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Remarks by Spokesperson Robert Gabor at the Launch of “She Exists” All-Women Journalists Training
Yola, Adamawa State | September 13, 2023
September 19, 2023

Good morning everyone. It is an honor and a pleasure for me to say a few words at the launch of this training today.   The “She Exists” training program seeks to promote equity and equal opportunities for women in the media.  This is the first in a series of trainings the U.S. Embassy is sponsoring for female journalists across the six north eastern states of Nigeria.  So from here, we will proceed with courses in Taraba, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi and Gombe in the coming weeks.

We hope you all are excited to take advantage of this opportunity to improve your skills and then to go back to your offices and apply those skills every day.

Let me start by explaining why the United States government is sponsoring this training.  Worldwide, my government has implemented a range of policies, programs, and initiatives to support women’s empowerment across various sectors.  These efforts aim to address issues such as economic equality, education, health care, political participation, and gender-based violence.

But we cannot do it alone.  No one can.  We recognize that the media has a vital role in the long road towards full empowerment of women.  Why?  Because the media provides information, and information is the root of power.  Equally importantly, the media can also help change public perceptions.

And a key step for that is simply for there to be more women working as media professionals – as reporters, editors, photographers, everything.  Happily, in recent years, we are seeing exactly that here in Nigeria: women no longer allowing themselves to be left outside this formerly male-dominated field.

You are those women, and again, we are so happy that we can help offer this training to you!

This workshop will give you the opportunity to improve your journalism skills.  It will cover storytelling techniques, ethical reporting guidelines, use of digital tools, and awareness of media trends.  It will also address challenges specific to women in the field, such as safety concerns, combatting bias, and promoting leadership roles. And it will touch on the rise of online social media platforms.  Social media has expanded opportunities for women to share their voices and narratives, but it has also brought about new challenges, including online harassment and cyberbullying.

Of course training cannot do it all.  I encourage you all to embrace the use of new communication technologies.  I hope you will make your voices heard in professional organizations, political debates, and on social media where the issues of the day are debated.  I know you will write balanced and non-stereotyped portrayals of women in your reporting.  And I urge you to mentor your younger colleagues and to encourage young women coming up behind you to pursue media-related studies and careers.

To close, I would like to commend the organizers of this training, the Organization for Innovation and Sustainable Development, for this laudable initiative. They identified a need and came up with a way of addressing it.  The U.S. government, through the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy in Abuja, is proud to sponsor this initiative.  In our support for press freedom worldwide, we will do everything within our capacity to support journalists here in Nigeria and around the world.

Thank you very much for listening, and I wish you a great training session.