Building capacity of journalists on gender-sensitive reporting and cooperative businesses

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Addressing gender inequalities is critical for sustainable development and is prioritized as the 5th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). In response to the documented rise of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the challenges faced by women due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Communities through the USAID’s Cooperative Leadership Engagement, Advocacy and Research (CLEAR) Program has developed a series of training modules on the role of cooperatives in advancing gender equality, gender mainstreaming in cooperatives and in the home, and combating GBV.

The role of the media is critical in advocating for gender mainstreaming, the reduction of GBV and overcoming gender bias and stereotypes in Kenya, especially among cooperatives and other business sectors. Unfortunately the presence of attitudinal and cognitive biases by journalists has been documented globally thus demonstrating a need for additional training and awareness.

Global Communities’ conducted a training session on gender-sensitive reporting and the role of cooperative businesses in gender equality. The training was co-hosted and the attendees were selected by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK). These sessions are designed to help journalists understand the role of cooperatives in creating an opportunity for social and economic advancement of women, families and the community.

“Gender issues affect every aspect of our lives and the society in general. If we need to reduce poverty, sustain development and attain good governance, then we must make gender-issues part of our daily conversation and overcome the barriers that impede equality.” Said Fredrick Nyagah, Gender Technical Specialist-CLEAR Program

This engagement utilized CLEAR’s Good Governance and Gender Equity curriculum designed to encourage attitudinal and cognitive behavior change of participants to become more aware and sensitive to the impact of gender stereotyping and biases. These modules were able to be used as a lens to discuss how gender stereotypes and biases can be positively impacted through media.

“With the Constitution providing for economic, social and cultural tights for all Kenyans, it is imperative that we extend the gender debate from the civil and political sphere to other equally important areas such as the cooperative sector so that we create the required critical mass for the desired social change.” Stated MCK’s Victor Bwire.

“This training is an eye opener. It’s given me fresh perspective on gender sensitive reporting.” Said Fred Kai, one of the twenty five journalists who underwent the training conducted on 8th-9th June, 2021. The participants were drawn from over 10 media houses.

Through this series of training, CLEAR hopes that the journalists are better equipped with knowledge and skills to effectively report on gender issues without any biases and use their unique space to promote the role of cooperatives in advancing gender equality.