Honoring Robert Kituyi, all Kenyan peace journalists
Congratulations to Kenyan journalist, Robert Kituyi, recent winner of a peace and conflict sensitive reporting award. If you ever find yourself questioning the efficacy of peace journalism trainings/workshops, read the letter below, sent to myself and my Ugandan Peace Journalism trainer/partner Gloria Laker, director of the Peace Journalism Foundation of East Africa.
Dear Prof Youngblood and Ms. Gloria,
Receive greetings from one of your Kenyan peace journalist student. I am so excited that your training with us last year and which culminated in drafting a raft of peace guidelines for our media houses paid off dividends as evidenced itself during the March election that was largely credited as peaceful.
I have been recognized as a winner in this year’s media excellence awards in print category on peace and conflict sensitive reporting. For me this has come as a sweet surprise because the award was not just as a result of one piece of an article I did but a series of many of my stories which according to the judges they maintained a theme of sustaining peace, reconciliation fostering national development.
I know we may have had a series of other trainings in the run up to the March 2013 election; your training had many aspects that were more practical and detailed in nature.
The emphasis on the need to employ the peace guidelines we drafted at the end of the three day-long training and your advice to us to consider development journalism for me was practical and although it never went well with at my former media house, I never let it go. I embarked on tracking and focusing peace and reconciliation initiatives in the Rift Valley, one of the areas known as violence hotspot in almost every general election and which experienced worst bloodshed during the December 2007 violence.
Prof, thank you so much for inspiring many of us. Our group has grown into an association after we successful carried out peace projects towards the March election. We are about 35 journalists drawn from mainly Uasin Gishu County [Eldoret]. Now with news devolved system of government (counties) each counties is being encouraged to form journalism groups something I have always wanted see take root in our country.
Back to the award I know I owe it to you guys for challenges on responsible journalism which to most of us it never meant much sense until one of our own was indicted at the International Criminal Court charged with the most serious crimes – crimes against humanity through his radio program.
I won a laptop, a Sony cyber-shot camera – tools which I have always looked forward to have. These equipment will be available to my colleagues at any given time because without their support in many way I would have achieved this feat.
And to you as my (our) mentors and trainers, on behalf my colleagues I say THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Looking forward to seeing you and sharing with you in much more other opportunities you may have in future.
Happy Christmas and a fruitful year ahead.