Equipped with new investigative journalism skills and financial support after recently completing a training programme, 15 Rwandan journalists are empowered to uncover important indepth stories.
The investigative journalism course was a collaboration between Legal Aid Forum Rwanda, Thomson Foundation, and the US Embassy in Rwanda.
Five journalists who presented the most compelling investigative story pitches were awarded 4 million Rwandan Francs (Rwf), the equivalent of £3,000, each to pursue their projects.
The remaining ten received Rwf 600 thousand, the equivalent of £425.
The aim of the programme, organisers said during the closing ceremony in Kigali, was to equip journalists with the tools needed to produce accurate, well-balanced content.
The journalists were trained by John-Allan Namu, a renowned Kenyan investigative journalist and co-founder of Africa Uncensored, an independent media house established by Kenya's finest investigative journalists.
The curriculum covered all aspects of investigative journalism, ranging from the basics of generating ideas and finding sources to more complex topics such as emerging technologies, ethics and legal safety.
“The programme empowered me with a range of valuable skills that I can now apply in my work”
“The programme empowered me with a range of valuable skills that I can now apply in my work,” said Emmanuel Ngabo Dushime, editor in chief of Radio Isangano, a community radio station, and one of the training programme's grant recipients. “I am confident that the skills I have acquired will contribute to the growth of investigative journalism in my workplace and the media in my country.”
Jean Paul Ibambe, a lawyer and senior capacity building officer at Legal Aid Forum Rwanda, emphasised the importance of training investigative journalists as there are few in the country.
He stressed that funding is crucial for such endeavors, as investigative stories require significant time and resources and often involve risks.
The top five grant recipients were chosen because their stories were of public interest and had the potential to benefit Rwanda and the entire region, John-Allan said.
He eagerly anticipates the publication of their stories, which could address significant societal issues.
Yvonne Mutatsineza, a Rwandan radio journalist and one of the training programme's graduates and grant recipients, said she lacked expertise before the training and is thankful for the knowledge she gained.
She urged more women to pursue investigative journalism as societal issues often disproportionately affect them.
The training programme, Rwandan Inquirer: Training journalists in investigative journalism skills, is one of a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing investigative journalism in Rwanda.
It’s funded by the US Embassy in Rwanda and run in collaboration with our partners Legal Aid Forum (LAF) Kigali.