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Far and wide: Disseminating media coverage to raise awareness

In order to raise awareness and start critical conversations, it is vital that information is shared. Therefore, it is imperative that communication, whether written, verbal or visual, is widely disseminated and consumed by a diverse array of individuals and organisations. WRENmedia recently had articles published by 25 media outlets across Kenya to highlight valuable initiatives, broadening their reach and multiplying their positive impacts.

USIU entrepreneur, Jackline Mutiso, with her lettuce seedlings in Kikuyu, Kenya © Georgina Smith

In recent weeks, WRENmedia has collaborated with projects under the Cultivate Africa’s Future (CultiAF) programme, funded by the International Development Research Centre and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, to highlight key developments and outcomes of their research. As well as producing articles and media press releases, WRENmedia worked with Kenyan correspondent, Bob Koigi, to disseminate the media releases to a variety of press outlets across East Africa in order to raise the profile of COVID-related and gender-oriented research outcomes.

Engaging entrepreneurship

One such project is being implemented by the United States International University-Africa’s (USIU-Africa) Global Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship (GAME) Centre. The GAME Centre’s initiative aims to enable Kenyan youths to develop and maintain resilient, job-creating enterprises. Recently, 500 young active men and women agripreneurs from 31 Kenyan counties involved in this initiative were surveyed in a rapid USIU-Africa study. The study was conducted to determine the impacts of the pandemic and its gender implications on young entrepreneurs, and a virtual roundtable was then held in January 2021 to outline and discuss the results. The event was attended by representatives of 14 county governments, with the keynote address provided by Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor of the County Government of Kisumu, who recounted how the nationwide curfew and ban on international travel reignited the need to build resilient local food production systems.

The dissemination of the study’s results was a crucial part of the study itself. The discussions included the identification of specific challenges faced by the young agripreneurs since the onset of the pandemic and practical ways in which county governments can support them in overcoming those challenges. Without engaging stakeholders to understand how to effectively utilise the findings, there is a danger that the information is simply collected for the sake of the activity, without fulfilling its potential as the foundation to change. Therefore, this event and its outcomes needed to be highlighted and widely disseminated so the study’s potential impact could be expanded, which was achieved by the circulation of a press release about the event by WRENmedia, and our correspondent Bob, to 13 different media outlets throughout Kenya.

Highlighting equality initiatives

CultiAF has been working to address gender inequalities by bringing equality to the forefront of agricultural research to achieve a food secure future in Africa. The initiative is using diverse strategies to achieve these goals, one of which is innovating financing mechanisms to benefit and empower women. These include the development of a digital framework through which farmers are paid for their produce directly, which ensures that all money female farmers earn is received by them directly in Kenya and Uganda, and an innovative partnership with a bank in Malawi that provides female fish processors with a preferential interest rate.

These initiatives are critically valuable to their communities and are making strides in addressing the prevalent inequalities that have existed for years in the agricultural development sector. However, without generating awareness of the inequalities, many people would still be of the mind that they do not exist, or are not as significant as they are in reality. The perception of gender disparities in many regions is still ignored and women are still overlooked in many activities, which makes the implementation of projects such as these, as well as generating funding for their continuation, difficult. So, WRENmedia is pleased to have been working to enhance the profile of the CultiAF programme and its gender initiatives, which we did through the production and distribution of a press release. This piece was disseminated, with the help of Bob, throughout Africa to raise awareness of CultiAF’s efforts and the inequalities those efforts address, and was picked up by 12 national and region-wide media outlets.

Communication to accelerate progress

The production and dissemination of accessible, relevant and timely coverage of such events, initiatives, and research projects in multiple formats is a critical aspect of WRENmedia’s work, which enables our clients to communicate to a wide range of groups, including academic and non-technical audiences. It is through communication that we are able to raise awareness of the challenges that exist, and share information that can be used to address them moving forward, in order to improve the world we live in.

Alice Mutimer

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