UNESCO’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa partnered with the Media Council of Kenya to carry out a three-day training for journalists on gender sensitive reporting from 17 to 19 February 2014 in Nyeri County, Kenya.
The training, which brought together 20 participants (11 men and 8 women), was a second in the series of workshops aimed at building capacities of Kenyan journalists to report on gender sensitive issues in order to promote women leadership in counties’ governments. These trainings also have for objective to promote more diverse and gender-sensitive media and to increase the overall professional capacity of journalists in Kenya.
The training in Nyeri County equipped participants with skills necessary to prepare gender-balanced reports and to focus on the importance of gender issues for development. “The training made me understand how cultural stereotypes have side-lined women as media sources and subjects, presenting them as victims while they do have positive stories and ideas to share with the public,” stated Seth Mwaniki a participant from The People newspaper.
According to Carol Nderi, a journalist working for the Kenya Television Network (KTN), the constitution stipulates the need for public involvement in the county government. The emphasis has, therefore, be placed on the empowerment of women and the youth as sources and subjects of news stories.
Florence Mwaniki, a participant from Kangema Ranet, said, “The fact that the counties have only few women as representatives is due to the little coverage given to women candidates by the local media during the last year’s elections.” “Media need to change this perspective for the upcoming elections,” she added.
The training was based on the Media Monitoring Reports 2013 issued by the country’s Media Council as well as UNESCO studies, such as Getting the balance right: gender equality in journalism, showing that women are rarely considered as credible news sources and have to struggle to receive coverage and legitimacy in the eyes of media and the public at large.
This activity was supported by the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Kenya.