In a bid to develop Public Speaking Skills, take risks, dream bigger and demonstrate appropriate workplace behaviour and team work, Media Initiative for women and Girls Empowerment (MIWGEM) have urged women and girls to be creative and start something new when given the opportunity.
The first interactive and empowerment session on the topic 'Young women breaking barriers and harnessing their full potentials in the media' was held over the weekend at the head office of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.
In her welcome statement, President of MIWGEM, Adama Sillah, said the initiative was to provide Girls &Women with the opportunities to access mentors who are professionals in the field of Journalism and thus pave the way for job opportunities that would build their self-esteem and confidence.
She said young women and girls must be provided with the right skills to be exceptional in the media, thus commending her mentors and sponsors of the initiative.
Director of Communication at State House and Lecturer at Fourah Bay College,Tanu Jalloh, said to overcome challenges and earn credibility in the media landscape, one has to be convincing when writing for the public.
"I started as a cub-reporter at Concord Times with many challenges but I was not worried because I want to learn something. You have to put aside arrogance," he said, adding "Make sure you know the issue you want to report on. As Editor, it was a challenge for me but I was very lucky to climb to that ladder quickly as it wouldn't be easy for some people today'.
Jalloh observed that not everyone would be lucky as he was but they have to pursue their goals and work hard, noting that someone would only succeed through hard work.
He urged participants to take reading as their hobby if they want to be creative. He urged them to write something each time they read, thus noting that the initiative would help girls and women to express themselves without being a journalist.
Station Manager of Radio Democracy, Asmaa Kamara-James said there were numerous challenges in pursuing the course of journalism but could be overcome with persistency.
"If you believe in something, make sure you pursue it. There are so many challenges in the media but you have to be focused and persistent in doing it. What has been keeping me in my work is the commendation given me by listeners and mentors outside. It has not been easy but I will try my best to purse it," she said.
She urged that women and girls who want to pursue a course should be persistent and ask questions whenever a task is given to them.
Radio Presenter at Capital Radio, Nicky Spencer-Coker said the theme for the session was timely as there was need to empower young women and girls, noting that it was high time women knew that being in the media does not make you a journalist.
She said one can be in the media by advocating for girls and women without being a journalist.
"Not everyone will be fortunate to go to university but can communicate well. A lot need to be done in the area of educating girls and women that want to take such opportunities even though there is lot of gender disparity in the world. You have to get media talent and also the passion to do it," she said.
She encouraged participants to be excellent in English when writing and speaking as it was very important. She said the media should not be a fallback career for people but make it a point of focus.
"We want to see women as Station Managers, Television owners, Media Empire heads, camera women and many more. All of us do not have the knowledge but there is need for a mentor. We all need it. It is a purposeful time and you need to have a vision in order to progress in life. Make sure you pursue what you have in mind" she encouraged.