Women Empowerment Through Media
For almost 3 years, we have implemented a training and professional development programme for aspiring female journalists in Syria. It consists of a comprehensive journalism course (writing, audio and video), as well as study modules related to women’s role in the context of war, women’s rights, gender equality, etc. It aims to encourage women’s participation in Syrian media, as journalists, as readers and viewers, and leaders in civil society.
Women empowerment in numbers
Since launching the programme in 2017, 124 women have benefited from the first stage of the journalism training in situ. The on-site training lasts about 85 hours over 3 weeks (16 to 18 days of 5 hours each) : 35 hours training on written press, 35 hours on audio and video, 5 hours on social media and 10 hours of thematic lessons on women’s rights issues. These are facilitated by a team of 4 trainers. Since the launch of the programme, we have organised these trainings in many regions of Syria: Idleb, Kafranbel, Eastern Ghouta, Raqqa, Al Bab, Amouda and Azaz.
Ayny Aynak, a media by and for women.
Created in 2017 as part of the Women Empowerment through Media programme, Ayny Aynak is a media platform which gives our trainees opportunities to practice their skills, with support from a team of trainers, and also a place of free expression focused on the lives of women. Multimedia content is published daily (texts, audios, videos) in Arabic, targeting primarily the audience of Syrian women, covering subjects rarely seen in the mainstream press. Thus, every month, 25 to 50 media reports are being published by a team of about 20 to 30 trainee journalists. At the end of this second stage, they are ready to pursue work as a journalist; from previous cohorts, around 75% have succeeded within 6 months. While participants come from different areas, they all live in regions that have been or are currently outside regime control (Idleb, Raqqa, Al Bab), and have experienced different contexts within a complex war, such as forced displacement from Eastern Ghouta, Der ez-Zor or Homs. Though created first as a training platform, Ayny Aynak continues to develop as an independent media outlet, amplifying the voices of the women of Syria.
Survivors, or not yet: Reintegration after detention.
The campaign Survivors or not yet is an initiative of Ayny Aynak, supported by 17 other Syrian media outlets. Taking place from April 15th to May 30th 2019, the campaign mobilized and sensitized public opinion – mainly Syrian – about the treatment and social conditions of formerly detained women (read the Liberation article and listen to the Orient Hebdo segment here). Ayny Aynak created a space to collect the testimonies of women who survived detention and kidnapping, only to arrive home to another type of prison: the stigmatization and exclusion by their community. In total, 55 women have participated in this campaign leading to the publication and the sharing of 81 testimonies. More than a media campaign, Survivors or not yet initiated a movement across Syrian civil society, with sit-ins and conferences in Idleb region and in the north of the country.
Illustrations : Manon Photopoulos