International Women's Media Foundation - IWMF
Reporting on Women and Agriculture: Africa has transformed the way the news media cover agriculture and rural development.
The IWMF’s initiative provided capacity assistance and training to journalists in effectively covering agriculture and the role of women in transforming food production and rural development in African countries.
Goals included raising the quantity and quality of reporting on farming and rural development, focusing more of the reporting on the importance of women to the economics of rural areas and creating more gender equality in newsrooms. The project also highlighted the critical role women play in agriculture and rural development.
Sowing the Seeds
The IWMF conducted quantitative and qualitative research in 2008 on how the media cover agriculture, rural development and women in three target countries:
Key findings from the study were:
Even though agriculture plays a crucial role for
§ Whether female or male, farmers’ voices are seldom heard in agricultural coverage. In the agricultural stories monitored, 70 percent of the sources were government officials and experts/professionals. Only 20 percent were farmers and other rural, agricultural workers.
Women are almost invisible in the media. Even though women produce
70 percent of food in sub-Saharan
Partnering with Local Media
After conducting the research, the IWMF chose media outlets to partner with in
Read a Q & A with the managing editor of The Times of Zambia.
Launching the Project
In February 2009, the IWMF launched Reporting on Women and Agriculture: Africa in
The IWMF provided on-site instruction and mentoring of editors and journalists, empowers women journalists and helps increase coverage of women’s issues. Experienced local trainers who are well-versed on the topic of agriculture and rural development conduct the training.
Changing the Media Landscape
The Reporting on Women and Agriculture project changed the information landscape in the focus countries –
Field trips are a key component of the training approach. John Phiri, managing director of the Times of Zambia, told the IWMF that he has “noticed reporters are doing more research and getting out of the city and into the rural areas to gather information.” According to Edward Muzaga of the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, “this unique project is bringing a much overlooked topic into national prominence as journalists broaden their knowledge of women and rural communities.” In
Journalists had been doing basic reporting and conducting field trips in groups, but the next phase of activities will emphasize one-on-one interaction with farmers and strengthen journalists’ capacity to do investigative pieces.