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The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is a global non-profit professional organisation of women working in media, technology and allied fields. It is a powerful global network of media practitioners, with an international board and a growing number of chapters (14) that serve to tackle issues at regional and local country levels. IAWRT strives to meet the urgent global challenges faced by women in and around the media.
The IAWRT Kenya chapter has over 200 members spread across media houses, training institutions, communication entities and other like-minded civil society organisations. It received its charter to operate as a local chapter in 2005. One of its core objectives is to support the professional development of members through exchange of ideas, experiences and technical knowledge, which in turn is utilised as media skills to ensure that women’s concerns, views and values are an integral part of media. Some of its activities have included thematic research on women’s rights online and gender mainstreaming in the media, training women leaders and journalists on digital safety, capacity building for rural women on media literacy, coaching and mentoring female journalism students from public universities, production of documentaries, and networking with like-minded organisations on numerous issues, especially human rights.
APCNews spoke to Racheal Nakitare at IAWRT-K to find out more about the organisation's priorities and why it has joined the APC member network.
APCNews: Why did you decide to join the APC network?
Racheal Nakitare: IAWRT’s interest in working more closely with APC stems back to 2013-2014 when IAWRT Kenya partnered with APC to map cases of gender-based online violence against women under the Take Back the Tech campaign. The APC team trained our members on online safety, prompting IAWRT Kenya to identify gaps in curbing online violence and in turn contribute immensely to the establishment of the cybercrime law in Kenya. The team engaged with law enforcement officers, legislators, local leaders and media at different levels, sensitising them on online violence trends and equipping them with the requisite skills to ensure their safety online.
IAWRT-K recognises APC's strategic priorities, especially those that aim to enhance the participation of minority groups, especially women, to have a say in matters of their lived realities, eliminate exclusion, discrimination and inequalities that hold women from attaining their full potential, as well as the recognition of the internet as a public good. IAWRT-K has carried out extensive work on online violence against women and the intersections between online and offline violence. We believe that we will be able to tap into the expertise of APC's network members and collaborate on various approaches to ending online violence.
On the collaborative research carried out to establish Women's Rights Online, IAWRT-K with other partners established online violence as one of the main deterrents for women embracing technology. We believe that APC provides the perfect platform for collaborative as well as comparative research with like-minded partners across the globe, thus building synergies towards building evidence for policy development. Furthermore, the knowledge and experiences shared during conferences and other forums where the findings are shared go a long way in imparting the required skills and strategies of emulatable practices.
Many of APC's strategic priorities resonate well with IAWRT-K'S objectives as an organisation, thus providing a much-required opportunity for partnership through networking.
APCNews: What do you think you can contribute as a member? And what do you expect from APC?
Racheal Nakitare: As members of APC, we believe we will use our expertise in media and communication to amplify the good work being carried out by APC members, through different media channels. Having worked with APC in the past, we recognise the rich networking opportunities for us as well as the possibility of building synergy on common issues through advocacy and partnerships.
IAWRT-K boasts of communication and dissemination expertise. We believe APC will provide the required experts (resource persons) in technology and policy development for IAWRT-K to help break down tech jargon and demystify technology for easy consumption by the public. This will include speaking truth to power on matters of public good.