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REPORT: Journalists of the Africa-China Reporting Project at the African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference in Kenya, 25-27 July 2019

The Africa-China Reporting Project (the Project) supported six Kenyan female journalists who are previous recipients of the Project’s reporting grants, to attend and participate in the African Women in Media (AWiM) Conference, supported by the African Union, on 25-27 July 2019 in Kenya. The AWiM Conference is one of the biggest gatherings of African women in media. 

The journalists included Joyce Njeri Kimani, Moraa Obiria, Lenah Bosibori Mokaya, Christabel Ligami, Mary Mwendwa, who were part of the Developing Stories with a Strong Impact Agenda in Science, Development and Environment Reporting panel, and Lilian Mukoche who was part of the Debunking Fake News and its Impact to the Community panel.

The Developing Stories with a Strong Impact Agenda in Science, Development and Environment Reporting panel was moderated by the Project’s Assistant Project Coordinator Bongiwe Tutu, who began by introducing the Project and its objectives to support journalists. “The Africa-China Reporting Project is, this year, celebrating a decade of equipping journalists, particularly African and Chinese journalists, with support and capacity to conduct on-the-ground impact reportage on a number of socio-economic features of Africa-China relations” she said, adding that “this is within the backdrop of Western media narratives dominating the depiction of Africa in its relations with China, and so the Africa-China Reporting Project upholds African voices in Africa-China relations”.

The panelists used their previously published features as case studies for their presentations, and shared their expertise on writing on science, environment and development. The panelists also reflected on ‘how they did it’, how they developed their features, and outlined some challenges and interventions needed to be put in place for a stronger impact agenda, to inform the public on how lives are being affected by China’s presence across the African continent.

Joyce Njeri Kimani did a presentation assessing the impact of the China ban on Ivory in Kenya. Moraa Obiria’s presentation probed whether Kenyan farmers have benefited from Kenya-China partnerships in agricultural development. Lenah Bosibori Mokaya discussed how the Sino-Africa Joint Research Center (SAJOREC) at the Jomo Kenyatta University is in the frontlines of transforming lives in Kenya. Christabel Ligami discussed the challenges for Kenyan Macadamia farmers. Mary Mwendwa presented on the China-Kenya ties in herbal medicinal plants, and Lilian Mukoche’s topic focused on debunking fake news and its impact on the community.

The panelists made use of all the opportunities at the Conference, including Pitch Zones where two journalists, Christabel Ligami and Mary Mwendwa, were awarded grants for further support for their investigations. Christabel Ligami received the Free Trade Migration Award supported by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the AU (African Union), for which she will be publishing a feature on opportunities for women traders/entrepreneurs across borders in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

Mary Mwendwa received the Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 Award also supported by GIZ and the AU, for which she will be publishing a feature on the story behind women joining violent extremist groups in Kenya.

The Africa-China Reporting Project would like to thank AWiM and the African Union for the opportunity and platform for the development of African women in media.  

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