At the workshop, retired United Nations diplomat, Prince Segun Omolayo presented a paper themed ‘The good journalists: A personal professional perspective” while the keynote speaker- Chika Asogwa- an Associate Professor from the Department of Mass Communication, Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) spoke on ‘Aspiring leadership position to end sexual and gender-based violence’. Fatima Bello (NAWOJ chairperson) and Barr. Shirley Atane (Special Assistant to the wife of the Ekiti state Governor) all discussed gender issues and legal matters. The workshop created a platform for participants to be educated on SGBV and the need for female journalists in leadership positions.
Feedback from the leadership capacity workshop includes, members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the newsroom developing an interest in reportorial jobs, female journalists were reported to vie for editorial positions in their respective organisations while more journalists reported and investigated issues on SGBV.
For her story project, she did a documentary on the success stories of women in the media and how their success stories have encouraged others to be vocal about their career trajectory and aspire for success.
Despite the challenges of convincing parents and guardians to release their underage kids for the programme held in Abuja, the turnout was impressive. At the seminar, young girls shared their experiences after getting better insight. Some ‘troubled’ participants also asked vital questions on ways to handle harassment from teachers, peers, and adults.
Ademola intends to build a network where girls can share their experiences and get their worries addressed by experts. In the future, she will embark on an advocacy drive to selected schools where participants will be trained not only on SGBV but on other digital tools useful in speaking up against SGBV.
For her story project, she beamed light on the untold pain of female children from violent homes. It focused on how domestic violence affects children, especially the girl-child in homes where such exists, and how this has impacted their day-to-day activities.
Her leadership project also focused on leadership capacities and better opportunities for women in the newsroom and media. She attributed the success of the project to her participation in the Report Women! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme (FRLP), which was supported by the Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA).
Thanks to the cooperation of Plus TV management, she could involve female reporters and management staff who led panel sessions and contributed immensely.
Recounting the immediate impact of her training, she recalled that two female reporters received promotions shortly after the training and the management promoted a female reporter she recommended as she left to join BBC Africa.
Though she has left Plus TV, she maintains close contact with her mentees on resolution and leadership techniques in a male-dominated workplace. She has also created an online group for all female reporters that attended the training to cross-pollinate storytelling ideas and sustain the momentum of a media industry where more female reporters have a platform for expression.
For her story project, she wrote about the complicity of officers of the Nigerian Police Force in frustrating SGBV survivors’ quests for justice
To address these deficiencies and the reportage of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) stories, she created a training and mentorship platform. Her focus was skill development, gender parity balance at entry level, mentorship network for building female student journalists in preparation for the newsroom and media.
Anita also started personal sessions with reporters on the reportage of SGBV issues and cases which noted improvements recorded in coverage, shining lights on previously overlooked subject matters. Some participants also had their SGBV stories published, and two journalists were also nominated for prestigious awards courtesy of industry partners and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
For her story project, she investigated and reported the plight of displaced women attacked on their farms during the farmer-herder crisis in Benue State. Titled ‘Butchered And Alone: Female IDPs In Benue State Lick Their Wounds’, she brought to the fore the plights of women who were considered easy targets during the crisis. It addressed the challenges of untold stories of victims and survivors whose stories were merely documented with splashy headlines and no depth.
Her second leadership project, ‘How to start, grow and take the lead in the journalism profession’ focused on mentoring female Mass Communication Students of Rivers State University. The project was inspired by Mrs Motunrayo Alaka- the Executive Director/CEO of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and Mrs Juliana Francis, a Fellow of the Report Women Programme, both of whom, in times past, championed the cause of female empowerment. The project recorded an impact on 148 students and was supported by Dr Richard Amadi (HOD of Mass Communication Department, RSU), International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) and gender activists.
After she participated in the ReportWomen! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme (FRLP), Ann got promoted to head the Port Harcourt Office of the Guardian Newspaper. Thanks to her network, two of her members have secured jobs in reputable media houses.
Following the impact of ‘The Step-Up Media Network’, some foundations in media training such as Daily Trust Foundation in collaboration with MacArthur Foundation contacted her to nominate some members within her network. Her story project revealed that Rivers state was a flash-point for SGBV, as encouraged by the government’s lackadaisical attitude in addressing the menace.
Highlights from the training include the five-person panel led by Chris Isiguzo- President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) discussed issues of sexual and gender-based violence which had taken a new dimension in Nigeria and he also spoke on the alarming increase of rape cases, murder and molestation of women and children and the need to get justice for SGBV survivors and families were on the front burner.
To actualise this, she collaborated with the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), resource persons such as Mrs Theresa Anthony, (Psychologist/Counsellor), who spoke on Psychosocial support and Trauma, Barrister Rhoda Tyoden (International Federation of Women Lawyers President) took participants on windows of justice available for survivors. Mrs Ene Ede- Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act (VAPP), Federal Capital Territory coordinator made a case for collaboration in the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Ladi Bala (President, National Association of Women Journalists) spoke on the need to report women more.
The training also had cub reporters, students from tertiary institutions and National Youth Service Corps members in attendance. Courtesy of her leadership project, NTA became a rallying point for Gender-Based campaigns exemplified by GBV messages at the end of every programme aired, female journalists reported a decrease in harassment and a teenage sexual and gender-based club was launched at Merosa Academy, FCT. This gave survivors a platform to speak up and become advocates.
Bassey also produced a six-minute report on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) to highlight myths and facts about these violations of girls and women’s fundamental human rights. The documentary was gender-inclusive for a nuanced report.
She organised training for Borno Government House’s all-male newsroom with the Commissioner of Women Affairs present where she committed herself as a gender advocate. She collaborated with cohorts of the ReportWomen! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme (FRLP), Dooshima Abu and Amaka Okoye to organise a training for reporters of The Viewer TV, Abuja. Using her personal story, she motivated her colleagues at crossroads and gave their journey a direction through direct mentorship. Through her training, her colleagues became gender-sensitive, and women-centred stories were told with a better understanding, especially regarding SGBV cases.
Blessing is not relenting in her effort to build a network of gender-sensitive journalists, empower and build the capacity of more journalists to become SGBV specialists, and pass the torch to the next generation of reporters.
For her story project, ‘Women Trade: Sex For Food In Borno IDP Camps’ ‘on Channels TV revealed how women subjected to inhumane situations at various IDP camps in Borno. Some were taken advantage of because of their vulnerability and forced into survival sex for food items to stay alive.
For her leadership project, she put together a workshop focused on training students interested in practising journalism while on campus (Campus Journalism). Although initially designed for students in private universities, the workshop expanded to students of federal tertiary institutions. Designed to mentor students interested in journalism from school to preserve and strengthen the profession, teach resource identification, and develop exceptional story ideas. This ultimately highlighted media opportunities available for campus journalists and maximised the benefits of social media and other media platforms for discovering many untold stories, data reporting and fact-checking. The training was held at Veritas University, Abuja and Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti.
Highlights of the training include Kabir Adejumo, an assistant investigations editor at HumAngle and Director of Campus Press Hub, who educated participants on the basics of campus journalism. Taiwo Adebulu, head of the fact-check desk at The Cable, delivered a presentation on how to fact-check and write impact-driven stories. Femi Owolabi taught participants how to pitch to news platforms for grants to do impact stories while Lekan Otufodunrin, Executive Director, Media Career Development Network highlighted career paths in the media profession.
The success of the leadership project brought about invitations from student unions in three universities to help train their campus journalists. An online community was launched to maintain mentorship with Veritas university and ABUAD as she continued to push for more university students to become campus journalists.
For her story project, she investigated the mistreatment of pregnant inmates, with Kemisola Ogunniyi, a civilian who was arrested for allegedly taking part in the #EndSARS protest in 2020 and later giving birth to a boy in June 2021 being the case study.
She wrote ‘Maltreated And Neglected: The Plight Of Pregnant Women In Nigerian Prisons’ . This piece focused on how the rights of female inmates were violated and subjected to verbal abuses leading to mental and psychological torture.
The project educated the public on the common scenarios of SGBV typical of real-life events, armed the vulnerable with relevant information for self-protection, and spelt out the criminal liability of SGBV.
Her second leadership project was a speaking engagement with post-graduate students at the Mass Communication department of the University of Lagos on ‘Challenges of urban reporting’ gleaned from the WSCIJ Report Women fellowship. She engaged fellow journalists on the SGBV theme, debunked misconceptions about SGBV, and sensitized journalists on the need to give more prominence to SGBV-related stories in their respective media organizations.
Bukola also facilitated online training for her former colleagues at Television Continental (TVC) where she worked during the leadership programme. At TVC, she highlighted SGBV-related issues through her stories to expose the weak justice system and the need to strengthen security agencies to prosecute individuals found wanting.
For her story project, she went down a different path to discuss under-reported stories of violence against men. She focused on men suffering assault at the hands of their wives or partners and told the stories of repressed men in her attempt to change the erroneous notion that women’s rights advocates are against men. Wemimo now works with Channels Television.
Thanks to the station’s News and Human Resource Management, members of staff took part in the training, after which, the programmes and news department built a better synergy for improved productivity. Staff reporters who were trained applied their digital skills to better position Nigeria Info, Wazobia and Coolfm for their online audience.
For her story project, she documented rising cases of sexual violence in River’s state, cases reported to various organizations within the period and documented reasons for the rise in these cases.
The project, ‘How Rivers State is Responding to Sexual Violence’ harmonised the data and became the first of its kind in the state.
The project, ‘How Rivers State is Responding to Sexual Violence’ harmonised the data and became the first of its kind in the state.
The training she created ‘Speak up against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Secondary Schools’ Across North-Central Nigeria’ focused on 100 girls from Gifted and Talented school, Makurdi, Benue state.
After the awareness drive alongside Osaruonamen Ibizugbe- another cohort, the students learnt ways to protect themselves. In dire situations of rape and assault, the students had a network of mentors and professionals they could engage, seek help and raise an alarm when necessary to encourage other students to speak up about their challenges.
Her story project told the story of 13- year-old Ochanya Ogbanje raped to death in 2018 in Benue State. Her parents in Nigeria shared their traumatic experience and how the wheel of justice rolled slowly. She works with British Broadcasting Service (BBC Pidgin).
With the help of experienced journalists such as Anietie Usen (author of bestselling journalism books), Lekan Otufodurin (Media career specialist), Justina Asishana, Uduak Ekong (Chairperson, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria Association of Women Journalist) and Titilope Fadare (Cohort, 2021 Female Reporters Leadership Programme) took turn to enlighten upcoming journalists and students of Mass Communication Departments of the Akwa Ibom State University.
In the future, the Inspiration FM staff hopes the leadership project will become a movement where young minds and journalists are recruited to push the agenda of standardised journalism practices in the Akwa Ibom State through skill acquisition institution tours, training and workshops.
Her story project focused on the implementation of Laws in Nigeria and what steps Akwa Ibom state government had gone with implementing the Violence Against persons (prohibition) Act (VAPP) law domesticated in 2020. The story assessed what structures were put in place by the State Government to implement the law 18 months after its domestication.
She felt students of journalism needed to have a realistic grasp of what happens outside of the lecture rooms and how to break into newsrooms and abolish the stereotype against female journalists limited only to news anchor positions on television.
Jennifer also taught them how to access, and report Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) issues, the basics of freelance, interpersonal relationships and communication, and report climate change and safety concerns of journalists from a gender perspective.
Her report- ‘Sex traffickers target teenage girls in Nigeria’s IDP Camp’ was on how girls were targeted by traffickers for sexual exploitation through the help of IDP officials.
Khadija Ishaq Bawas
Her capacity building and mentorship were not limited to female journalists in Kano State. She extended the gesture to the Gender Desk of the Nigerian Police, Kano State command, and empowered the youth of Utai District in Kano.
She was not alone on this journey as the Community Health Research Initiative (CHR) provided meal support for the training and allowances for the facilitators, Arafat Air Services took care of all branding assets, Adam Abubakar Gwarzo (AAG) Foundation provided mobile devices, Kabiru Sufi of College of Arts and Science facilitated free training and provided sanitary supplies for women, alongside Zainab Baba- Public Relations Officer of Jigawa State Ministry and other collaborators.
Despite the difficulty of getting locations for her training due to restrictions placed on publicly discussing gender issues in Kano State by Hisbah Command (A Religious Agency in Kano), she was able to sensitise female journalists in the newsroom to aim for leadership positions in newsrooms and officers on the gender desks of the police force in Kano became enlightened on SGBV issues.
For her story project, the Liberty Television reporter spotlighted the deplorable state of beggars on the streets of Kano who were victims and survivors of gender exploitation and violence. Her story illuminated various issues and circumstances that led these victims into their current living conditions as she campaigned online to garner support for these victims.
With schools part of the larger society, equipping female students with quality gender-sensitive education can play a role in combating the challenges of violence and other harmful expressions against women and girls.
Thanks to her mentor, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy- Ndisika from the University of Lagos and Emiene Erameh, a 2019 FRLP Fellow, the ideation, scope and learning topics were expanded effectively to benefit the participants. On the project, she also worked with other experts to share ideas with the students on how best to report cases of sexual and gender-based violence. She also encouraged the school management to establish a desk for SGBV issues to handle cases confidentially.
Female students shared their stories and experiences while the male students had a better understanding and committed to standing with women and girls. Buoyed by these, she has planned to replicate this every quarter in more schools within the Federal Capital Territory and engage more partners.
Her story project is the story of a 12-year-old girl who got raped by her neighbour and became pregnant. It highlighted how the rape incident impacted her and her entire family and interrogated the slow rate of rape cases prosecutions. Kimberly works with Nigeria Info.
The training also linked beneficiaries to resource persons for future collaborations, reinvigorate interns and their attitudes to work, and participating journalists became more sensitive to SGBV issues.
Personally, because of the Report Women! Report Women Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP), Kofoworola became a voice in the Nation newspaper to campaign against attempts to ridicule.
For her story project, she focused on the untold stories of teachers and lecturers who were victims of harassment from their students. The story project titled ‘Our Tales Of Sexual And Gender-Based Violence, By Teachers’, we learned about these cases and how they have dealt with their trauma alone. After the training, she moved to The Conversation Africa.
Her inspiration stemmed from the false labelling of women within the region and beyond. She believed her co-workers could become active voices and the media organisation a veritable platform for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) advocacy.
Her efforts got relevant stakeholders to collaborate under the Grace FM umbrella and took the awareness drive to the grassroots and created response centres across the 21 Local Government Areas within the state. The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Kogi state chapter supported it immensely. As a follow-up, she began advocacy in public primary schools to create awareness and help these kids build healthy self-esteem.
The station also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kogi State Office of the Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission for a half-hour program on citizens’ rights and responsibilities. Still counting the gains of her leadership project, a survivor interviewed in her documentary got psychological evaluation and therapy.
For her story project titled ‘SGBV and the Conspiracy of Silence in Northern Nigeria’, she investigated and reported on the conspiracy of silence on SGBV cases. The story of Agatha, a survivor of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) was the centre piece and the roles of parents, traditional and religious leaders if SGBV scourge must end. She has since moved to Development Alternatives Incorporated.
She was also able to equip interns with the new multimedia skills needed to grow in the journalism profession, provide reporters with the skills to report on delicate topics, and train participants on impact storytelling and the importance of smartphone journalism today.
Osaruonamen was able to network with some fellow cohorts experienced in various fields of multimedia journalism to handle topics ranging from organizational culture and ethics to SGBV and how best to report these stories.
A direct impact of her training motivated a National youth Corp member to do a special report on women’s development in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and a 30-minute youth show.
For her story project she wrote about Deborah Joseph, who was raped, impregnated, and abandoned by her ex-boyfriend. The abuser refused to accept responsibility and cater to his child and left the survivor to shoulder the responsibility.
The story questioned the impact of legislation seeking to protect women and girls. Osaruonamen currently work with Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID).
Temitope picked the leadership project to fill the gap in the reportage of the female gender because of marginalisation in the media. She knew women needed to tell their stories. In her radio documentary, she dwelt on the sexual harassment of female journalists in the newsrooms. The project checked the existence and effectiveness of sexual harassment policies to curb the menace.
Her story project was titled ‘Is Sexual Harassment Fast Becoming A Norm In Newsrooms or Media Houses?’
The Premium Times reporter noticed the dynamic and emerging trends in mobile journalism, hence the training to help journalists adopt a cost-effective mode to produce creative multimedia content tailored for the audience in real-time.
She trained journalists on how to shoot professional videos using their phones, introduced them to mobile editing apps and gears for mobile journalism and coached them on basic editing alongside tips and how to disseminate videos on Social Media.
Courtesy of her leadership project, the Nation newspaper produced more multimedia content. Aside from that, a new policy introduced mandated the Nation newspaper reporters to record videos while on reportorial assignments to populate their social media platforms and website. For individuals, Moses Emorinken (staff of the Nation newspaper) in charge of the Abuja online department mastered the production of quality videos with his mobile phone while Faith Yahaya from the same media organisation did a voice-over for her video for the first time.
In the future, she plans to conduct training on mobile journalism for campus journalists across the country, partner with PREMIUM Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) on its campus reporters’ project to include mobile journalism training and adequately equip and enhance the future of Nigerian newsrooms with reporters who have relevant and vast skills in mobile journalism.
Her story project described as a solutions report was about the residents in Sokoto and Lagos states who serve as first-hand responders to tackle the alarming rate of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in their communities.
In the training’s course, she discovered that many of the students heard about SGBV reporting for the first time. Gladly, most of the female students who participated in capacity-building training resolved to be more active in the war against SGBV.
Courtesy of the Report Women! Report Women Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP), Zainab became more deliberate in her mentorship drive for female interns and corps members at Agidigbo FM where she works. Thanks to the in-house training for staff in the newsroom, Agidigbo now spotlights SGBV with sign-off quotes after every news bulletin. They also participated actively in the United Nations 16 days activism campaign to preach zero tolerance to sexual and gender-based violence in 2021.
For her story project, she investigated and reported on the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) titled ‘How State Governors, Legislature Frustrate Domestication of VAPP Act’ . In the course of her investigation she discovered that Oyo State had not domesticated the bill despite a public perception that it was already in use.