As part of the Security Council resolution 1325, the UN Regional Bureau of Central Africa (UNOCA) gathered media players and stakeholders from the central African region in Douala, Cameroon during a 2-day conference starting on November 1st, brainstorming around the official unveil of the first-ever media platform targeting women and founded by key female champions working towards the UN development goals. To achieve this mission, the UNOCA committee shortlisted seven (7) powerful media professionals, mainly Publishers, Editors in Chief and Editorial Directors led by women born in central African region.
During the past decade, advances in information technology have facilitated a global communications network that transcends national boundaries and has an impact on public policy, private attitudes and behaviour, especially of children and young adults. Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women.
Among these bright minds is DIVAS OF COLOUR AWARDS recipient – Editor of the Year 2016), and one of the “Most Creative People of 2016” according to C.Hub Magazine. Mostly followed for her work as a Publisher & bilingual Editor-in-Chief at TROPICS Magazine), Venicia Guinot was selected to represent her home country, the Republic of Congo-Brazzaville, and was invited to share her experience in the media industry. She then took the floor to deliver a presentation on how she went from developing an idea up to turning it into a magazine and now a media venture that is known as TROPICS Magazine, a monthly digital and print magazine 100% Made-in-Africa.
“Our aim is to revolutionize the way women’s media is consumed, distributed and monetized and, through this relationship with the most influential media women from central Africa, we are sure we will do just that,” said Mireille Tushiminina — Gender Political Affairs Adviser at United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) on this new initiative. “We are thrilled to be working with these media professionals and are certain their next platform will be the go-to network for women’s leadership and an ideal partner for media brands looking to engage the same target.”
In the same light, Venicia Guinot emphasized on the fact that women should be stepping up their game and not simply dwell on their respective governments’ efforts because they are the change their countries and communities have been waiting for. “I believe that if every woman on the rise today keeps taking steps forward, we can break the future… and create the change we want to see in Africa and if we have to rise, let’s rise together”, she concluded.
Other leading women in media delivered speeches and important presentations on topics ranging from the continued projection of negative to the degrading images of women in media communications – electronic, print, visual and audio – must be changed. Mrs. Peace Hillary from Rwanda, Mrs. Adeline Sede from Cameroon, Mrs. Achta Saleh from Chad, Mrs. Grace Mali from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mrs. Clarence Yongo from Cameroon, Ms. Melissa Bendome from Gabon and Ms. Venicia Guinot from the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) came all the way to support this initiative and take the opportunity to pledge in favour of peace, leadership and women empowerment in central Africa. According to the United Nations, print and electronic media in most central african countries do not provide a balanced picture of women’s diverse lives and contributions to society in a changing world. Therefore, women should be empowered by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information technology. This will strengthen their ability to combat negative portrayals of women internationally and to challenge instances of abuse of the power of an increasingly important industry.
The first-ever platform led by media key players in central Africa will be announced on November 2nd, 2016 by UNOCA and a strategic plan shall be presented to the media in the upcoming months. Its content online and offline will offer African women, real world, actionable advice from leading female entrepreneurs, doers, innovators, disruptors and thinkers. Targeting a large, highly focused and purpose-driven audience, the new platform will also engage millennial women in conversation, encouraging them to share the next steps on their career path so that this network of central African women in collaboration with UNOCA can create and curate content that addresses their needs.
The seven founding members — female media entrepreneurs who are in the trenches — will provide expert advice and cultivate conversations around topics such as more women representation in media, policies, salary, increasing diversity in media funding, side hustles, failures as pit stops on the way to success, the importance of networking for future leaders, personal finance, work life integration and becoming your own and the continent’s advocate.
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UNOCA – United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa