Jaime Little | July 2, 2018
Three African journalists working in partnership with Farm Radio International are on their way to The Netherlands to take part in a training course on international agricultural journalism. Koleta Makulwa from Tanzania, Williams Moi from Uganda, and Jefferson Massah from Liberia are among just 10 journalists from around the world selected to participate in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ Corteva Agriscience Master Class, from July 7 to 9, 2018.
The IFAJ is a non-profit professional association for agricultural journalists in 45 countries. The training will cover best practices in journalism, press freedom issues, interviewing skills, leadership, and networking, and include farm visits and reporting workshops.
Ms. Makulwa produces and presents farmer programs at Radio Free Afrika, one of Farm Radio’s partner stations in northwestern Tanzania. She also writes about agriculture, science, and technology for several publications.
She applied to attend the IFAJ training to learn more about farming and technology, and to see with her own eyes how The Netherlands has developed its agriculture sector.
She says the master class is also an opportunity to talk about press freedom with colleagues from around the world: “I am mostly interested in presentations on freedom of the press because, as a journalist, I need a policy that protects me and gives me freedom of expression.”
Mr. Moi writes for Barza Wire, Farm Radio’s weekly agriculture news service, as well as the North Eastern Media Peace Initiative in Uganda. He submitted some of his Barza Wire stories as part of his application to attend the IFAJ congress, and was surprised by the feedback. He says: “According to the IFAJ Global office, they recommended my stories as inspiring, which stunned me because I did not know that what I was doing is inspiring communities around the world.”
Mr. Moi says that, through his work with Barza Wire’s bureau chief in Malawi, he has improved his agricultural reporting and writing.
He adds: “Little did I know that my hard work in reporting agricultural stories for Barza would earn me a living…. This congress is so important to me that I will dramatically, endlessly, and tremendously improve my knowledge, style of reporting, specialization in agriculture… network with world journalists, build capacity for my organization, make friends with others, and also lobby donors.”
Mr. Moi plans to discuss potential sponsorship and training opportunities with donor organizations and universities represented at the congress.
Mr. Massah also writes for Barza Wire, and works as a community radio advisor and trainer for the Liberia Media Development Program. In 2015, he won a George Atkins Communications Award from Farm Radio for his outstanding contributions to health and agriculture programming at Radio Gbarnga.
He is particularly interested in attending sessions about using information and communications technologies (ICTs) in agricultural extension work, and on sustainable agricultural practices that can help small-scale farmers adapt to climate change.
He is hoping to develop his skills not only as a journalist, but also as a media leader to support community radio stations back home in Liberia.
Mr. Massah adds: “Since benefiting from Farm Radio’s first online course in 2009, I developed a deep passion for agriculture journalism and this has certainly prepared me to make groundbreaking accomplishments in development communication for the past nine years as an African producer.”
Following the two-day training, the journalists will also attend the IFAJ’s annual congress July 11-15, along with delegates from more than 40 countries.