Scroll Top

Pan African Agricultural Journalists Network Gets New Leadership

In a quest to improve agricultural journalism on the African continent and ensure vibrancy of the sector, country guilds of the Pan African Agricultural Journalists Network recently convened a special congress to elect a new core of officers to manage the continental agricultural journalism body.

Those elected  among peers to conduct the affairs of the Pan African Agricultural Journalists Network for the next three year include; Jefferson Massah of the Liberia Agricultural Journalists Network as President,  Abdallah el-Kurebe from Nigeria, Vice President. Others are Grace Musimami from Uganda, Secretary; John Baptiste from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Assistant Secretary and Beene Mujala from Zambia, Treasurer.

The Pan-African Agricultural Journalists Network (PAAJON) was established in Lagos, Nigeria in 2017 as a not-for-profit, non-religious and non-political organization to, among other things, promote ethics, freedom of the press and professional development for its member in country guilds or associations of agricultural journalists and communicators in the African continent.

PAAJON coordinates country guilds or associations of professional agricultural journalists and communicators through education, networking, fellowship and communication in the African continent’s agricultural sector. It supports free flow of information that serves agricultural audiences, including smallholder farmers, agribusinesses and other agriculture sector development organization on the African continent.

The leadership of Pan African Agricultural Journalists Network envisages a new roadmap that will enhance professional quality of agricultural journalism on African continent through initial steps by rebranding the organization to gain the needed attraction with key sector actors at the continental and sub-regional levels. “We intend to improve the branding and visibility of the PAAJON in the first year of our leadership. This is very important for the ambitious plan we have    for the network while driving towards vibrancy,” Jefferson Massah, President of the Pan African Agricultural Journalists Network Stressed.

According to the Pan African Journalists Network presidency, another point of concentration for the new leadership will be the expansion of membership base of the network across the African continent beyond the current threshold of sixteen (16) registered guilds spread across west, east, south and central Africa. This will involve mass membership outreach campaign among journalists reporting on agriculture and rural development issues in countries that are not yet member of the network.

As the part of the institutional transformation plan for the PAAJON,  the leadership is also determined  to engage with large scale partnership and collaboration on the continent  that will  foster  professional development  for members of network through  training and other capacity development support over a long period of time.

“One of the key objectives of this current team is to strengthen synergy with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists on global agricultural journalism initiatives.  There will be a lot to achieve if we forge consolidated effort with the IFAJ particularly when it comes to professional development opportunities for members.  We will encourage our member guilds to utilize the buddy system introduced at the IFAJ to get connected with other guilds outside of Africa. These efforts could mean a lot in driving our network stronger,” Massah emphasized.

Capacity Development for African Agriculture Journalists

Media report on agriculture development in Africa is rare with few radio stations and newspapers providing limited space and air time for agriculture information.  These media report largely concentrate either on the successes or challenges of smallholder farmers without offering an alternative means of educating farmers through their broadcast and publications.

Knowledge gap among African journalists to professionally report on agriculture development is a major contributing factor responsible for the media not reporting much about the sector.

Most journalists reporting on agriculture activities in Africa are yet to transition from the conventional journalism practice to a more specialized style of reporting due to capacity challenge.

In rural, community radio stations report on agriculture activities but it is not done regular, despite their proximity to farming communities. This can be attributed to lack of skills and knowledge to produce an informative regular agriculture radio program and lack of tools including resource materials to perform their tasks.  These are some of the problems Pan African Journalists Network intends to tackle as part of the immediate interventions.

Brief Bios of PAAJON Executives

Jefferson Massah, President, Liberia

Jefferson Massah is an international award-winning agriculture journalist, media development specialist and communications for development expert with more than 15 years of professional experience in agricultural journalism and communications. He is an executive committee member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists and he represents the Liberia Agricultural and Environmental Journalists Network at the IFAJ.

In 2015, Jefferson won the prestigious George Atkins Communications Award from Farm Radio International based in Ottawa, Canada. The award is given to African radio producers for exceptional reporting in providing information to smallholder farmers through participatory radio campaigns. He is the first Liberian journalist to receive the award.

Jefferson holds a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Development Studies from Cuttington University, Liberia. He earned international training certificates in media studies and development communications from United States, Canada, Netherlands and Italy.

Abdallah el-Kurebe, Vice President, Nigeria

Abdallah el-Kurebe, an investigative journalist is publisher of ASHENEWS and Vice President of PAAJON. A Media Fellow, Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA), he has multiple awards including  B4FA Best Body of Work -In Depth Coverage; Finalist, OFAB Nigeria Media Awards 2017; Best Agric Biotech Reporter (Print), OFAB Nigeria Media Awards 2017 and 1st Runner-up (Print & Online Category) OFAB Africa Media Awards (OMAS) 2017.

Specializes in science, agriculture, and health and environment journalism and is a member of Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (MESHA); member, African Federation of Science Journalists (AFSJ); member of the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ); and Registrar, Society of Digital Newspapers Owners of Nigeria (SDNON).

Grace Musimami, Secretary General, Uganda

Grace Musimami, Holds a Master’s of Development Journalism (Nkumba University), a Bachelor of Science Environmental Management from Makerere University Kampala, Certificate in Agro ecology (RUCID), diploma in Journalism (WrenMedia Insitute UK), Post Graduate Certificate in Agriculture Extension from Rambol Natura institute (Sweden) and has held various leadership roles for farmer organizations. He is director of Farmers Media Uganda a specialized agriculture communication organization.

He has been a member of various Boards including Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) and Uganda Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (UFAAS) for close to six years. Formerly a President of the Agricultural Journalists Association of Uganda (AJAU) and Secretary General for the Network for Agricultural Journalists in Eastern and Southern Africa.(NAJESA) Grace is an awardee of the prestigious “2014 Africa Year of Agriculture Champion Award” by Africa Union Commission (Durban2014), He is coordinator of the African Union-NEPAD CAADP Journalist Network. He is a member of NEPAD Agenda 2063 Network. .Grace has just been voted the Secretary General Pan African Agriculture Journalists Association.

Grace’s interest lies in advocacy for round model inclusive extension systems. And these can only be attained through collaborative media bodies and enabling a good working environment for Agriculture extension platforms.

John Baptiste, Assistant Secretary, Democratic Republic of Congo

Holds a bachelor’s degree in communication of organizations at the University of CEPROMAD in the DRC. Since 2006, he is responsible for communication, information and education at the Federation of Organizations of Agricultural Producers of Congo, FOPACNK. In 2018, he was appointed as National Coordinator of the Association of Agricultural Journalists of Congo, AJAC. His is the Access Agriculture ambassador in DR Congo for better agricultural production.

Beene Mujala, Treasurer, Zambia,

Ms. Beene Mujala is versatile development journalist employed in the department of National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS), a media branch of the ministry of agriculture.

 

A holder of a Bachelor of Communication Science Degree, Ms Mujala is currently pursuing her master of arts in mass communication.

In 2019, after being instrumental in the formation and registration of the Zambia Green Writers and Communicators Network (ZGWCN), a guild affiliated to the IFAJ, she was elected as President of the network.

Ms Mujala possesses over 18 years of practical experience in journalism, public relations and development communication. She has built a solid reputation as a seasoned Communications practitioner having worked as publicity officer under the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) between 2007 and 2011. The NCC was the apex body set by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) to review the Republican Constitution.

Also in this newsletter….

18 Nov: Save the Date and Join us in Mexico 22-27 February

The Asociación Mexicana de Periodistas y Directores de Medios Agripecuarios (AMEXMA) is organizing a press tour and hosting the 2023 winter meeting of the IFAJ Executive 22 to 27 February in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

18 Nov: A Message from President Lena Johansson

The world is in a way small, but if you take advantage of the opportunity to network it makes your horizons and your preferences wider.

18 Nov: IFAJ/Corteva Master Class Application Deadline Extended to December 31

The IFAJ/Corteva Master Class Program provides training and networking through on-site streaming sessions, in-person classroom workshops, and assignments.

18 Nov: IFAJ Star Prize Entries Will Open January 10, 2023

Start preparing for a great opportunity: to be chosen as the best in the world in your specialty!

18 Nov: IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Program Nominations Will Open December 27

Each IFAJ member guild can submit one nominee for the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leader Award. Applications will be due by January 30, 2023.

18 Nov: AMEDAR/ BGAJ: A week of sharing experiences and discoveries in Guinea

At the invitation of Alpha Ousmane Souaré of the Association Média et Agriculture pour le Développement Rural (AMEDAR/Guinée), a member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, five (5) journalists from the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists (BGAJ) went on a journey of discovery and experience sharing in Guinea

18 Nov: Federation of Nepalese Agriculture Journalist (NFAJ) Merger for a Collective Campaign

One of IFAJ’s newest members is a federation formed by merging three associations in Nepal: The Nepal Agricultural Journalists Academy (JONAA), the Agricultural Journalists Society Nepal (SAJ) and the Agricultural Communication Society. Here’s how they did it.

18 Nov: The Story Behind the Story: MILK MAN

“I can try and steer away from the cliches and fixed neat narratives often trotted out by public figures when they are talking about themselves and their lives, and try instead to shift the discussion slightly differently in the hope of peeling away a few more ‘layers of the onion’…”

18 Nov: Impressive India: IFAJ goes to Delhi

We were welcomed with flower garlands, fed the most aromatic curry, brewed the best tea and treated to home made burfi wrapped in silver petals. If an opportunity to visit India ever arises, grab it with both hands!

18 Nov: Education Survey Shows High Member Interest

Out of 15 communications skills listed in the survey, social media, multimedia production processes and video training ranked as the top three areas where IFAJ members wanted training.

18 Nov: Mark Your Calendar for Canada: IFAJ 2023 World Congress!

IFAJ’s 2023 Congress, New Frontiers in the Wild West, hosted by the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation, will showcase the bounty and diversity of agriculture in the beautiful prairie province of Alberta, Canada. Mark your calendar: June 27 to July 3, 2023.

Past news Letters