Africa: AU Media Fellowship - 15 AU Media Fellows Selected to Advance Africa's Agenda 2063 Through Storytelling.

press release

To ensure Africa is at the forefront of defining its own narrative and promoting the continents' development framework Agenda 2063 to African and global audiences the African Union (AU) Information and Communication Directorate (ICD) launched the African Union Media Fellowship. The Fellowship is designed to provide a unique platform for African journalists and content producers to enhance their capacity to reframe the African narrative and promote developmental journalism using new and emerging technologies.

Following the open call for the Fellowship in April 2022, over 800 applications from across Africa and the diaspora.15 Fellows were selected as the first cohort of AU Media Fellows they were chosen based on criteria of innovation and ability of their pitches to challenge harmful stereotypical narratives and shape new and balanced discourse about the continent.

The AU Media Fellows 2022 are: Aissatou Fofana (Cote D'Ivoire); Amira Sayed (Egypt) Areff Samir (South Africa); Johnson Kanamugire (Rwanda); Jeanine Fankam (Cameroun); Osei Kwame (Ghana); Yasser Machat (Tunisia); Rivonala Razafison (Madagascar); Cecelia Maundu (Kenya); Sally Nyakanyanga (Zimbabwe); Sadou Alize Mouktar (Niger); Nila Yasmin Faisal (Uganda); Severin Alega Mbele (Cameroun); Esther Namuhisa (Tanzania); Carien Du Plessis (South Africa)

The Fellowship is one of the activities being undertaken by the AU in line with the decision of the 2nd African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and Information Communication Technologies (STCCICT) 2017, at which the Ministers resolved to, promote engagement with African journalists and recognise the important role and contributions of journalists towards the achievement of Agenda 2063.

The ICD has partnered with GIZ (German Corporation for International Corporation) to implement the 2022 AU Media Fellowship programme within the framework of the AU-German Government initiative, the "Citizen Engagement and Innovative Data Use for Africa's Development (DataCipation)".

In June 2022, the AU Media Fellows undertook a 2 week study tour in Germany starting with a training offered by the Deutsche Welle Academy as well as attended the Global Media Forum in June in Bonn where they had the opportunity to be the first ever largest representation of African journalists from the continent at the forum and exchange views with media professionals, decision-makers and influencers in politics, education, culture, civil society, among others from across the world.

Phase 2 of the study tour will commence with a series of meetings to the African Union Head Quarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia followed by visit the the African Union Development Agency (AUDA- NEPAD) in South Africa. Throughout the program the fellows will receive mentorship support from media industry experts Simon Allison- the Continent, Editor in Chief ,Natasha Kimani- Africa No Filter and Tulanana Bohela - Co-founder Ona stories.

On welcoming the AU Media Fellows to the programme, Ms. Leslie Richer, the African Union Director for Information and Communication said "African journalists and content creators have a key role to play in defining Africa's narrative and how we want Africans and the world to view the continent. The AU Media Fellowship is an investment in the human capital of African journalists and storytellers to further develop their skills and help them maximise their potential to contribute to the continent's development. "I look forward to seeing the outcomes of this Fellowship as a platform for promoting Africa's Agenda 2063 and telling a balanced story about the realities of Africa's development and the opportunities for promoting socio-economic solutions that are defined and driven by Africans and benefit Africans in the digital age".

Mr. Franz von Weizsaecker, Head of Programme, Citizens Engagement and Innovative Data Use for Africa Development (DataCipation) project, reiterated German development cooperation is committed to supporting the AU in improving citizen participation through digitalisation. He noted that "digital technologies advance rapidly, and with them the emergence of news, creation of knowledge and public discourse. Never before has so much information been available so fast, to so many people, practically everywhere. In order to make use of the opportunities provided by digital transformation, we need to ensure timely access to information on public-interest issues for citizens. Only informed citizens will participate in democratic decision-making. Information is a powerful instrument, and digital technologies function as amplifiers. With our support to the African Union Media Fellowship, we aim to amplify the positive potential and empower citizens."

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