The urgency of sustainable development to the society is more evident than ever. The changing climate affects all parts of society, with catastrophic environmental, economic and social consequences, such as poverty, violent conflicts and famine. Journalism has a fundamental role to play in informing the public and framing the issues of society. In addition, journalism is capable of spurring engagement with various sustainability issues at local, national or transnational level as well as investigating and putting pressure on those in power to take sustainable development issues seriously and to do their utmost to live up to the promises they make to their citizens.
Since 2018, UNA Tanzania in partnership with Media Space Tanzania have been running the SDG’s journalist and storytelling club. The objective of the club is to bring journalists, editors and storytellers in Tanzania at the forefront of telling the SDGs stories from the lens of the people. The club provides mentorship and capacity building to both young and experienced journalists in Tanzania as well as connecting the members with SDGs related opportunities for journalists. Members of the club come from three different journalistic categories: general journalism, specialized journalism and investigative journalism, and fill important roles with different qualifications and areas of expertise.
Journalism plays a key role in driving social change
One enthusiastic member with a passion for advocacy and promoting the SDGs in the media is Imani Henrick, who joined the SDG’s journalist and storytelling club in 2019. Imani is a Station Manager at Kings FM Radio in Njombe and the founder of the podcast Dig It with Imani, a community-informing podcast highlighting human rights issues related to gender, inclusion and safety on the internet. In addition to her impressive track record, which includes being the only African winner of the Youth Peace Challenge (YPC), a Thomson Reuters Changemaker and Award-Winning Digital Content Creator, she is particularly passionate about girls and women’s rights in digital spaces.
In her role as a journalist and media person, Imani feels she has an important responsibility to inform and drive social change. Journalism and the media have the power to change, especially when people have a strong trust in them, says Imani. The dissemination of stories, documentaries and investigative journalism is therefore an important element of democracy – and not least the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Practical tools on how to fully package stories about SDGs and valuable contacts
The main reason Imani joined the SDG’s journalist and storytelling club was to get practical tools to better connect the SDGs in her writing to help raise public understanding of sustainability issues. Before joining the club, she found it particularly difficult to produce material related to the SDGs that was well supported by data, which she feels the SDG club has helped her with.
“I now know how to better package my stories and how to build my arguments with data, which is a powerful tool to persuade and create change!”
In addition to gaining access to new techniques and ways of working to better include the SDGs in journalism, the SDG journalist club has also contributed to a larger network with many valuable contacts, says Imani.
Imani Henrick drives change to embed gender equality online
A driving force in Imani’s projects has always been to transform the internet for the better, especially for girls and women who often lack opportunities and skills to use and create digital tools and online content. Bridging the digital gender divide, would make online spaces safer for both genders, enabling both genders to utilize opportunities as well as benefiting their communities, economically, socially and politically, according to Imani.
“We must actively strive to dispel the myth that technology is “for boys” and ensure that girls and women are included in the digital world. Holding girls and women back in this area affects all aspects of their lives, including their ability to speak out and campaign for change in issues affecting them.”
In the future, Imani looks forward to continuing the work of enforcing gender equality online in Tanzania. It is an important, and necessary, work to ensure that no one is left behind of the development that we look forward to in the future!
Click the link to know more about the club and how to sign up: