Our correspondents

Oluyinka Alawode

I developed a passion for writing vivid agricultural stories after my first training with WRENmedia in 2009. Before then, I was not sure how I could build a professional career around agriculture, the course I had studied for five years. So combining my flair for writing and a passion to see an end to hunger in Nigeria and indeed Africa, I have been actively involved in agricultural journalism since then. I particularly focus on information which can help farmers and other agribusiness investors in and around Nigeria to improve and expand their businesses.

Contact: ajiyinka@yahoo.com

Busani Bafana

My interest in reporting on agriculture grew rapidly early in my journalism career. In 1997 I was asked to do a radio story for the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation's (CTA) Rural Radio Resource Pack, and since then, I have grown deep journalistic roots with WRENmedia, constantly learning and polishing my writing craft through training, mentorship and some good travels around Africa. In 2008, I participated in a WRENmedia agriculture reporting course covering a global conference on bananas held in Mombasa, Kenya. I went bananas when a feature I wrote for IPS from that conference went on to win the prestigious CGIAR Award for Excellence in Agricultural Science Journalism in 2009. I would not give up writing about agriculture and food security in Africa for anything else. My appetite is insatiable and WRENmedia has kept me hungry to do more!

Contact: busani.bafana@gmail.com 

Bénédicte Châtel

Way back in Law School, I developed a very strong interest in international relations, North-South issues and agriculture as the back bone of development. I wrote my thesis on the agricultural export policy of Honduras and found it fascinating to see the interaction between world markets, national policies and day-to-day living for farmers. I continued working on these subjects through journalism. As associate director of CommodAfrica, I was the French editor of Spore magazine and I have continued to work with WRENmedia by contributing to longer analytical articles for the magazine, focusing on strengthening agricultural value chains and farmers’ access to new technologies and financing in Africa, among other topics. Through this work, it is exciting to see the rising interest of African youth in agriculture, stimulating the sector’s transformation.

Contact: b.chatel@commodafrica.com

Kofi Adu Domfeh

Ghana is my homeland but, partly through WRENmedia, I’ve had the opportunity to report from other parts of Africa and the world, mainly covering agriculture, science and the environment. The training and reporting exposure I gained through WRENmedia in the early stages of my journalism career built my skills to better communicate science for development through radio. Currently as the News Bureau Chief (Northern Sector) of TV3 Network Limited and the Ghana Bureau Chief of ClimateReporters.com, I still carry those lessons in my reportage and training of young journalists. During 10 years working in this field, I’ve broadened my work to include print as well as radio, and have been happy to win a number of local and international awards.

Contact: adomfeh@yahoo.com

Natalie Dookie

Growing up in the oil and gas economy of Trinidad and Tobago – far removed from the general perception of the Caribbean as a world famous tourist destination with sun, surf and sand – I lived and worked in a market where agriculture has been on the decline for many decades. Working with WRENmedia allowed me the opportunity to explore new farming technologies and innovative agri-processing projects taking place across the region, and even back home, as the sector moves towards revitalisation for increased food security. I am a public relations and corporate communications professional with 20 plus years of experience. Working with the professional editorial team at WRENmedia since the first quarter of 2017, has allowed me to strengthen my writing and research skills, and to help share agriculture learnings and developments in the Caribbean.

Contact: nataliedookie@gmail.com

James Karuga

Growing up in rural Central Kenya was an enriching experience creatively. But I also witnessed how doing things conventionally year in, year out, especially in farming, leads to a cycle of poverty. That spurred me to become a science communicator, to relay information that challenges the entrenched, conventional ways of thinking. Since joining WRENmedia in 2012 as an African correspondent, I now appreciate that a story is only as good as the impact it has on people. This has brought positive changes to the writing I do for other organisations and publications, like Reuters, Akilah.net and Spore magazine, as well as the documentaries I film. For example, I recently worked with WRENmedia to produce a video for GALVmed on microfinance provision for rural women in Kenya.

Contact: james.karuga@gmail.com

Bob Koigi

Having been raised in a farming community and seeing how much information or lack of it determined the lives of the rural farmers, I decided to be the information champion for the forgotten rural population. Over the last five years, reporting from various African countries has given me a sense of motivation and pride in telling the African farmers’ story – and has seen me win seven media awards. I aim to tell a story in the simplest way I can while creating an impact. Working with WRENmedia as a journalist and communication co-trainer has given me a chance to make the connection between policy makers and ordinary farmers. It has also meant growing professionally, by working with a team that is passionate and meticulous about information dissemination.

Contact: koigijunior@gmail.com

Charles Mkoka

I am a science and environment journalist based in Malawi with almost 20 years of hands on experience. I am a graduate in bio-sciences from the University of Malawi and a fellow of the Leadership for Environment and Development, Africa Fellowship Program. I am also the first Malawian writer and beneficiary of the World Federation of Science Journalists, Africa and the Middle East mentoring programme. Since 2008, I have been a columnist for the Times Media Group and the Secretary General for the Association of Environment Journalists in Malawi since 2016. I enjoy working with WRENmedia to carry out field research and write articles on a range of agricultural topics for Spore magazine. My work with WRENmedia has also involved producing media stories for their clients (e.g. IDRC) to be published in the local newspapers.

Contact: cmkoka@gmail.com

Friday Phiri

Passion is the key word for me. Until I met the WRENmedia team in 2010, I only had a latent interest in agriculture and development journalism. I was one of ten selected journalists from a pool of 500 applicants to take part in a Better Science Reporting training programme run by WRENmedia in Zambia. After the training, I became one of WRENmedia’s regular correspondents. I have developed myself through constant learning and mentorship from various agricultural development institutions and individuals, such that I now specialise not only in agriculture, but also climate change and related environmental subjects. Thanks to WRENmedia for igniting my passion in agricultural reporting, my work has taken me to places not just in Africa but globally, and led to my appointment as Agricultural Communication Specialist for the Ministry of Agriculture in Zambia.

Contact: fphiri200@gmail.com

Pius Sawa

Having worked as a radio journalist in Uganda for more than five years, I felt I wanted to broaden my skills. In 2008, I met Susanna of WRENmedia in Kampala, who later invited me to a science reporting workshop in Arusha, Tanzania. The training led to me becoming a WRENmedia correspondent and provided me with science reporting skills that I am now proud to apply in training others, and in writing my own stories. I also began working in video, as well as radio and print. When I left Uganda to move back to my home country Kenya in 2011, I created my own company, which not only gives me freedom to work as a freelancer, but also to help upcoming journalists. I feel great pride when I see my African colleagues and friends trained by WRENmedia also winning awards. My most recent project with WRENmedia was making a video for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines about Newcastle Disease vaccination in Ethiopia.

Contact: sawapius@yahoo.com