Kenya

Reporting for Peace Awards: Conflict-Sensitive Journalism Celebrated in Kenya

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(December 18, 2009) "Thanks to Internews training, I understood that I have the power to transform my environment if I tell the truth in a balanced manner and with appropriate language," said radio journalist Rose Okindah.

Okindah was one of 10 journalists honored for conflict-sensitive reporting at Internews Kenya's first "Reporting for Peace" (RFP) award ceremony, held in December, recognizing the powerful work accomplished by journalists who participated in the RFP project.

Background

Internews' RFP project, launched in 2008, was a response to the post-election violence in Kenya. Journalists had stood accused of fuelling inter-ethnic hatred, but this training showed them that they could be conflict mediators. In one year, this comprehensive journalism training program has made great strides in equipping community and vernacular broadcast radio stations from Nairobi, the Rift Valley and Nyanza with the skills to cover issues of conflict, democracy and governance in an ethical and impartial manner. Journalists have gone on to produce work which demonstrably increases communities' depth of knowledge around conflict and reconciliation themes.

Awards

"The program has given me a conflict-sensitive approach that is crucial in my region, the Rift Valley," said Julius Kibet, editor of Sayare FM, a religious radio station based in Eldoret. "It has given me skills and content to produce stories with different angles."

Four journalists from Sayare FM, including Kibet, have been trained by the RFP project. "My staff has improved the balance and accuracy of reporting," Kibet said. "Moreover, they now better identify the nature of the conflicts in the area and go to the right source of information."

Kibet took home the first place for Best feature produced during Reporting for Peace (RFP) workshop. "I focused on community development organizations working to bring peace in Eldoret and the challenges they faced every day. I portrayed some leaders working to spread the message of reconciliation to the communities affected by the post election violence in 2008 and how they are seen as traitors by their own communities because of their action," Kibet explained.

Listen to Julius Kibet's winning program:

Kentis Onyatch, a freelancer from Eldoret, won the Best conflict-sensitive feature produced independently by a partner journalist. "It is so fabulous to be one of the winners of the first RFP award!" she said. "Internews has imparted something to me that was not there. I am now a real radio producer and a relevant journalist. I was made to understand and discuss conflict, to move out of my comfort zone to inform people. RFP made me have a different eye."

RFP Activities

- Conducted five workshops using a conflict-sensitive approach

- Hosted seven roundtables to facilitate knowledge and reporting amongst partner journalists

- Offered a series of five pre-recorded analytical radio reports

- Awarded 15 travel grants to journalists who have produced stories that highlight reconciliation across the country

- Journalists produced more than a 160 stories as a result of the project

The Internews "Reporting for Peace" project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.