Curtains drawn on the 2018 Female Reporters Leadership Programme

Nineteen female journalists were, on Tuesday, 5 February 2019, confirmed as fellows at the 2018 edition of the Report Women! Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP) awards ceremony organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism at L’eola Hotel, Maryland, Lagos.

The fellows, who were selected from 199 applications received from nine countries of the world, had taken part in the fellowship training and mentoring, and had executed story and leadership projects.

The award event, which was designed for the fellows to share their experiences, lessons and probable steps moving forward,provided an opportunity to bring together stakeholders cutting across the media, civil society, public and private sector.

Present at the event were Amina Alhassan, Co-chair FRLP Alumnae;Michel Deleen, Deputy Ambassador, Netherlands Embassy, represented by Ayinde Soule, First Secretary for Economic Affairs of the Netherlands Embassy; Adewale Adebajo, Communication Manager, British Deputy High Commission; Amina Salihu, Senior Program Officer, MacArthur Foundation; and Bimbo Oloyede, veteran broadcaster.

At the event, certificates were presented to the 19 fellows, which were drawn from 16 media organisations. Prizes were alsogiven to the best three fellows based onthe aggregate points they made on the story and leadership projects they executed based on predetermined criteria by the judges panel, which were made up of a trio of mentors.

The overall winner and runner-ups were chosen after a very tough decision due to the stiff competition, as all the fellows worked on great and unique story and leadership projects. The Fellows all shared their beautiful experiences and one common thing affirmed is that the programme was an eye opener for them and has enabled them to be impactful leaders in their various newsrooms.

The awardees— Enato Isukul of Niger Delta Television, Bayelsa State (second runner-up); Ejiro Umukoro of Trend FM, Delta State (first runner-up) and Adejoke Fayemi of Raypower FM, Kaduna State (overall winner) went home with a brand new HP convertible laptop each and cash prizes of N100,000, N150,000 and N200,000 respectively.

In her opening remarks, ‘The journey to changing faces’, Motunrayo Alaka, WSCIJ Coordinator, noted that the programme was birthed as a result of the gender gap prevalent at every stratum in our patriarchal society.

She says,“The Report Women! Female Reporters’ Leadership Programme is not a take-over campaign, but an intentional gender equality advocacy. Stories need to be told from a gender lens; women need to be given a voice without being bias.”

Speaking about the impact of the fellowship on fellows, Nneka Okekearu, Deputy Director, Enterprise Development Centre, Pan-Atlantic University, who spoke on behalf of the resources persons and mentors, urged the FRLP Fellows to do more.

Some of the guests lauded the efforts of WSCIJ at equipping women to take leadership positions in the newsroom.  Adewale Adebajo, Communication Manager, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos,remarked that the Report Women! FRLP is a laudable intervention. Amina Salihu, Senior Program Officer, MacArthur Foundation recognised the efforts of the mentors for an impactful job and moved that the elderly(women) should not be forgotten.  Bimbo Oloyede, a veteran broadcaster congratulated the fellows, noting that her years as a broadcaster taught herthat nothing is quite what it seems to be.

Adeolu Adekola, WSCIJ Senior Programme Officer, in his closing remarks, emphasised that the FRLP Fellowship is making inroads into ensuring gender-balanced newsrooms. He expressed optimism that the 2019 FRLP kicking off later in the year will exceed the achievements recorded thus far.

The FRLP programme is implemented by Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), and supported by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) with the aim of equipping female reporters with such skills, finesse, support and tools they need to take leadership positions in their various media houses.

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