Media Mentions

Methodologies for Empowering Small-Scale Farmers with a Chatbot – CAMRI

Winston Mano to join Mozilla project that will create a mobile phone app for Kenyan farmers – CAMRI

Talk Swahili to me: Voice-enabled apps changing the game for farmers and local communities – Common Voice Mozilla

Africa No Filter Inaugurates fellowships to improve Africa’s narratives – November 05, 2020. Businessday

A fellowship program to explore evidence-based narratives about Africa – October 30, 2020. Afriscitech

Debut of augmented reality mural – October 23, 2018. The Hawk Newspaper

Pop Culture that Keeps Women Down – March 7 2010. Standard Media


What does it mean to shift the narrative?

Presented to Africa No Filter Fellows on 02.26.2021

I was invited to present along with other research mentors at the Africa No Filter Research Fellows workshop held in February 2021.

My presentation was titled: What does it mean to shift the narrative. In this presentation, I drew from the work i have been doing at the Africa Media Collaborative on rewriting African narratives. The Africa Media Collaborative seeks to challenge the prevailing dominant stories about Africa that are often framed by the global news media, films, TV shows, International humanitarian agencies, International charities and foundations, tourists, social media influencers, music and fashion magazines.

While acknowledging that the last few decades have witnessed a rise in counter narratives or competing narratives about Africa, the presentation was driven by the following question: Does the existence of counter narratives about Africa indicate a shift in the narrative?

I argued that there is need to deliberately and consistently work towards eliminating biased, stereotypical, negative dehumanizing stories about Africa and its peoples. The adoption of counter narratives and competing narratives does not indicate a shift in the narrative. It is not enough to counter, we need a shift in the narrative!

In my presentation, I highlighted the model developed by Africa Media Collaborative in shifting the narrative. In order to shift the narrative, the Africa Media Collaborative developed the following three steps:

a) Reframing

b) Disrupting

c) Occupying

During the presentation, I discussed the above model in detail. I will be posting more updates about the project soon. For more information check out Africa Media Collaborative


Debunking those Stereotypes

I have on several occasions, come face to face with stereotypes about Africa, often enabled by global media’s commodification of images about Africa. Often, stories about Africa in the media are about a people who are at war and dying from hunger/famine and diseases such as HIV/Aids.

While Africa might be a continent struggling with challenges such as poverty, ethnic conflicts and HIV/Aids, that is not all there is to Africa. There is much more to Africa than the story of  helplessness and plight. It is a continent full of love and laughter. Music and dance. Emerging innovations and technologies. A people who celebrate life and live it to the fullest. This is the Africa i know. A place that has undergone the ravages of slavery and colonialism, yet it is still filled with undeniable zest for life, love and passion.

And so for those involved in media production and dissemination, there is need for one to be cautious when they write stories about groups of people, particularly the Global South which is portrayed in a stereotypical way in the media.

One video that reminds me about how often people misconstrue Africa is a Ted Talk that was given by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The Danger of a Single Story. Chimamanda talks about how we often dehumanize people when we feel pity for people. We have a single story about them, and fail to recognize that despite their challenges of poverty , they have lived experiences.


Education and Civic Engagement

The disparities in access to education all over the world are worrying. Education is crucial in empowering the future generations.

There is need for children to have a better education which offers them opportunities to information access and digital literacy in today’s world. However, access to Computers is not enough, there is need for digital literacy for young people to be able to access relevant information and not just access information on varied media platforms but also to be able to write their own stories using different media formats

However, it is important to reemphasize that: It will  all start with access to education.

I came across the interesting video below on the UNESCO instagram page.


Citizen Journalism and democracy in Africa: New Questions in a New Era

The workshop was jointly organized by the University of Westminster and Moi University in collaboration with UK-Africa Media and Democracy Research Network.

The workshop was part of an on-going project on Media and Democracy in Africa, which was funded by the British Academy. It was held at the Sarova Stanley, Nairobi on 9th May 2014.

See workshop program below:

Africa Media Collaborative, UK Africa Media and Democracy Research Network, Uncategorized

Call for Papers: Media and Elections in Africa

Conference organised by the  Africa Media Centre, University of Westminster and Moi University, Kenya in association with the UK-Africa Media and Democracy Research Network 

Date: Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March 2014 

Venue: University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London

Keynote Speaker 

Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation  for West Africa (MFWA), a Ghana-based media advocacy organisation  whose vision is for a sub-region in which the fundamental human rights  of freedom of thought and expression are guaranteed; and in which free mass media serve to bring to fulfilment all the other universally subscribed rights and freedoms for all persons. The Foundation pursues  its objectives through activities that encourage collaboration with organisations and  individuals working for the promotion of Media Rights and Freedom of Expression. (http://www.mediafound.org/). 

This is the second call for a conference on media and elections in Africa. Elections  are essential for democracy and yet in much of Africa they have become mere rituals  whose conduct and result are most predictable. Voter apathy is a concern due to  persistent problems such as electoral fraud, voter suppression and the resultant poll  violence and loss of lives. New measures and strategies have done little to change 

the course of the crisis. African elites, election observers, scholars and journalists  have raised questions about whether elections are really important for African democracy. Why do Africa’s friends in the West insist on elections while China  continues to place less emphasis on them? Are elections a precondition for  protecting civil liberties? From Egypt to South Africa, citizens have been treated as  subjects and bystanders of the electoral processes, resulting in the coming to power  of illegitimate regimes characterised by tyranny, corruption, nepotism, ethnic  persecution and gross human rights violations. The media are meant to be the eyes  and ears of the emerging democracies in Africa but evidence shows that they are  biased, inefficient and under resourced to the extent of neglecting their educational  and informative roles before, during and after elections. Far from being watchdogs,  the media have become lap dogs that are routinely manipulated by greedy and  corrupt politicians and businessman seeking public office. 

There are serious questions about how elections have become hijacked by local and  global forces that are inimical to African emancipation. Who benefits from the  elections? Whose voice is represented? Who speaks on behalf of whom? What role  have the media played in elections? Can the media rescue the electoral politics in  Africa? What sort of media are needed? What kind of journalists are needed? 

This conference seeks to debate issues of media and elections within the broader  context of democratization in local and global contexts. Issues of, ideology, power  and future of media and democracy in Africa are part of the focus. The conference  welcomes contributions that will debate these issues from different theoretical and  methodological orientations.  

Approximately 40 papers will be presented on topics including: 

• Media and Elections in Africa 

• NGOs and Activist Media in Africa 

• Protest Music, Theatre, Drama  

• Political Party Media in Africa 

• New Media and Elections in Africa 

• Foreign Media and African Democracy  

• Rural and Urban Citizenship in Africa 

• Elections, Elites and the Media in Africa 

• Human Rights and the Media 

• Media Ownership and Access in Africa 

• Media Freedom in Africa 

• The ‘African’ Public Sphere 

• Media Controls and Constraints in Africa 

• Media, Civic Education and Constitution Making in Africa 

Abstract Submission 

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Friday 31 January 2014. Abstracts  should not be more than 300 words long. They must include the title of the  conference, presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the  title of the paper. Please ensure when saving your abstract that your name is part of  the file name. Please email your abstract to Helen Cohen, Events Administrator at:  (journalism@westminster.ac.uk). 

Program and Registration  

This two day conference will take place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March, 2014.  The fee for registration (which applies to all participants, including presenters) will be  £175, with a concessionary rate of £95 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments lunches and administration costs. Registration will  open in February 2014