Denmark, April 2019 – Five young leaders of media institutions in Rwanda have completed an intensive fellowship programme in Copenhagen and returned home to apply their new skills as the country marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.
The Media4Democracy fellowship programme Strengthening Institutional Leaders in Support of Media Pluralism was undertaken in close collaboration with the EU Delegation to Rwanda. The programme aims at building the knowledge and skills of Fellows to serve as change agents to strengthen media pluralism and freedom of expression in their home country.
The Fellows spent three weeks in Copenhagen in March 2019 and were based at the Danish Union of Journalists. Media4Democracy Fellowship Coordinators, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård and Henrik Ahrens, led the group through a challenging curriculum consisting of training in leadership, project development, and management of media institutions, as well as a series of meetings with a wide range of professionals working for effective media institutions and media outlets in Denmark.
Through training and coaching, the Fellows strengthened their ability to take on the challenges of leadership within the Rwandan media sector. Mr. Ahrens, Fellowship Training Coordinator says:
“This month, Rwandans mark 25 years since a genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of people. It’s still a tremendous challenge for the society to shape a collective conscience that will enable descendants of victims and perpetrators to confront this past together. The media plays a significant role in creating a discourse and giving people a voice. Supporting freedom of media through the Media4Democracy fellowship programme can, therefore, have an immediate impact on Rwandans as they deal with the past and face their future.”
The Fellows will meet with the EU Delegation after their return to present their individual projects focused on strengthening the media institutions where they work:
The programme in Copenhagen will be followed by four months of mentoring provided by the Fellowship Coordinators to support Fellows’ ongoing efforts to share knowledge, experience and inspiration within their own organisations and across the media sector. Fellowship Coordinator Mogens Blicher Bjerregård says:
“On the return to daily life and challenges in Rwanda it can be difficult for Fellows to find time and local support to implement their new ideas inspired by the programme in Denmark. Thus, it is extremely important to assist the Fellows in maintaining the energy to implement their projects. This is why remote mentoring and coaching by the coordinators will take place regularly until the end of the project, when we will follow-up with a final mission to Rwanda to support the fellows and their projects in Rwanda”.
The first Media4Democracy fellowship was carried out in collaboration with the EU Delegation in Tanzania in 2018. The next fellowship is planned with the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan and will launch with an assessment mission to Bishkek in May to review the media institution landscape and identify potential Fellows.