Ghana, Accra. – [June 4, 2020] – Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise that advocates for digital rights and inclusion in Africa has announced the selection of four African journalists for the third edition of its Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship. The media fellowship attracted 430 applications from 30 countries in 2020.
“The Digital Rights and Inclusion Fellowship continues to set the standard in skill development for African journalists. Our Fellows exhibit exceedingly high standards of commitment to digital rights and digital inclusion reporting in their countries – encapsulating the spirit of Paradigm Initiative,” said Emmanuel Vitus, Paradigm Initiative’s Communications Officer and manager of the fellowship.
Speaking on the development, Paradigm Initiative’s Digital Rights Program Officer for Southern Africa and member of the Fellowship Program Selection Committee, Bulanda Nkhowani said, “This year’s application pool is among the largest received and we continue to be inspired by the high-calibre candidates that the program attracts.”
“We are excited about the quality of applications the fellowship attracted in its third year despite the current challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bulanda said.
Each year since its inaugural fellowship in 2018, Paradigm Initiative selects a group of diverse and accomplished journalists from a competitive applicant pool to partake in the fellowship program, a 5-month intensive embedded learning experience. So far 4 journalists from Ghana, Nigeria and Lesotho have benefited from this robust and transformative experience.
This year’s cohort includes four journalists from 3 countries:
- Shaban Abdur Rahman Alfa, Digital Journalist at Africanews, Republic of Congo
- Khalifa Said, Bilingual freelance journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Sinatou Saka, Journalist & Editorial Project Manager at Radio France International, France
- Abisola Olasupo, Multimedia journalist at The Guardian newspaper, Nigeria
This class of 2020 fellows will convene for the first time on June 9, 2020 for an orientation webinar, where they will participate in orientation and training sessions conducted by the Paradigm Initiative leadership team. The orientation will be followed by executive training programs and online collaboration with Paradigm Initiative offices in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Each fellow will be tasked to write stories about digital rights and digital inclusion, and also eligible for a legacy in-depth reporting project that will leverage the skills they learned to inform their audience.
About the 2020 Fellows:
Abisola Olasupo is a Multimedia Journalist currently working with The Guardian Nigeria. As a journalist, she has written news, politics, features and lifestyle articles which have been published on The Guardian website and newspaper. Apart from writing articles, she is a seasoned scriptwriter, producer and presenter for Guardian TV. Abisola has presented and produced reports, shows and documentaries on Guardian’s digital TV channels. She has keen interest in Nigeria, Africa and global affairs. Abisola loves telling human interest stories and also exploring new cultures when she travels. Abisola has also attended training and workshops which have shaped her two years of working as a digital journalist. Abisola holds a B.A. in English from University of Ibadan.
Abdur Rahman Shaban Alfa, is a digital journalist with Africanews – a bilingual pan-African channel operating from Pointe Noire in the Republic of Congo. Born and grew up in Accra, Ghana, Shaban dreamed of being a radio journalist till he eventually landed in print journalism after graduating from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. He worked with a private newspaper, the New Crusading GUIDE, before transiting to documentary filmmaking for five years. Shaban landed in online journalism five years ago and has since gone on to consolidate his expertise in what is a fast-paced and challenging but thrilling journalism space. With his current role as the Head of English Digital at Africanews, Shaban enjoys coverage that features an engaging mix of hard news, sports, business, technology and lifestyle content from an African perspective. He is tech savvy and a social media enthusiast.
Sinatou Saka is a Beninese journalist and editorial project manager at Radio France Internationale. She is the coordinator of the RFI Challenge App Afrique project, a digital innovation competition whose objective is to promote the emergence of the smart city in Africa through the development of mobile applications or any other digital service that improves the quality of urban services or reduces their costs. Sinatou Saka is the founder of Idémi, a platform that promotes and helps create digital media in African languages on the web. Sinatou Saka began her career at ORTB, the Beninese state-run radio and television, before leading the digital transformation of the country’s state news agency. Before joining RFI in France, Sinatou worked as Editor-in-chief of the France-based magazine Afrikarchi.
Khalifa Said is a bilingual freelance journalist based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He has built himself a reputation in the country’s media landscape pursuing stories that many consider risky given Tanzania’s political situation, all for the sake of holding the government accountable. Said is a graduate of Tumanini University College in Dar es Salaam with a B.A degree in Mass Communications. Said worked for The Citizen, Tanzania’s leading English newspaper, for three years both as a feature and political reporter where he had the opportunity to familiarize himself with the country’s inner workings of its political as well as social and economic systems. Said has written extensively on Tanzania’s political development as well as providing countless feature stories as assigned by my senior covering issues of citizenship, politics, good governance, digital rights, human rights, and sometimes even global and regional political affairs. Said’s works have also appeared in major and regional publications like The Elephant and Africa is a Country, where he has chronicled Tanzania’s developments especially in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the Digital Rights and Inclusion Fellowship
The Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion Media Fellowship seeks to embed media professionals within the daily work of Paradigm Initiative in the fields of digital rights and digital inclusion in Africa. The fellowship seeks to expose media professionals to an underreported field of work in national/regional developments and hopes to increase reporting on digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The fellowship is designed to immerse outstanding mid-career journalists in digital rights and digital inclusion advocacy, and intervention efforts – in Africa.
About Paradigm Initiative
Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls. The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Nairobi, Kenya (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.
Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013.
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