Arild Drivdal, Senior Technical Adviser at Associação h2n, writes about a new project to boost reporting on gender issues and women empowerment in Mozambique.

Sheila Mafuiane is a Media Specialist at Association h2n, a Mozambican organisation focused on communication, media and advocacy, is excited by a new reporting stipend initiative aimed to support journalists reporting on gender equality and women’s empowerment issues. “The stipend initiative is a starting point for us to help re-shape the reporting on gender issues,” explains Sheila. The initiative will provide an estimated 50 small grants in the $500-1,000 range to enable motivated journalists to report on gender equality from new angles and with more depth than typically happens today. “These stipends are awarded in six-month cycles, and the journalists are mentored on both gender equality issues and journalism during the grant period,” says Sheila.

The reporting stipend initiative is however only one component of a comprehensive program to promote gender equality in the media carried out by h2n with funding from the Canadian government, under the auspices of its Feminist International Assistance Policy. “It is a key objective for us to increase the number of women journalists and women in leadership positions within the media sector,” explains Sheila. This is achieved through gender-responsiveness trainings, targeted gender fellowship programs, systematic work with journalism programmes at universities, media content development and strengthening of social and professional networks for female media professionals. The Gender Fellowships, which are year-long mentorship programmes for emerging journalists, are key to this comprehensive approach.

Sheila Mafuiane, Media Specialist at h2n, leads the organization’s effort to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in the media sector. The media team works to increase the number of women in the media sector and improve the quality of information.

“As an organisation, h2n benefits from the fact that we produce our own television and radio programs, as well as podcasts and a wide range of educational content,” says Catia Mangue, a former television producer and presenter and current Media Specialist working on the same effort. “This m/eans we can integrate gender content and topics into existing programs or trainings as a natural extension of our current work,” says Catia. The link to journalism training programs is particularly important, as h2n and its sister organisation Mídia Lab work closely with ECA and ESJ, the two leading journalism schools in the country. “The fact that the directors of these institutions are also our board members gives us a natural connection to build gender awareness in journalism students and graduates,” explains Catia, who stresses the importance of the close collaboration between h2n and Midia Lab, a partnership where h2n has a predominant focus on community-based communication, while Midia Lab is championing innovative and practice-oriented journalist training programs.

“With the support we have from Canada in this area, our goal is to increase the number of women in the media and to help outlets provide accurate, effective and evidence-based information about gender equality issues,” says Sheila. She feels confident that working with gender in the media will help address harmful gender stereotypes and misconceptions, strengthen the voices of women, and overcome barriers that prevent the full participation of women in society.