Leveraging Female Journalist Mentorship For Professional Development

“Mentorship is the art of unlocking potential by guiding individuals through open doors.” Caroline Ghosn

Embracing this philosophy, the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, Kenya chapter, has, for the past six years, championed a transformative platform for female journalists in Kenya. 

Handpicked from diverse universities nationwide, aspiring female journalists are granted a unique opportunity to undergo a year-long mentorship programme, pairing them with dedicated mentors to sculpt their professional paths.

The recent graduation ceremony on November 16th, 2023, marked the culmination of the fifth cohort, evoking emotions of gratitude and evident growth among the mentees.

Throughout the year-long program, the mentees actively participated in a spectrum of activities, including tailored training sessions and capacity-building programs, fostering an environment for self-creation guided by the wisdom gleaned from their mentors.

At the closing ceremony, Carla Benini, Counsellor of Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Nairobi, underscored the pivotal role of nurturing and empowering young journalists in fortifying democracy. “A strong media equals a strong democracy,” she emphasised. Such mentorship programmes encourage young professionals to fully venture into and commit to their professions and serve as the much-needed connective tissue between the government and the people for journalism professionals.

In today’s era of digitalization, Pamella Sittoni, Group Managing Editor at Nation Media Group, emphasized the relevance of journalism studies and its critical role in societal discourse. ‘The media is needed today more than ever to hold power to account and to give voice to the voiceless and as catalysts to positive change,’ she articulated.

As guardians of truth and information, the mentees were urged to uphold unwavering professionalism amidst the evolving media landscape. The lifetime award-winning mentor sensitised all to uphold their values of hard work, integrity, respect, and honesty in their professions.

This programme, generously supported by the US Embassy in Nairobi, stands as a pivotal catalyst for transformation among female journalists. Faculty members from participating institutions attest to the programme’s tangible impact, acknowledging the remarkable strides made by mentored students across various spheres in the media industry.

Rachael Nakitare, the programme coordinator, encouraged all to embrace mentorship as a lifelong pursuit, urging all mentees to perpetuate this spirit.

In conclusion, the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) stands as a beacon of empowerment and mentorship for aspiring women in the media industry.

Josephine Karani, the Chairperson of the IAWRT-Kenya chapter, extends hearty congratulations to the fifth cohort from Maseno and Kibabii Universities, urging them to embark on their professional journeys with determination and excellence. As Mercy Njoroge, a dedicated mentor, reflects on the rewarding experience of paying it forward, she emphasizes the significance of sustained mentorship from sponsors and the IAWRT fraternity.

This collective effort is vital in nurturing and empowering the next generation of women in media, fostering a legacy of resilience, leadership, and innovation within the industry.

IWART’S Cohort 5 Closing Ceremony

By Raylenne Kambua,

Digital Media Associate, IAWRT-Kenya

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