity at work. One journalist in the survey is quoted as saying “I lost my confidence and shied away from the general public.”

The report also brings to light the challenges faced by victims in the pursuit of justice for cyber-crimes. For instance, it mentions that the Police Cyber-crime Unit has not been devolved to other counties despite the high penetration rate of internet in these areas. As such, victims in other counties face a challenge when it comes to accessing justice for these crimes.
KCA Chair William Oloo-Janak
Oloo-JanakWhile launching the research, AMWIK Chairperson Pamela Mburia said the most urgent recommendation as outlined in the report is to invest in social, legal and practical tools which media practitioners, particularly women in the media can use  to protect themselves from attacks.

“The bolder, louder and more visible a woman journalist is, the more the probability of facing technology assisted violence,” she said adding “we feel that we still have a long way to go before media women can  take  their rightful place in newsrooms and in virtual platforms.”

The survey was published in partnership with Article 19 East Africa with support from the Deutsche Welle Akademie. Two separate documents were also launched at the forum including a Baseline Survey on the Safety and Protection of Journalists in South Sudan and Academic Curricula and Training in Journalism and Safety in Kenya.

Featured image

(From left) Charles Achaye-Odong and Jutta vom Hofe of DW Akademie,
John Gachie of Article 19 and Pamela Mburia of AMWIK

You can access the Survey report here

Women Journalists Challenged to Embrace New Opportunities in Digital Migration

Women Journalists have been challenged to proactively take up opportunities presented by the digital migration process in Kenya; specifically those in media ownership, content development and broadcasting.

In a conference held by AMWIK on 28th and 29th January aimed to strengthen the capacity of women journalists on the process of Digital Migration, media practitioners got a chance to interact with specialists in the field who provided insight on the benefits of the ongoing shift from analog to digital broadcasting. Among the myriad opportunities at hand include research in news, data journalism, videography and audio production.

The conference, dubbed Leveraging on Digital Migration Opportunities for Women Journalists, was a follow-up to a similar conference organized by AMWIK in 2014 to discuss challenges and opportunities of communities in the digital broadcasting migration. This particular forum had identified women as a core marginalized group in the digital migration process.

While speaking at the recent conference, AMWIK’s Programmes Manager Marceline Nyambala expressed the need for including communities which have been locked out of the digital migration process, including women and groups cut out due to poverty and high cost of digital equipment.

Other gaps identified in the migration process include lack of digital channels as well as mechanisms to deal with online harassment of journalists. Dr. Ezekiel Mutua, Chief Executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) also pointed out lack of adequate local content.

Content Development

Despite the apparent challenges, journalists were encouraged to embrace the new technology because of its numerous benefits which include more jobs, flexibility in programming, a wider audience base and better access to the audiences.

Rose Lukalo of the Media Policy Research Centre listed opportunities in digital broadcasting such as photography, independent content production, international correspondence, marketing promotion as well as the development of applications software.

While urging women to learn from their career mistakes, Alison Ngubuini, proprietor of All Is On Productions dared women to also take up these media opportunities.

“Women need to lose mediocrity and take challenges head-on,” she said adding “It is important to have mentors who are above your pay grade and who have progressed more in their careers.”

Participants at the conference made various recommendations, including the need for networking and partnerships among women in the media as well as enactment of a policy that will protect AMWIK journalists against harassment and sidelining. Subsequently, the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) volunteered to work with AMWIK in training female journalists on internet security.

A separate team was created to spearhead the process of content development and will be directed by Christine Nguku, a lecturer at the Kenya Methodist University (KEMU).

The conference brought together TV and Radio producers from both mainstream and community stations across the region.

Online Safety is Critical

By Mary Kiio

I attended my first workshop on online safety about two years ago. It was a training of trainers session that was organized by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT)-Kenya chapter with the support and facilitation from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). The sessions were practical. I learned how to protect my passwords, how to surf online in a way that will not have my privacy invaded, how to use the spectrogram exercise to discuss difficult issues, among other things. The most important part was that I was able to learnhow to share this information with others, especially women, who were the most vulnerable.

I am the kind of person you will not brand a techie. In the past I was comfortable with just being able to use the internet for basic stuff: to communicate with colleagues, friends and posting my work online to share what I am doing with others. My interest in digital matters, after this workshop, surprised me because for the first time the facilitator (Jennifer Radloff) had explained internet issues at my level of understanding. I left the workshop knowing that I would definitely look for a forum to share some of the information learned sooner rather than later.

A few months after attending the workshop, I organised a digital training where I was able to fashion some sessions to reach out to journalists on how to stay safe online. The information I had with me was fashioned around how to help women stay safe online (based on the materials from the tactical tech website and leaflets). However, only one lady participant turned up while the rest were men (the organization I was working with at the time required that we request the station managers of radio stations to nominate the person they felt would most benefit from the training, so the selection process was out of my hands). As the training had the words digital in its title, meant that it was more or less considered a male domain.

Not to be deterred I decided to appeal to the male emotion by using words like imagine if this was your wife or girlfriend, daughter or sister who was faced with this challenge. The spectrogram exercise was enriching as I was able to draw on the male understanding on issues such as why they wouldn’t trust their spouses or girlfriends with their passwords. Their response to the issues was more or less like the women’s but with interesting anecdotes. I found common ground with the participants that made me confident that by reaching out to the mainly male participants, the information would be shared with the women that were close to them. The best part about the training though was that online safety tools are applicable to everyone and they too learned how to stay safe online.

Shortly after this training, IAWRT Kenya called me, as a member of the association, to conduct a training on safety online that targeted civil society and media in an area out of the city centre. Here I came across a participant who had faced both online and offline abuse from her partner.

Up to this point all the examples I had of women who had suffered from cyber bullying or cyber crime were from the Kenya ICT Network (KICTANET) 2013 report dubbed Women and Cyber Crime. The other stories I had heard of were from high ranking personalities in the media or the political scene who had faced this problem but all mainly from the city center. I also had a story but mine was the common one that many people faced when someone hacked my email account because I had used the same password for over five years.

Her openly sharing her experiences during the training blended in so well with the training concept. In addition other women in the session started opening up about their stories. All the papers I had carried of case studies from the report were quickly shelved as I sought permission from the participants if we could use their stories for group discussions and coming up with advocacy plans and messages that were coined on their experiences.

This training too had men though the percentage was lower compared to the women that attended. This training marked another turning point in my training life on safety online issues as the realisation and importance of the training I was involved in took on a new dimension. Their strength in overcoming public scrutiny in their personal lives and choosing to come to the workshop to be empowered during the training sessions meant that this was not just like any other workshop, it had life saving information.

A few months after this training in 2014, I decided to follow a dream I had been harboring for a couple of years to leave formal employment and start a company where I could conduct training for various groups of people in society. I registered the company – Roshani Consultancy Services – and stepped out into the exciting new world of self employment. A few months into this new venture, IAWRT-Kenya got in touch with me again. This time they wanted someone who would facilitate a half day round-table discussion in a few counties within the country.

The aim of this half day round-table was to bring in key stakeholders in various counties to further discuss the then recently released IAWRT/APC report: Ending Violence-Women’s Rights and Safety Online which had many examples of women who had faced cyber crime and cyber bullying in Kenya and what steps they had taken if any when their rights were violated online. This gave the participants an opportunity to discuss the case studies as well as those that were affecting the people. The session would end with participants sharing practical steps that could be undertaken.

One of the key stakeholders who had to be at every round table was the police especially a representative from the gender department. This was as a result of accusations during other training and forums held by the Association that the police were not doing enough (or anything) towards tackling the cyber crime issues. Their involvement at the round table was enlightening. I got to learn a lot about the challenges they face in the process of seeking to prosecute such cases.

As there were county government officials (especially those who are charged with gender issues) at the forums, meaningful conversations were held on how local policies could enhance their work. The academics (especially from the gender departments in universities) and the civil society contributed immensely towards charting the way forward that would work for them. I was so fulfilled at having the privilege of facilitating sessions where the people charted the way forward, focusing on how to own the process of ensuring safety online was available for their women and girls.

A few weeks later after completing the round-table, I received an email that invited people to apply to the Gender Tech Institute. I filled in my application with the hope that I would be selected so that I could go and learn more, especially around advocacy and learn what new things were going on in the digital security world. The institute experience was wonderful. I learned a lot and got so many ideas that I could adapt into training. I made new friends who were passionate about gender and tech matters.

When I got back from the institute I had a discussion with a friend from Kenya who also attended the institute. We discussed ways of bringing our two companies together to collaborate when possible so as to train many more women. As the discussion was still on going the idea of a f3mhack that was formed during the Gender Tech Institute started taking shape. We decided to use this opportunity to work together. The long process of planning started.

Along the way Tactical Tech offered to give grants to people from the South to support the f3mhack initiatives. We sent in our idea and got the funding to conduct flash training at the ihub in Nairobi and a public university that was out of town. The latter training (Egerton University) was an initiative that Roshani Consultancy Services had been laying the ground for a while with the institution and so they were receptive to conducting a full day workshop and even extended it by an extra day where we had a round-table conversation that focused more on advocacy based in coming up with practical steps of streamlining gender and tech that would impact the whole student body. Students and lecturers attended the training.

Two months ago, the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) got in touch with me and requested that Roshani Consultancy Services conduct training for their members on digital security and advocacy. This was to take place on 1 August, 8 August and 15 August to ensure that the journalists and bloggers who would be willing to attend the training would be available without interruptions. I did not have any funding for this training neither did the Association but we hatched out a plan that eventually worked perfectly.

AMWIK hosted the training at their offices. Luckily only nine participants turned up so the space was just right. They also provided all other workshop materials. Roshani Consultancy Services on the other hand sought to bring in the trainers who would handle various topics based on a pre-training needs assessment, without asking for a facilitator fee. The enthusiasm of the participants, their openly sharing not only their own experience like phishing and also on how they tackle digital security challenges was refreshing. In addition, I was able to test my skills further by asking professionals in the field of digital security, data mining and digital visualization to join me and add flavor to the training. I learned that when one has their passion and priorities in order everything else seems to fall in to place somehow.

The willingness to share safety online for women from the very first training I attended has opened up many opportunities for me to engage with various people in society. I am looking forward to sharing more information with many other institutions and forums that would give me the space. My thirst for knowledge and sharing around digital security and advocacy has just begun.

Image: Recent training conducted by Mary at AMWIK of some of the participants


Story first published on 1st September 2015 by 

A socially Keen Woman Redefining the Tech Space

By Yvonne Mwende

Technology has revolutionized over the years. Essential software for enterprises is no longer the in-thing, no-touch interfaces with sensors and intelligent back-end systems continue to dominate and change the evolution of technology. With this evolution women have evolved and elbowed their way into the tech spaces. As women empowerment continues to take root, women have discovered unlimited potential within themselves to venture in to territories that were unimaginable for them.

Yvonne Oluoch is one such woman, founder of Socially Keen Individuals Redefining Tech Spaces (SKIRTS), an initiative to address cyber insecurity and cyber bullying within the Kenyan online. The idea was birthed from the#IncYOUbateIT competition developed and hosted by Making All Voices Count. The competition had two categories; ‘Tech for Change’ and ‘Securing women’s spaces online’, Yvonne opted for the later.

Read more 


A new Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) Act urgently needed’ – an appeal to law makers in a report on public broadcasting in Kenya

Nairobi, 11 October, 2011– As Kenya’s recent challenges with licensing of private broadcasting stations come to a head, a new report by the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) and the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) on public broadcasting in Kenya has implored law and policy makers to show political will and transform the national broadcaster into a truly independent public broadcaster, which will serve the interests of the Kenyan citizens.  The report states that this is an obligation that parliament has, because the 2010 Constitution compels it to make provision for such a transformation.

Presently, KBC is owned and fully controlled by government, and is not independent of the clutches of executive power.  The minister of information and communications appoints the managing director, and is entitled to make decisions as to the way the national broadcaster is run.  This is against the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, which prescribes that government controlled broadcasters should be transformed into a public service broadcasters, accountable to the public through the legislature rather than the government.  The report further states that the present governance model, which points to an absence of editorial independence, also contravenes the country’s 2010 Constitution.

“Kenya’s liberalisation of the media, and broadcasting in particular, has been a vital ingredient for democracy.  By providing for broadcasting regulation that is independent of control by government, political interests or commercial interests, Section 34(3) of the new constitution presents an excellent opportunity  of transforming KBC into a truly independent public entity that will serve the interest of the many and not just the few,” said Ozias Tungwarara, director of AfriMAP.

The report points to failure of reforms of KBC, and states that the lack of political will across the spectrum, and lack of concern by private media houses due to self serving interests, are largely responsible for the status quo. It raises a red flag for the lack of transparency on the corporation’s budget, especially its allocation of resources to various departments and ultimately concludes that the corporation is technically insolvent. The corporation’s annual revenue is 800 million Kenyan shillings, while its operating expenditure stands at 1.2 billion.

The report goes further to assert that there is urgent need to also draft a policy of media ownership that reduces monopolisation of the media sector, with the aim of creating diversity. It also points to current laws that contravene the 2010 Constitution, which stifles media freedom.  Foremost amongst which are: sections 194 to 199 of the penal code which criminalises defamation; sections 67 which still gives special protection to dignitaries; section 66 and 77- which focuses on false statements and subversion; section 2 9d) of the Preservation of Public security Act, which empowers the president to limit freedom of expression.  All these, the report states must be repealed. ‘Freedom of information legislation needs to be developed with full participation of civil society to give effect to the right to access to information as guaranteed in article 35 of the new 2010 Constitution,’ the report concludes.

The researcher of the Kenya Broadcasting report is Grace Githaiga, PhD candidate at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi, Kenya. The 126 page report makes key recommendations in the media laws and operations of the public broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC), divided into 9 sections: media laws; the broadcasting landscape; digital migration; broadcast legislation and regulation; KBC funding; programming; perceptions of KBC; broadcast reforms.

Access to Information in Marginalised Communities elusive Despite looming digital Migration

By Yvonne Mwende

Kenya a member state of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is required to have migrated from analogue to digital terrestial Television broadcasting technologies by 17th June 2015, owing to the multilateral decision of the Regional Radio Conference of 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. Hence, the Government of Kenya has therefore put in place mechanisms and structures to facilitate the migration and provide effective strategies of streamlining access to information to marginalized groups in view of the global changes.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010, is a positive development that ensures the free flow of information as it provides for several freedoms enshrined in Article 33, 34 and 35. However, there is a major contradiction on the sharing of information across the board. Whilst those in the urban areas enjoy having an overload of information, those in the remote areas have the disadvantage of receiving less or no information at all. it is imperative to note that marginalised communities have missed out, more so in the recent past on the freedoms of information that is their right based on the Constitution of Kenya.

Marginialised communities have social, economic, political and cultural values that are ‘unique’ to them; the focus is more on their basic needs as opposed to other factors that come in to play. Over 80% of the population in Marsabit is estimated to be living on less than a dollar a day, while 76.9 of the total population in Tana river lives below the poverty line. Factors like poverty, drought, low literacy levels, conflict, unemployment, lack of infrastructure are key contributors to the lack of access to information. Hence, even Mobile Service Providers look in to such factors before determining whether putting up infrastructure in those areas will be good business or not.

The move from analogue to digital broadcasting has its perks. Consumers in Kenya will enjoy improved reception quality, opening up of broadcast space which will encourage entrepreneurial activity, free spectral spaces which will lead to additional programme channels- hence diversity. Viewers will also have a platform through which their own stories will be highlighted, through local content development which will be a core part of the migration strategy.

This outlook on the digital migration prompted the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) in partnership with Ford Foundation Eastern Africa to put up an avenue to discuss the opportunities and challenges for marginalized communities. Representatives from the communities where AMWIK works were present to discuss with the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology, Dr. Fred Matiangi.

Issa Kofa Umuru, a coordinator from Garsen, Tana river County talked of the problems in accessing information in his County. “Our network reception is very poor, especially when one moves further away to the remote areas”. Mobile phone, radio and television reception is not clear in most remote areas in Kenya. “We do not know what people mean when they say they have read the daily newspaper. We get our newspaper after two days when everyone else has read the paper; this is merely because of our poor roads and infrastructure. We have been marginalized even in receiving information! He further went on to say that they had no idea that South Sudan were at war until after almost three months in to the war.

His sentiments were echoed by Zainab Nura Gobana of Moyale, Marsarbit County who also spoke of the challenges they undergo. “We are talking about digital migration today, while we have more pressing challenges in my county. For instance, women in my county have to travel long distances even up to Ethiopia to access clean water”. With such challenges it is difficult for such communities to look beyond their daily needs and focus on the looming digital phenomena. “How will this digital migration help me and my community, while I did not even benefit on the previous analogue technology?” she poses.

The Cabinet Secretary urged AMWIK to utilize and benchmark some of the opportunities that will be available with the digital migration. “Since local content is core to the strategy for migration to digital TV, I would like to urge AMWIK and similar organisations to put in place mechanisms that build the capacity of women and other marginalized communities to take charge of their own destiny by developing local content that can be aired on the digital platform”. He went a step further and stated that he would like to establish a partnership with AMWIK and that his office was open to support in any way possible.

As much as the Government of Kenya is taking elaborate steps to ensure that they comply with the digital migration deadline, it is paramount to note that marginalized communities have missed out at most times in tapping such opportunities. As we also focus on the Post 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) it is important to reflect on our current situations and implement strategies that will enable our country to forge forwards as one without discrimination.