Friday, November 14, 2014
Sadiya, working as a reporter for Radio Sahan in Puntland (an autonomous region in Somalia) explains that she was always listening to the news when she was a child. Her parents did not quite understand why, but she was determined to become a journalist. "I like being in a training with only women", she explains "as I don´t have to be shy to ask questions. At Free Press Unlimited I found out how to make accurate news items and conduct interviews and how to transfer this knowledge to my colleagues. I am looking forward to going back to my station to show what I have learned by producing better items."

For the first time since the start of Free Press Unlimited´s project in Somalia a training has been held for female journalists only. The role of female journalists in the Somali news media reflects the low status of women in general in the region's conservative society: they are often relegated to subordinate positions with limited opportunities to advance their careers. Al Shabaab, still active in large parts of the country, repeatedly forces women to quit their profession, making them and their families flee. This is why training female journalists is so important.

Since 2011 Free Press Unlimited's journalism training courses have helped to begin to support women in Somali media, leading to some uncommon examples of women succeeding as radio station directors, editors and lead reporters. The two-months long female-only training, which started in August, has been tough on the trainees: they had to get used to the daily routine of producing quality items while providing and receiving feedback constantly.

Free Press Unlimited is training Somali journalists in having an impact on their radio stations, websites and newspapers: producing better, more objective stories, creating and improving programmes and covering important issues often ignored by the Somali media.During two months trainees are made responsible for a daily radio programme, increasing their teamwork and coaching skills to a great extend. Free Press Unlimited follows-up on the training afterwards, visiting the station and coaching where needed to have a lasting impact on the quality of information in Somali society.