Rebuilding Sudan’s shattered economy after the 2019 uprising requires the country’s journalists to understand and explain the key economic issues to their audiences.
To provide local media with the relevant skills, Thomson Foundation has delivered a 15 month programme to 24 journalists – initially in Khartoum but then via WhatsApp after Covid-19 struck.
Two journalists who set the standard were the prize winners in a competition to showcase how the participants had put into practice what they had learned.
Aya Alsabbagh (pictured below right), from Omdurman National Radio, topped her group with a broadcast aimed at proposing co-operative societies and collaboration by buyers and sellers as a way to reduce inflation.
Hanady Alnour (pictured below left), economics editor at Al-Intibaha newspaper, wrote her winning piece after travelling into the field to investigate farming projects where the harvest failed through lack of water.
Aya, a broadcaster for 10 years, said through the programme she learned that “the economy is the backbone of life. It is the machinery that moves everyday life, politically and socially. The economy is responsible for the stability and security of livelihoods and it is the compass that steers countries and societies.”
The judges praised her winning entry, a lively broadcast which used a variety of interviewees, explained the situation well for the audience and promoted positive solutions for citizens to help address their situation.
The economy is the backbone of life. It is the machinery that moves everyday life, politically and socially.
Hanady, who has worked in print journalism for 12 years, said her investigation aimed “to reflect the real suffering of citizens” and to ensure the authorities got the message about irrigation projects needing to work.
She and a colleague travelled to the Fao region to investigate an irrigation project which had failed.
The judges were impressed by Hanady’s determination to check the story out for herself and interview people on the ground to get her facts right.
She described the course as an “exceptional training opportunity” which taught her the importance of field work, how to select and question officials to tell economic stories and how to convey the issues in language understood by a wide audience.
The training was funded by the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, delivered in partnership with the British Council, Sudan and led by consultants James Gavin and Derek Ivens.
About: Helen is an experienced trainer, consultant and project manager with a background in programme making and management. She is the Director of Thomson Foundation’s Sudan programme.