DW Akademie, the media development wing of Germany's public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), held a workshop "Women Journalists' Mentorship" this week.
The induction workshop was held at a hotel in Gulshan from 27 to 29 December, with nine journalists and 10 journalism students in attendance, said a press release.
A total of 20 participants – including journalists Promila Kanya and Shahenoor Akhter Urmi from The Business Standard – were chosen through a selection process earlier this month.
DW Akademie launched the programme in Bangladesh last month, to train and equip early-career women journalists and journalism students in the country with digital and journalistic skills to help them become more competent in their workplaces and reach the next level in their professional life.
Rozina Islam, the '2021 Free Press Unlimited Most Resilient Journalist Award' winner and special correspondent of leading daily Prothom Alo – will mentor the group, who will receive training on various technical and digital aspects of journalism over the next three months, and produce high-quality journalistic work in 10 journalist/student pairs.
Mainul Islam Khan conducted the training along with Rozina Islam.
Keya Bose, a master's student of journalism of Jahangirnagar University, said, "Before this, we learned journalism in the classroom. But here we found out many things that can only be found outside the class; we found out how journalism is in real life."
Priya Esselborn, programme director, Bangladesh at DW Akademie, said, "For DW Akademie, empowering women worldwide is what drives social development. We are very happy to come up with this special fellowship that will support 20 aspiring women to gain digital skills and widen their network to get more competitive in the media."
As part of the initiative focusing on women, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, DW Akademie is also working with Bangladeshi organisations Kotha and Bonhishikha to hold gender sensitisation workshops at public universities and develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) for media outlets on reporting about women's issues.
According to the press release, journalists and journalism students from across the country produced numerous news report ideas over three days.
Afsana Akhter, a journalist from Narayanganj and a new mother, had to make a choice when she was invited to a three-day residential workshop in Dhaka.
"After becoming a mother, life changes in many ways," Afsana says. "But I wanted to continue working, and I got my family's support. I wanted to join the workshop because I wanted to gain something from it; I did not want to lag behind," said Afsana, who brought her nursing daughter Niharika, along with her mother-in-law, for the workshop, and made sure she kept her commitment both to her daughter and her profession.
DW Akademie has been working in Bangladesh since 2014 with an aim to improve journalism education and practice in the country to strengthen the country's free media.
They have worked with public universities to reform journalism curricula, developed the capacity of community radio journalists, facilitated internships at leading newsrooms for journalism graduates, developed an online course for practising and citizen journalists with Article 19.
They have also organised four networking conferences that brought together educators and professionals to discuss issues of journalism, and held numerous training sessions with university teachers, journalists, students, and top media outlets of the country.