A look at the feminine

Publish date 11-02-2023

by Chiara Vitali

Five journalists are reporting on their country as no one had ever done before. They live in Somalia and are the protagonists of Bilan Media, the first local journalistic organization composed of a female workforce. “In Somalia journalism is considered a job exclusively for men – explains Fathi Mohamed Ahmed, 25, one of the young women involved in the project – and everyone is asking women to devote themselves to another profession. My family also asked me not to become a journalist, but I went ahead anyway."

The Bilan Media project was born with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, is considered a pilot project and can potentially be exported to other areas of Somalia as well.
In the last month, Fathi and the other journalists have traveled within their country to report on the latest emergency that the population is facing: the now chronic lack of rain. “The population is suffering – explains the journalist – and in Somalia drought is always linked to the risk of famine. The fields are dry, they bear no fruit, and the farmers are losing their agricultural activities.

In 2011 Somalia had already experienced a violent famine, the worst of this century, which had led to the death of 260,000 people. Now, it is feared the same could happen.
How to find hope? “In our reports, we focus on vulnerable people. People affected by drought, for example, live in rural areas, struggling to receive information and also to make their voices heard. We also work to get them aid, water, food, medicines», replies Fathi.
The other hope for Bilan Media is to bring to public opinion a gaze, the female one, which until now has been absent in the narratives. "We have full decision-making autonomy on what we choose to tell - concludes Fathi - and we hope that this project can open a trail for many other girls".

Chiara Vitali
NP November 2023

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