Namibia
This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Empowering persons with disabilities

The Namibia Media Trust (NMT) has launched a project to empower persons with disabilities in Namibia to enable them to actively participate in democratic processes and develop critical media production and literacy skills for self-advocacy. NMT believes decisions are legitimate only if those affected by them have an equal opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. The project will establish an inclusive and accessible information-sharing platform to help beneficiaries exercise their rights to access information. Over a period of three months, NMT plans to create a newsletter run by persons with disabilities, where they can share multimedia content, address relevant issues, and advocate for the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities in the Namibian society. The project focuses on skills development aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of the platform.

Meet the team:

THE Namibia Media Trust (NMT) recently held a three-week journalism training programme for persons with disabilities. The Namibian gets to know the interns that took part in the programme.

SIMON KAULUMA

I’M a 27-year-old man with albinism and the national coordinator of Namibian Organisation of Youth with Disabilities (NOYD), advocating for disabled youth’s rights. Thanks to the Namibia Media Trust (NMT), I’m now an intern journalist at The Namibian.

NMT’s unique course trained young people with disabilities in journalism, allowing the practical application of skills. I have great appreciation for NMT because the training ensured practical implementation of the skills gained and not simply theoretical knowledge.

I particularly enjoyed the expert facilitators and positive training environment. Meeting Gwen Lister was a dream come true; her journey as a journalist and contribution to Namibia’s democracy inspired me.

I also enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm that my fellow participants showed.

Before the training, I had major anxiety about the future, which is a common experience for young Namibians amid an overwhelmingly high rate of unemployment. This anxiety was eased after being offered the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of young Namibians, with or without disabilities.

I learned about collaborative efforts, media ethics, verifying information, and finally being a voice for the marginalised. I can proudly say I’ve been well trained, and after only a few days in the newsroom, I managed to get my first byline, and on the front page too!

I am grateful for the opportunity given to marginalised communities like mine. The training was a massive success, and I recommend it to be scaled up to other minority groups to ensure that all voices are heard.

MAGDALENA SHIKONGO

I’m a person with albinism and currently an intern with NMT, serving as a media journalism communication intern through the Action for Access NXT Journalism Training.

Being part of NMT and The Namibian made me realise many things and challenged my previous views about journalism. I had the opportunity to meet Lister, the well-known editor and author of ‘Comrade Editor’.

I learned to improve my communication skills after often being afraid to speak up, and enhanced my soft skills through various tasks, including transcribing audio recordings, sourcing quotations and taking minutes during meetings.

Additionally, I have been collecting articles written by fellow interns at The Namibian and Desert Radio, and I attended a few events with NMT, such as workshops and the Information and Communication Rights in Africa conference.

As a journalist, I’ve learned the importance of seeking information from multiple sources, as well as verifying information officially before publication.

This opportunity opened my eyes about the dangers of misinformation and fake news, and underscored that fact-checking is crucial. Additionally, as a person with disabilities, I realised the world isn’t always as cruel as we perceive it to be. Taking a step-by-step approach and reaching out to the right people and organisations can help overcome self-pity.

This is my first actual job, and I now understand the true meaning of work and how busy one can be. I have realised that journalism is not only about conducting interviews, taking photographs, and writing articles. It also requires a strong mindset, effective communication skills, and the ability to remain impartial.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I had previously only read about or seen on television, and have made contacts in different organisations across the country. I have also gained confidence to move around without fear of being judged based on my appearance.

I strongly believe that such programmes by NMT will significantly improve journalism in our country. By creating opportunities, NMT will continue to inspire journalists to take action.

OTTO GOTLIEB

I found the three-week programme on the basics of journalism, human-centred storytelling, and social media verification, excellent. It provided valuable exposure within the journalistic space and facilitated my learning in the field.

The project successfully created an accessible and inclusive journalistic environment, and the facilitators deserve recognition for their efforts in establishing a nurturing atmosphere and fostering a conducive learning environment for all individuals with special needs.

By providing equal opportunities and support, NMT ensure that persons with disabilities can actively participate and contribute to the media industry.

NMT’s Action for Access project fostered inclusive journalism by creating an accessible environment, equal opportunities and support to enable persons with disabilities to actively contribute to the media industry.

The human-centered storytelling training added depth to the learning experience, emphasising empathy and delivering impactful narratives. Participants learned to capture the essence of human experiences, while the social media verification training module encouraged collaboration, teamwork, and combating misinformation. Group discussions and activities fostered collective learning and problem-solving.

Overall, these topics not only imparted valuable knowledge but also fostered an environment of active participation, collaboration, and critical thinking. By combining theoretical concepts with practical application, the programme successfully enhanced participants’ understanding of journalism and created a shared learning experience.

Participating in the programme had a profound and transformative impact on my approach to journalism.

One of the most memorable aspects of the training was the chance to meet the renowned journalist and legendary media figure, Gwen Lister. Her presence and support throughout the training was invaluable, while her guidance and mentorship were instrumental in shaping my learning journey. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to learn from someone of her calibre and to receive personalised mentorship from such a distinguished professional.

NASJTASSIA KÖRNER

My name is Nasjtassia Körner, and I am deaf. Throughout the training, I gained new experiences and a deeper understanding of journalism. The first-of-its-kind NMT training for persons with disabilities showed us how to gather relevant information for news consumption. Everything was made accessible to ensure our understanding as hearing-impaired individuals.

I am now fortunate to be an intern at The Namibian. The NMT’s support for people with disabilities is truly remarkable. I hope more companies will take inspiration from this initiative and prioritise employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, as the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains high, thus it’s crucial for companies to step up and be more inclusive.

We learned that journalists and editors make choices within their moral framework about what they write and publish. They decide what to include or omit from a story. Most stories are covered in accordance with a code of ethics, where journalists seek the truth and report it as comprehensively as possible.

The workshop had a profound impact on my life, provided valuable experience and knowledge, and helped develop my writing skills. Moreover, it taught me the importance of fact-checking before publishing a story.

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to NMT for giving me this opportunity and I sincerely hope NMT will continue working with people with disabilities, and inspire other Namibian companies to do the same, as disabled individuals possess numerous skills and talents that can contribute greatly to the workforce.