Sancharika Samuha (SAS) Nepal, in partnership with The Royal Norwegian Embassy, completed a five-day Featuring Writing Training for women journalists of the Central Development Region organized from 5-9 July 2014 at Nagarkot, Kavrepalanchok district.
This training was organized as part of the capacity building of mid-career women journalists to write feature stories particularly focusing on gender issues and gender-based violence.
Ms Nirmala Sharma, President of SAS, commenced the training by sharing the objectives of the training and collecting expectations from participants.
Ms Bandana Rana, President of Saathi, set the ground rules for the entire training period and oriented the participants to the basic concept of sex and gender during the first half of the first day. In the second half, she made a presentation on traditional practices harmful to women. A list of harmful traditional practices was prepared and the journalists were encouraged to write feature stories on those issues. It was also shared that a study commissioned by the National Women Commission has identified 58 such practices.
The purpose of orienting the participants to those concepts was to widen and deepen their understanding of issues that are directly related violence against women or gender-based violence (GBV).
Participants were asked to share their understanding on those issues and some cases of GBV they had encountered with. They were also divided in groups for work.
The second day began with the recapitulation of the previous day facilitated by Ms Sharma. Mr Mohan Mainali, lead trainer, began his session with the introduction of feature. He differentiated between a feature and news, spoke about the importance of feature, its types, and then handed over the floor to Ms Babita Basnet, trainer.
Ms Basnet started her presentation with the process, sources, and subject matters of feature and asked participants to name them from their understanding and she also oriented the journalists to the dimensions to be considered while writing feature stories. She also gave example of we tend to overlook important issues while being focused on a single issue through a short video. She also showed a short video on being a mother to reinforce the importance of a woman.
The third day also began with the recapitulation of the previous day and Ms Sharma asked the participants about the homework she had assigned the day before. Then Ms Basnet presented on information collection for feature writing and assigned group work.
Day four commenced with recapitulation. Mr Mainali, through a photograph, gave tips to participants for observing an object of event for the purpose of writing a feature, and assigned journalists to prepare an observation note of a place shown in his presentation. He also asked to read a feature titled "He wanted to kill our babies for being girls" published in 1993 by The Independent by Tim McGirk and taught them about the essential components of a feature story.
Ms Sharma began the last day with recapitulation. Mr Mainali gave examples of how great writers like Ernest Hemingway and poet Madhav Ghimire also need to recast their writings and encouraged the female journalists to pursue their quest for writing.
Then participants, as assigned the previous day, shared their story idea on certain topics. Ms Basnet presented on Journalists' Code of Conduct, citing a recent example of the violation of the code of conduct. Mr Mainali presents about rewriting exercise, (correcting words and sentences) citing examples and asking them to write short and simple sentences.
Two participants shared their views about the training, Mr Mainali gave away certificates of participation in the training to journalists and Ms Sharma thanked all.
In order to complement its initiatives to mainstream women's issues in the media and to initiate fresh discourse on the contemporary issues affecting the lives of women in general and women journalists in particular, SAS organizes interactions frequently. Over the years, SAS has earned a reputation of raising the economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights violation issues and holding interactions among journalists, women's rights activists, government officials, civil society leaders, opinion formers and other stakeholders. It has been interacting with the wider stakeholders on issues like women's representation in the Constituent Assembly (CA), political participation in all spheres of social life and their faire representation in all levels of political parties and on issues like domestic violence, witch accusation, dowry-related violence and other violence against women. During the run-up to elections to the CA, SAS organized many interactions among the stakeholders on its own and in partnership with other like-minded organizations, for instance.
With an objective of informing, educating, and calling for an action on issues of press freedom, women's equal participation in state affairs, to end violence against women, to sensitize the general public on respecting the rights of people, to create public awareness gender equality and on other contemporary issues, SAS produces and broadcasts various jingles and public service announcements (PSAs) on different radio and television stations. While producing such jingles and PSAs, SAS pays attention to the target audience and broadcasts them in major languages of Nepal including Nepali. SAS often produces and broadcasts such informative audio-visuals in collaboration with other like-minded organizations, coalitions and social movements.
Training & Workshop
SAS has been carrying out various programs with an overarching goal of mainstreaming women's issues in the media and supportive activities with an objective of enhancing the capacity of women journalists in order to increase their participation in journalism and retain them in the profession. Right from its inception in 1996, SAS has been organizing various capacity-building programs for women journalists. Among them, Basic Journalism, Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting training and workshops are the major and regular activities of the organization. The journalists thus trained are given opportunity to contribute articles to its Feature Service in Nepali and English, SAS Radio and TV programs and to Sancharika Online.
The journalists trained by SAS have been producing feature stories, investigative reportage and other hard news and contributing to SAS-run media apart from other mainstream media both electronic and print they are affiliated with.
Sancharika Samuha, being a pioneer forum of women journalists and communicators, works to safeguard the rights of female journalists, journalists in particular and women in general. In order to ward off possible violation of rights and to draw the attention of the state to provide justice to victims in the aftermath of rights violation plus to call for an action regarding inclusion, equality and meaningful participation of women in different fields of social life, SAS issues press releases.
It also issues press releases to condemn attack on press freedom and safety of journalists besides informing concerned state and non-state actors on its activities targeted to the betterment of the promotion and protection of the rights of women journalists in particular and media people in general. The organization also issues press release on issues of national importance and women's equal participation in decision-making bodies of the state.
SAS produces documentaries to capture the reality of the lives of people mostly women whose basic rights are violated. It focuses on denial of the rights of women to acquire citizenship through matriarchy, domestic violence, gender-based violence, violence caused by harmful traditional practices such as dowry, deprivation of girl children from basic education, discrimination against girls and women in different fields of their social life. The organization produces and airs such documentaries with an objective of informing the general public on certain issues of rights violation and drawing the attention of the state to protect and promote their rights, thereby supporting to establish a gender-equal society. SAS has produced many documentaries on violence against women and has aired them through different television channels of Nepal.
SAS carries out studies on different issues mainly focusing on women journalists, press freedom, media monitoring, status of women journalists, violence against women, domestic violence, structural violence and gender discrimination. Traditional and cultural practices harmful to women are also another area of its advocacy. SAS advocates with and through the media primarily on the basis of the findings of the reports in order to change state policies and programs in favour of women.
The organization also prepares reports of collective campaigns carried out in different times depending on the urgency of issues and events. Likewise, SAS also prepares reports on media monitoring and documents and shares the findings of such studies. Reports prepared and shared by SAS have become very useful for policy-makers, implementers, students and scholars besides women's rights activists and apologists.
Since 4 November 2013, SAS has been producing television programme titled "Samakon" on Kantipur Television. The objective of the programme is to dig out the issues of gender-based violence, bring them to the notice of duty bearers, support survivors of such violence by providing them an opportunity to share the injustice, and create awareness among people in order to create a gender-friendly society.