WanaData Africa
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WanaData Africa

GMMP-WD Fellowship: How my interest in data-driven storytelling has allowed me to become an advocate for gender equality.

By Atim Charlotte

My experience as a fellow with ‘Code for Africa (CfA) and WACC Who Makes The News’ has been incredible. I have grown professionally, academically, and personally. CfA has provided me with opportunities to learn from professionals in the media and data space alongside being exposed to tools to produce, write and report on gender-related issues. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to participate in the WanaData-GMMP fellowship.

I attended and completed data journalism training webinars throughout my four-month fellowship, consisting of six training sessions. I also produced and published four gender-focused and data-driven stories, using data and insights from the 2020 GMMP report and other open-source data sources like the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The published stories are listed below:

  1. Education, a Game Changer to End Child Marriages
  2. Teaching Gender Equality to Children in Schools is the Way to Go
  3. Women’s Political Representation Continues to Remain Stagnant Despite an Increase in the Number of Districts in Uganda
  4. The Underreported Stories On Domestic Violence Against Women/Girls During The Covid-19 Pandemic

For the fourth story, I focused on highlighting the skyrocketing domestic violence cases against women during the lockdown, and the inability of the media to expose the crisis. My intended impact was to draw the media’s attention to the silent domestic violence crisis. With the power of the media, I believe reporting on such cases will have an impact.

In coming up with the story, I leveraged the knowledge gained during the fellowship training. For instance, I conducted a Google search with the main keyword of ‘domestic violence in Uganda during Covid-19’. I backed up my findings with data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics alongside the 2020 GMMP report.

The findings showed that radio was the most popular GBV information source, followed by the TV while the 2021 GMMP Report indicated that in Uganda, gender and related topics are the least represented in the media according to the chart below:

It emerged that GBV cases only account for 1% of news coverage in newspapers across Africa. The finding was intriguing to learn that most Ugandan newspapers don't report on issues that affect women.

I believe the media in Uganda can effect change. It is a priority area for action to prevent violence against women. They need to improve on the way they engage on this issue. They need to treat domestic violence against women as a social problem rather than an accident or tragedy.

I enjoyed participating in webinars on Introduction to Data Journalism, GMMP, Finding Data, Basic Introduction to Spreadsheets, Gender Reporting in Journalism and Data Visualisation. My favourite webinars were gender reporting in journalism and data journalism.

Throughout the four months, I was very motivated by my mentor Arame Thiam; her dedication and knowledge about data visualisation and finding data online honed my skills in the area. The information I learned and gathered helped me tremendously in my writing career.

During my fellowship, I was also able to push for online conversations, especially on Twitter, about gender inequality in Uganda. I have always been interested in starting online discussions on issues that affect women and girls in the country, and the WanaData-GMMP fellowship allowed me to connect with online writers and journalists who have a role in issues affecting women and girls.

My fellowship with WanaData-GMMP has allowed me to become an advocate for gender equality. I became enthralled with a mission to empower women socio-economically and educate girl children. This experience fostered my interest in the power of storytelling and its capacity to bring change. I have evolved in the past four months.

It has been such an honour to work remotely and learn from people from Code for Africa and WACC’s Who Makes The News. I look forward to working on more projects with Code for Africa and WACC’s Who Makes The News in the future and thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

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