What you need to know:
- Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Mr Eric Watnik, noted that the mentorship is crucial to addressing gender imbalance in the media.
The fourth edition of the Female Journalists Mentorship Programme was launched on Saturday, bringing together a fresh cohort of journalism and mass communication students from five local universities.
The programme will involve 50 students from Maseno, Moi, Masinde Muliro and Maasai Mara universities, as well as the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM).
It is coordinated by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) with the support of the US Embassy in Kenya.
Currently in its fourth year, it has seen the mentorship of 100 female university students from across the country.
Imbalance in the media
Speaking at the launch at Brackenhurst Hotel in Limuru, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Mr Eric Watnik, noted that the mentorship is crucial to addressing gender imbalance in the media.
“It is important to bring up the new generation of women in a profession that is still underrepresented by women, for inclusion and diversity of ideas,” he stated.
Mr Watnik encouraged the cohort to make the best of the opportunity that they competitively got selected for.
“You stand on the shoulders of giants. Your mentors have broken many barriers and have set examples for you,” he said.
“Around the world, there are few mentors, so you are privileged to have women in the media to walk with you. You have people to ask questions and set you in the right direction,” added Mr Watnik, who was the chief guest.
Pamela Makotsi-Sittoni, Executive Editor of the Daily Nation at Nation Media Group, said unequal representation of women in the media has been a prevailing status quo that can only be changed by such mentorship programmes.
Ms Makotsi-Sittoni decried the inequality in the media industry, noting that many young women pursue journalism courses in college but fall off shortly after joining the industry.
She advised the mentees to take advantage of the mentorship programme and remain true to themselves.
“Listening to stories of success in this programme is such an inspiration. It is motivating to see young women in this country doing great things. I hope resources will continue being made available to mentor and train young, especially young women, because we need to hear the voice of the women in the media.”
Ms Beryl Akinyi, a programme alumna, said her life changed drastically and that she had accomplished a lot and overcome insurmountable challenges, thanks to the mentorship programme.
Top women leaders
Mr Josephine Karani, chairperson of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT), said that the choice of women as world political leaders shows they have what it takes to rule the world.
Ms Karani, who issued the opening remarks at the launch, cited the nomination of Court of Appeal Judge Martha Koome as the Chief Justice to succeed David Maraga.
She also mentioned President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania, who took over after the death of President John Pombe Magufuli, and US Vice President Kamala Harris.
Ms Karani said mentors serve as models, teachers, counsellors and examples to mentees, the goal being to produce people greater than themselves.
“We must appreciate that the mentors here intend to leave you better than themselves,” she told the university students.