Doreen Ndeezi is a radio manager at the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, one of the Centers of Excellence for the IWMF’s Reporting on Agriculture and Women: Africa project. Ndeezi attended an IWMF Media Leaders Forum in Zambia in May during which RAWA project participants discussed successes of the project in their newsrooms.
Q: What is the status of the media in Uganda?
As far as radio is concerned, it is a very fine branch, one of the fastest growing industries because we have over 200 radio stations. And all of them, apart from Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, are privately-owned media outlets. But the profession…of broadcasting or radio broadcasting, I would say is still growing…and in general everything is young. But we have all the hope that maybe in 10, 20 years to come we can have the best.
Q: What impact has the Reporting on Agriculture and Women project sponsored by the IWMF had on you personally?
When I interfaced with this project I thought, ‘Wow, this project is asking to report about women in agriculture.’ But along the way, I’ve come to learn and feel that it is even more than that as a profession. It has led to the growth of the profession in me. And sometimes challenging issues come up when these young journalists come up and say, “Hey, look at this. We’ve done this.” …And when they bring up stories of women you feel that, ‘Well, I’ve been an editor, but probably my eye has been closed to a certain section of society that really needs support of the media, that needs to come and also showcase what [women] are doing so that they have support as far as policy is concerned. Because most policies on agriculture are looking at the bigger farmers; they’re looking at policy issues, yet they forget that these policy issues need to address the real issues of ordinary women.
Q: What changes have you observed in the newsroom of the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation in Kampala as a result of the Reporting on Agriculture and Women project sponsored by the IWMF?
Well, I would say there has been tremendous change. …Our stories have increased in terms of content, but also more and more important, the point of the stories is coming out more powerfully. And now agricultural stories are able to compete with the rest of the mainstream stories, which we have always thought are the best. Then as far as you know newsrooms survive on a team, on teamwork, and radio itself is a team. You can’t do otherwise. So…this project has helped in building more team spirit, in building more mentorship. You find…people concerned about other reporters’ performance. We feel that our reporter is trying to encourage a colleague to move on, to take an extra mile, and even it will work professionally, if others work with an objective mind without taking offense – that’s the spirit of newsroom.
But also, the equipment that we’ve got from the project has helped us to get more good quality sound stories but also to expand. Because without sound in radio then you don’t have radio; it’s about a lot of voices. So it has helped us to increase on the number of voices. Last but not least, the research, which is the paramount element in broadcasting or in any of the other work, has been enhanced. Now you find that reporters know those who are involved, the trainers, know they have to do rigorous research, go an extra mile to get as far as they can. So I think it has been a very useful project.