International Day of Democracy and our Investigative 101 Training
The Deep Dive 43rd Edition.
The International Day of Democracy is celebrated worldwide on 15 September each year. It was established through a resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy. This year, Africa Uncensored is collaborating with our partner ForumCiv to organise the International Day of Democracy. The event will take place at Nairobi National Museum on 15th September 2023.
This this day serves as an opportunity to promote and uphold the principles of democracy worldwide. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of democratic governance, encouraging citizen participation, and foster dialogue among stakeholders to strengthen democratic institutions. This year’s theme, "Democracy, Happiness for All" brings attention to the idea that democracy and individual well-being are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. This event will feature engaging panel discussions, expert insights, networking opportunities, and much more.
Africa Uncensored’s Product and Operations Manager Cathy Muema on the Investigate 101 Trainings
In the ever-evolving landscape of journalism, staying ahead of the curve is not just a choice but also a necessity. Our trainings such as Investigate 101, Climate fellowship and the Financial Investigative Journalism Training Program have been empowering journalists with on demand skills to help them enrich their storytelling while addressing their audience needs.
We have forged valuable partnerships with organizations such as ForumCiv, Hivos East Africa Journalists for Human Rights , The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR) and National Endowment for Democracy . These collaborations have enabled us to enrich our training programs and expand our network of journalists.
Our approach to training is continuous and we regularly assess the training needs of the journalists. This ensures that our programs are tailored to address specific gaps and emerging trends. We collaborate with industry experts, seasoned journalists, and specialists to conduct our training sessions. Their insights and experiences are invaluable.
As a product and operations manager at Africa Uncensored, I am thrilled to share with you, our journey to enhance the capacities of journalists in Kenya and East Africa. Through strategic training initiatives, we've made significant contributions to the growth of investigative journalism in Kenya.
As we continue to invest in the growth and development of journalists, we are excited about the future of journalism. We believe that well-trained journalists are not just reporters but also guardians of truth, democracy, and justice. Our journey of training is a testament to our commitment to quality journalism and our dedication to serving journalists, our audiences, with integrity and authenticity.
Investigate 101-Training and Mentorship by Cynthia Gichiri, AFRICA UNCENSORED.
I am excited about mentoring my fellow journalists through the investigate 101 programme of which I am a beneficiary. Thanks to the training I received in November 2019, I have seen myself grow immensely as a journalist. Being part of the programme with my mentor, Tom Rhodes, makes it even more interesting. I am eager to share the knowledge I have gained and empower my colleagues in the media industry.
Francis Odee’s on the Investigate 101 Training
Investigative training done by Africa Uncensored will help me to enhance my skills and knowledge in uncovering untold stories that matter to the country and the people. I will be able to access more resources, tools, and networks that will enable him to conduct deeper and more rigorous investigations.
I will also be able to improve my storytelling techniques and reach a wider audience through different platforms and join a vibrant community of journalists who share my vision and values of telling the real Africa – unfiltered and unapologetic.
Francis Odee is an award-winning investigative reporter focusing on health and social issues in Kenya. He works for The Standard Media Group KTN News, a privately owned television station based in Nairobi. He has contributed to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, an international media organization that supports journalists in conflict-affected countries. He has also won the African Journalist Gender Equality Award from FEMNET, a pan-African women's rights network, for his reporting on women's issues.
Francis Odee is passionate about exposing the truth and holding the powerful accountable.
Ngina Kirori on the Investigate 101 Training
In the letter I wrote to Africa Uncensored as part of the requirements of joining the Investigative 101 training, I mentioned that I wanted to be part of the program to unlock the deep skillset behind investigative journalism in the spirit of upholding integrity in the quest to tell the truth.
What a lot of people don't know about Investigative journalism, as pointed out by one of our facilitators Tom Rhodes, is that it's not what a lot of people see in the movies. It's not somebody being involved in car chases, it's not the instant gratification that comes with unearthing what an individual or a group of individuals want hidden. Sometimes it's a long, labourous and heart wrenching process, especially when you see the damage a set of actions has inflicted on people.
I am extremely grateful that the Africa Uncensored training brought these realities to life. They didn't paint a prettier picture of what Investigative journalism is.
A hidden gem came out of our data journalism training coupled with a session on fact checking. Learning the array of tools and methods at our disposal made the experience phenomenal. Of course, the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) came up for debate. Friend or foe? Well it may be a little bit of both, but the saying "if you can't beat them, join them," comes into play. In order to utilize AI, all we need to do is understand it. Because undoubtedly it will never be able to mimick the added touch of humanity we put in our stories which is a strength we all need to utilize for the greater good.
During one of the training sessions, John Allan Namu asked us what democracy is. "The right to a free fair society." One person answered. "Freedom of speech" said another. While these answers were true, John Allan Namu said something that tied together the principles of investigative journalism and democracy into a synchronized knot "it's the right to a destiny."
Halima Gongo on the Investigate 101 Training
In the bustling core of Nairobi, from July 27th to 29th, 2023, I embarked on a journey that would forever change my perspective on investigative journalism. The Financial Investigative Journalism Training program, hosted by the Africa Uncensored , was not just an educational endeavor. It was a transformative experience that left me armed with a newfound arsenal of skills and knowledge to unravel the tangled web of corruption, mismanagement, and breaches of public finance ethics.
The training gave me some top-level skills to dig deep into the nitty-gritty of public fund management. You know, those juicy stories hiding behind the numbers and spreadsheets? I can now decode them,no more half-baked stories for me! thanks to the investigative research methods and techniques I picked up.
The training laid a solid foundation by immersing us (ten journalists from different counties) in the crucial principles and ethics of investigative journalism. It served as a stark reminder of our sacred duty as journalists to unearth the truth and hold those in power accountable.
Under the guidance of experts like Mr. Jaindi Kisero and Purity Mukami we dove headfirst into the intricate world of investigative research methods, encompassing data analysis and source verification. These skills are nothing short of indispensable in today's intricate landscape of journalism.
Along the way, Mr. Kisero not only showed us the ropes of journalism but also gave us a sneak peek into the intriguing world of procurement. With his boundless enthusiasm, it was as if he had a second career as a procurement maestro. And yes, his famous quote, "comme çi comme ça," still added that touch of whimsy to our lessons.
Procurement knowledge and finance are important to not only investigative journalists. As journalists understaning procurement processes and finance allows us to follow the money trail and hold individuals and organizations accountable for their actions,I think alot of misappropriation of funds happen in governments and organizations because they know not so many people are keen to follow up their trails.
Speaking of game changers, the introduction to tools like Tabula and Aleph was nothing short of revolutionary. These instruments have metamorphosed the way I handle numbers, offering a safe haven for my work, guarded against prying eyes. Data confusion and sleepless nights over potential leaks are now relics of the past.
This training didn't merely bestow me with skills, it gifted me the unshakeable confidence to tackle even the most complex of stories. As we emerged from those three days, we strode out with our heads held high, brimming with the swagger of seasoned professionals.I firmly believe that every journalist, at some point, should pry open the financial vaults, especially within county governments. There's a world of untold stories waiting to be uncovered, and it's the duty of journalists to wield this power.
The provision of limited grants for story development and publication was a monumental boost. It empowered us to pursue investigative projects that may have otherwise languished due to financial constraints.
However, what made this training stand out was Africa Uncensored's dedication to being all-inclusive. They rolled out the welcome mat for grassroots journalists, the real underdogs in the media world. We the county-based Journalists are the Sherlock Holmes of local stories. We were finally equipped with the secret sauce and the magic wand we needed to let our voices boom through the megaphone of journalism. I hope such training are done frequently to empower journalists and make them have morale of wanting to do more or dig more.
This training has undeniably reshaped my career as a journalist. Learning from eexperts, networking with like-minded professionals, has been a privilege. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to Africa Uncensored for this exceptional opportunity and their unwavering dedication to promoting transparency and accountability through investigative journalism. I eagerly anticipate putting my newfound skills to work in the pursuit of truth and justice. The world better watch out I'm armed with the power of financial journalism, and I'm not afraid to use it.
Daniel Kipchumba on the Investigate 101 Training
Getting an opportunity to be trained by Africa Uncensored was one of the most sought after chance that came for me this year 2023. The trainers were seasoned and informed in their areas of expertise and imparted the knowledge well. Data scrapping skill gained through the training helped me to quickly pick important information that I needed from relevant documents, while story approach skills from the same training assisted me in producing my story without raising eyebrows from the authorities.
The training not only helped me produce a story on utilization of Covid-19 funds in the counties successfully, but also networked with journalists from different counties and now we are working on collaborative stories from Elgeyo Marakwet and Mombasa.