Three journalists trained by Thomson Foundation have banded together in efforts to ensure coverage of Sudan’s deadly uprising is fair, accurate and verifiable.
And a fourth, former Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award winner, Yousra Elbagir (pictured below), has been reporting the story for Britain’s Channel 4 News, as well as helping to verify user-generated video and photographic content.
Their work has helped ensure coverage of a story which has been under-reported by international media, with journalists targeted by the Sudanese government.
The demonstrations flared in December over rising food prices and spiralling inflation, with protests later aimed at removing long-time President Omar al-Bashir from office.
The government says 26 people died in the first month of protests, but human rights groups say more than 40 were killed.
The three Thomson Foundation alumnae helping citizen journalists are Rania Haroun, Salah Nasser (main image) and Wael Jamal Addeen. They met in 2016 on the final broadcast cohort of the Sudan Media Capacity Building project, which the foundation ran for five years until 2017.
Rania has since moved to London where she upgraded her digital skills by also attending the foundation’s 2018 summer course. But she felt compelled to return to pass on her knowledge to others when the protests erupted.
“I felt I had to do something to help the Sudanese people, so I arranged to do some workshops with Salah and Wael. I have also been using Facebook Live, and focusing on training women who want media skills, particularly filming on mobile phones.”
Yousra has also returned to the country after winning Thomson Foundation’s Young Journalist Award in 2016 – staged jointly with the UK Foreign Press Association.
The three journalists were trained by Diana Muir and Crispin Holmes in Sudan in 2016, and Rania won the broadcast award in the end-of-project competition.
Two other graduates from the Sudan Media Capacity Building Project have also been sharing their skills and acting as co-trainers in the foundation's work in Sudan in 2018.
Entisar Omer and Dodi Gamaa, who both successfully completed the Training of Trainers programme over five years, worked alongside the foundation's trainers, Derek Ivens and Diana Muir, in a project to help civil society organisations (CSOs) improve their media and communications skills. The media strand was part of a bigger project to build capacity in civil society organisations, funded by the British government's Department for International Development, and delivered by the British Council.
“Being a good trainer means preparing yourself to deal with all sorts of difficult situations.”
Entisar worked alongside Derek in workshops for citizen journalists from CSOs and in a senior media managers' programme designed to build leadership skills and broaden the editorial agenda.
"Many Sudanese journalists show great courage in covering sensitive issues. From child marriage and racism, to the crippling cost of fuel and the lack of jobs for young people, I believe we’ve helped a generation of reporters to highlight the stories which affect peoples' lives," says Derek.
"Entisar's story proves that if you build long-term relationships and nurture talent, you can give individuals the skills and confidence to make a difference."
Read more about the Sudanese journalists working to ensure that reporting of stories in their country is fair, accurate and verifiable.
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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.