Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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Telling Our Stories, Owning Our Narratives – 2021

Our Stories Are Best Told By Us

Happy New Year! We hope you have held on to this, however long it lasted. It is a welcome relief after a tumultuous 2020. Amidst all the challenges brought about by COVID-19 in 2020, we witnessed the true power of our resilience and unity during trying times. Throughout this time, we have read and watched stories of how we in Africa have come together to create local solutions to the challenges posed by the pandemic. While it brought to fore systemic challenges that were existent in our governments, the pandemic also showed us what more we can do if we pull together.

Here in Kenya we ran stories of change makers, innovators and young people who stood out in coming up with solutions to cushion their communities from the effects of the global communities. From the 9-year-old Stephen Wamukota who built a hand washing setup in Bungoma, to the youth groups in Kibera and Korogocho that were distributing foodstuff at the peak of lockdown. In Kibera, Yasmin was distributing sanitary towels to girls and women who couldn’t afford because like she rightly put, “menstruation doesn’t stop for pandemics”. There were also tech innovators and visual artists, each contributing in a different way towards fighting the ravaging pandemic. While the pandemic isn’t over yet, we have surely thrived because when it mattered most, we came together.

It’s been three years now since we started this journey. the 18th of January marked our 3rd anniversary. For us, this is the year to build on the lessons we learnt last year. While most of our physical activities including workshops were affected by the pandemic, we learnt, through most of 2020, that there are a lot of opportunities and possibilities of doing many things online. We intend to upscale and deliver our #MoJo trainings online. We also couldn’t hold a Mobile Journalism conference last year. However, we are still committed to bringing together Africa’s MoJo community to share experiences and learn from each other. While that is in the works, we purpose to continue with our weekly podcast #TheMoJoFuturesPodcast to ensure that each week, we share and impart new knowledge and skills from mobile journalists from around the globe.

Mobile Journalism Africa endeavors to be the leaders in Kenya and Africa in storytelling through mobile journalism by empowering people to tell their own stories with the simplicity of their mobile phones while upholding high standards of professionalism. This year we are working towards realizing this mission. Our focus remains telling untold solutions stories.  We will focus on the following areas:

  1. Innovation stories – All African innovation stories from across the continent. These, in tech or any other fields; stories of young and old innovators who are building solutions for problems we face in our respective countries across Africa.
  2. Recycling/up-cycling stories – stories of change, stories of how people across Africa are re-using, recycling or upcycling waste; electronic or otherwise. These are all environment stories and we purpose to showcase what solutions there are in this regard, from all over Africa.

We are committed to our vision to equip young storytellers in Africa with skills they can use to tell stories using their smartphones. We strongly believe that Our Stories Are Best Told By Us. We call upon all of you smartphone storytellers across Africa to join us in retelling Africa’s story, rebuilding our continent’s narrative.

We will not do this alone, we are open to collaboration and partnerships to make the vision of a united Africa, a strong network of storytellers working to retell Africa’s narrative come true. All our communication channels are open, so come, let’s build a better Africa together, through storytelling.

Yegon Emmanuel
Photographer, broadcast journalist and writer-Certified storyteller yegonemmanuel.com Co-founder and Communications Director mobilejournalism.co.ke

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