Thomas Bwire is a Kibera resident and a radio journalist. He currently works with a local FM station called Pamoja FM based in Kibera as a News editor. He joined the station in September 2007. He has also had some extensive training in Holland with an international training in broadcasting journalism from Radio Nederland Training Center and Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) based in the Hague.
Thomas has recently joined the Uweza team to initiate a journalism club for youth. The journalism club will provide youth from Kibera the chance to learn valuable skills such as research, writing and photography. They will be researching and writing pieces for their own periodic newsletter, which will provide them with a platform to learn and speak about issues and topics that are important to them.
Thomas will also be a regular contributor to the Uweza blog. Below is his first post about the first meeting of the Uweza journalism club.
The afternoon weather was hot as I arrived at the Uweza Foundation gate at 2.45pm, with a mission to kick start the journalism class at the center. The center located at Karanja Road, shone with its blue colors painted on the walls. To welcome me was Mr.Moi the Program Manager in charge of the center, and as I sat in his office, we got to exchange greetings and catch up on how the day had been earlier.
Not later, some of the pupils started trickling into the compound some in pairs, while some came on their own. In no time, I headed to one of the classes and met my pupils eagerly waiting to hear from me.
First things first, I did start by greeting them and telling them a little bit about myself and this was followed by a simple exercise of knowing each other. This is how it was done, pupils paired into two and asked their partner about themselves on issues ranging from their names, likes, dislikes and what they expect to learn while with the club. The response was amazing as the whole class got to know a new person that they had never known before. Some of them said how they love to eat fish, some love to travel and some wanted to be journalists and to read news while they finish school. "Amazing sentiments there," I thought to myself as we moved on. The class had a total of 15 pupils ranging from ages 12 to 15years old.
After getting to know each other, suggestions for in house rules were put across and all agreed to abide by them, Here are some of the house keeping rules, perhaps to give you the better feel of things here in Kibera, "be patient, respect to people’s property, obey your teacher, co-operate, no chewing, no gossiping" and the one that stood out was "listening to each other."
Very insightful there as proposal to set the rules came from the participants themselves, and hopefully they will be followed to the latter. Day one presented the participants to get to know what news is with the following elements in storytelling,” who, what, why, when, where and how,” with practical example from one of the local daily newspaper as we read through each line to identify these elements.
To close the day’s session, each participant had an opportunity to read one story to help to identify how the key news elements were used in stories. Time flew so fast and as we winded up, many of the kids were reluctant to leave, but before they left, a simple assignment was given out, and here it comes, "write a simple story with not more than 100 words, but include the key news elements."
Look out for our next blog next week where we shall post some of the first ever written stories done by our Uweza Journalism Club.