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Human rights group Karapatan in central Philippines confirms Elena Tijamo’s death


Last year on June 13, suspected military elements—four armed masked men in civilian clothes accompanied by two women—broke into Elena “Lina” Tijamo’s home in Barangay Kampingganon, Bantayan Island in Cebu and held back family members while they covered Tijamo’s mouth with tape, tied her hands, and took her away. She was taken under curfew hours and lockdown and that impeded her family’s efforts to search for her. She has been missing ever since.


On August 30, 2021, human rights group Karapatan Central Visayas confirmed Elena Tijamo’s death in a hospital in Metro Manila, far away from where she was abducted. Moreover, the group found the circumstances around her death to be questionable.


On August 28 at 1:00pm, Tijamo was able to call her brother Carlos (who is in Manila) from VRP Medical Center in Mandaluyong City to say that she is alright and would soon be discharged.


A few minutes after, a certain “Michael” called Carlos telling him to meet him outside of the hospital “because Carlos would not be able to enter the hospital due to COVID-19 restrictions.”


Once at the hospital, “Michael” told Carlos that Tijamo had already died after a goiter operation. “Michael” gave Carlos the bill and told him it was already paid.


Tijamo’s body was brought to St. Peter’s Funeral Homes without Carlos’ knowledge. Carlos discovered that Tijamo’s body would not be released to him because it was registered under a different name: Ava Perez Reyes.


Tijamo’s daughter Dawn was able to speak to the funeral parlor and found out that the person who brought Lina’s body to the funeral home was a certain “Neil Reyes,” who claimed to be Lina’s nephew.


The family does not know any “Michael” or “Neil Reyes”. These circumstances and those who brought Tijamo’s body to the funeral home under what is suspected to be false names hinder the family from claiming the body.


Tijamo was the program coordinator for sustainable agriculture FARDEC, non-profit, non-government organization that offers paralegal and educational services to farmers facing land issues. She was also the Community Radio Coordinator of FARDEC in Bantayan Island, Cebu. The group maintained a radio program, Radyo Sugbuanon in partnership with the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Philippines.


Following questionable circumstances surrounding her death and her body’s delivery to a funeral parlor, the family of Tijamo has yet to gain full custody of her remains so they can mourn her in their place of preference.


IAWRT extends its condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Tijamo and calls on concerned institutions in the Philippines to investigate the circumstances of her disappearance and death and mete out justice for Tijamo and her family. 

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Film director Sara Chitambo has started a Gogetfunding page for a documentary in production

The crowdfunding venture is for a feature documentary on mental health particularly depression in African communities on the continent and in the diaspora.


“The cross-continental film is a vehicle to understanding the directors own clinical depression diagnosis by interacting with different people who are further down the line in terms of their mental health treatment and weaving intimate portraits of participants in Canada, Nigeria, England, and South Africa,” explained the director in the crowdfunding page.


The film challenges the stigma of mental health in black communities and asks us to shift our perceptions of sanity, dignity, and well-being.


“This film is born out of frustration that mental health is largely misunderstood in African communities and those managing mental health issues are relegated to a nuisance, weak, attention-seeking or simply mad. Our treatment and medical options are limited and social needs remain largely neglected,” shared Chitambo.





The amount being raised will go towards the post-production of the film. The page indicated there is less than a month to go to raise the amount needed to complete the film.


The minimum donation is $20. Donate $60 or more and get a mention in the credits. Please go to this page to know more or to donate.


IAWRT South Africa member Sara Chitambo is an independent filmmaker and communications strategist. She grew up in Zambia, South Africa, and Namibia and is currently living in Johannesburg.

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IAWRT Treasurer Jola Diones-Mamangun held Zoom tutorials for IAWRT members.

In many places around the world, there is still no certainty when people can go back to the office or to schools. Work and classes have been conducted online for more than a year for a lot of people. With the highly transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant making its way to many countries only in the last few weeks, working and studying online may have yet to continue.


For over a year now, Zoom is one of the most-used apps for meetings and webinars because of the ease of use and high-quality audio/video output. Zoom has user-friendly and relatively intuitive interface and better call quality even at low bandwidths compared to others. Zoom also became popular for its free 40-minute calls for up to 100 attendees without the need to log in and the ability to record meetings as video. One can also generate an attendee list if you are the host or the owner of the account and have a Pro, Partner, Business, or Education account.


Please look at the uploaded file used in the workshop facilitated by IAWRT International Treasurer Jola Diones-Mamangun for the step-by-step How-tos on hosting and conducting a Zoom meeting.


Some tips on making your Zoom meetings smooth and effective:


  1. If you are hosting a meeting, it would be better to connect from a large screen. (Meaning: not your phone)


  1. Use the Zoom app (easy to download from Zoom website) and not the browser.


  1. Use a stable/wired connection.


  1. Double-check meeting default settings. Choose and apply security settings as needed. For example, choose to manually accept registrants than automatically approve them. Add a waiting room so the host has time to double-check the guests being admitted to the Zoom room. Set a customized meeting password.


After some security issues such as Zoombombing (ie uninvited participants who chanced upon the link hijacks the meeting, a lot of those happened when people opposed to what a meeting is about joined without invitation), Zoom has enabled meetings passwords by default.


  1. Test your audio and video as you join.


  1. Use a headset to eliminate noise creeping into your mic. Use a Bluetooth, USB, or jack-connected headset to avoid echo in the call. Better also to use the mic and speaker from the same device. The echo sometimes happens when your microphone and speaker are placed too close together. Some troubleshooting tips include lowering your speaker volume or double-checking that you are speaking on the correct microphone. It is also always good to be on mute when you are not speaking, and remind others to also mute their mic if they are not speaking.  


  1. Inform the participants that the meeting will be recorded before starting the recording. Participants will also be notified by Zoom once the recording starts, and they can accept and agree to that or choose to leave the meeting.


  1. Share the house rules with participants before you start. Share with them when and how they can speak or ask questions. A popular house rule used in Zoom is the Chatham House Rule—the guiding spirit of which is to share the information you receive, but do not reveal the identity of who said it.


  1. Use the Zoom tools for more collaborative sessions, such as annotate, raise hand, or react. Participants can also choose the skin tone for their emoji reactions.


  1. Zoom has a lot of background designs to choose from if you do not want to show your actual background. Various Zoom background designs are available for free online. Download them and add to your Zoom account so you may use them in various meetings. Bookshelves are a great idea, while others take a photo of their work desk and use it as background. There is also an option to blur your background.


  1. Zoom has a lot of effects to allow participants to show up better in the meeting. Laptop brightness and Zoom brightness can add more light to the frame. Makeup effects for those who wish to use them are available.



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Women Make Movies makes films available for free online screening from August 20 to 31, 2021.


“In the midst of the political tumult and our fear for women’s lives and rights, it’s important for all of us to know more about the country and the lives of Afghan women — to see their struggles as well as their incredible triumphs over the last 20 years,” says Women Make Movies on the website.


The free screening is in solidarity with Afghan women and the Afghan people who are now experiencing the transition to the return of Taliban rule in their country.


Among the nine films that will be shared online are stories on the first woman member of parliament, the first women video journalists in the country, the story of a woman fighting against sexual abuse and winning in the courts, the triumph of a female rapper over child marriage.


“The films in the collection demonstrate what Afghan women have accomplished in a generation. This context is important as we contemplate how to support women in Afghanistan moving forward,” says Women Make Movies.


Register to watch for free: https://www.wmm.com/voices-of-afghan-women-virtual-screening/?goal=0_b9a7a12a6e-0c40c69124-76953680&mc_cid=0c40c69124




A film by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami | Iran/Germany/Switzerland | 2015 | 91 minutes

Two-time Sundance Film Festival award winner SONITA tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. However, her family has a very different future planned for her: as a bride, she’s worth $9,000.


A Thousand Girls Like Me

A film by Sahra Mani | France/Afghanistan | 2018 | 80 minutes

A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME is an awe-inspiring vérité documentary that tells the story of a young Afghan woman’s brave fight to seek justice and protect her children after experiencing years of abuse at the hands of her father.


I Am the Revolution

A film by Benedetta Argentieri | Afghanistan/Syria/Iraq | 2019 | 72 minutes 

I AM THE REVOLUTION is an empowering portrait of three determined women in the Middle East who are leading the fight for gender equality and freedom: Politician Selay Ghaffar, one of the most wanted people in the world by the Taliban; Rojda Felat, a commander of the Syrian Democratic Army; and Yanar Mohammed, who works for parliamentary reform in Iraq while running shelters for abused women.


Search for Freedom

A film by Munizae Jahangir | Pakistan | 2003 | 54 minutes

SEARCH FOR FREEDOM traces the dramatic social and political history of Afghanistan from the 1920s-2003 through the stories of four remarkable women: Princess Shafiqa Saroj, sister of the beloved progressive King Amanullah (1919-1929); Mairman Parveen, the first woman to sing on Afghan radio; Moshina, a war widow and survivor of a Taliban massacre; and Sohaila, an exiled medical student who ran underground schools for RAWA (Revolutionary Association of Afghan Women) during the Taliban regime.



Playing With Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan

A film by Anneta Papathanassiou | Greece | 2014 | 58 minutes

In Afghanistan, women deciding to be actors make a dangerous choice. Banned under Taliban rule (1994-2001), Afghan theater experienced a comeback in the early 2000s, with many women at the forefront



Enemies of Happiness (Vores Lykkes Fjender)

A film by Eva Mulvad and Anja Al-Erhayem | Denmark | 2006 | 59 minutes

In September 2005, Afghanistan held its first parliamentary elections in 35 years. Among the candidates for 249 assembly seats was Malalai Joya, a courageous, controversial 27-year-old woman who had ignited outrage among hard-liners when she spoke out against corrupt warlords at the Grand Council of tribal elders in 2003.



Afghanistan Unveiled

A film by Brigitte Brault & Aina Women Filming Group

Afghanistan | 2003 | 52 minutes | French 

Filmed by the first-ever team of women video journalists trained in Afghanistan, this rare and uncompromising film explores the effects of the Taliban’s repressive rule and recent U.S.-sponsored bombing campaign on Afghani women. None of the fourteen journalist trainees had ever traveled outside Kabul. Except for one, none had been able to study or pursue careers while the Taliban controlled their country.


I Am a Girl

A film by Rebecca Barry | Australia | 2013 | 88 minutes 

There is a group of people in the world today who are more persecuted than anyone else, but they are not political or religious activists. They are girls. Being born a girl means you are more likely to be subjected to violence, disease, poverty and disadvantage than any other group on Earth. One of the girls featured in this film is Aziza from Afghanistan, who fears being shot if she goes to school.


Photos and information from Women Make Movies

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The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan calling for a peaceful transition of power with respect to the rights of everyone, especially women and girls.


IAWRT calls upon the international community to ensure that the rights of women and girls are respected, with special regard to women journalists and media professionals.


Threats and attacks against women journalists and media professionals, including our colleagues and fellow members in Afghanistan, have increased sharply in recent months since the withdrawal of allied forces from Afghanistan. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), there is a long list of journalists who have received death threats, driving many underground or to leave the country altogether. 


The declining security situation poses a serious threat to the achievements of the last two decades regarding freedom of expression and threatens to push back decades of hard-won progress for women and girls who are now terrified of a return to a repressive past under the Taliban. 


“There are many journalists and female social activists whose lives hang in the balance and whose stories may never be told as the Taliban takes over – once again. These are the brave women who challenged the status quo fighting for fundamental rights, but have been left behind while terror strikes,” says IAWRT President Violet Gonda.


IAWRT, therefore, calls on the following:

  • The current leadership must guarantee the safety of women journalists, media professionals, and activists in Afghanistan.
  • Women’s organizations around the world should join in solidarity to call for the freedom of women journalists, media professionals, and activists in Afghanistan.
  • The international community should immediately facilitate visas for Afghan journalists and media professionals, especially women and their families including elderly dependents and minor children.
  • In light of the rapidly deteriorating situation at the airport and in the city, there should be protection provided for Afghan civilians being airlifted – from their homes till they reach the airport terminal building.
  • The international community must continue its engagement in brokering peace in Afghanistan.
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Various media groups call for help for Afghan people, women journalists as the Taliban take over Kabul. 

The Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001 saw girls and young women prevented from attending school, women banned from working jobs outside of healthcare, and women required to be accompanied by a male relative and to wear a burqa at all times when in public. Violations could lead to public whipping or execution.


The world watches and waits with fear and trepidation if such reign will come back with the return of the Taliban.


The United States must do more to ensure the safety of Afghan journalists as the country falls under the control of the Taliban, including facilitating safe passage out of the country and providing emergency visas, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on August 16.


The group said they have registered and vetted the cases of nearly 300 journalists who are attempting to reach safety, and there are hundreds more whose cases are under review.


In Afghanistan, at least 53 journalists have been killed since 2001, and five were killed last year alone, according to CPJ.


The International Women’s Media Foundation supports all measures to ensure the safety of women journalists and media workers attempting to evacuate Afghanistan. The IWMF also calls on all governments worldwide to open their borders and include media workers in any humanitarian visa offerings available, the group said in its statement.


The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) expressed concern on the situation of journalists, especially journalists, and the reported closure of 90 media outlets from in provinces that the Taliban have reached.


“As a female journalist, I fear for the Afghan female journalists who face torture, rape, and death if the Taliban find them. I hope that journalists and government officials in the U.S. will lend their support in any way they can to save the Afghan journalists who did their best to seek the truth when we were there, also covering the chaos,” SPJ President-elect Rebecca Aguilar said.


In the Taliban’s first news conference since taking over the Afghan capital Kabul, the group promised women’s rights and press freedom.


Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on August 17 that women’s rights will be respected within the framework of Islam. They said they will allow women to study and work and media workers will be protected. The group also promised amnesty for government officials. As these were unseen in the five-year Taliban rule before the 20-year US-backed war, much of these remains to be seen or fulfilled in the coming days.


A day before, at least seven people died at the airport in a chaotic bid of Afghan people to leave the country, some even clinging onto the sides of a jet that took off.


The US and NATO scheduled to withdraw all troops this year and as this was only nearing completion, the Taliban advanced to Kabul in a week. Afghans woke up to Taliban in the presidential palace at the beginning of this week.


Read IAWRT statement on Afghanistan situation of women.

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Fatuma Matulanga is elected new chapter head


IAWRT Tanzania chapter, through its former office bearers, held a meeting on August 8, 2021 to elect new office bearers, enhance membership drive and come up with strategies to move forward.


Fatuma Matulanga – head of chapter

Rose Reuben – deputy head of chapter

Betty Tesha – secretary

Oprah Sadallah – treasurer


Board members:

Stella Setumbi

Raziah Quallatein Mwawanga


Advisor: Rose Mwalimu


Fatuma Matulanga is head of TBC Zanzibar. Rose Reuben is Director of Tanzania Media Women’s Association. Betty Tesha and Stella Setumbi are TBC radio broadcasters. Oprah Sadallah is the Communication Officer of Jaza/Midundo online radio. Ltd. Razia Mwawanga is Media Consultant/ Trainer & TV Broadcaster. Rose H. Mwalimu is a Media Consultant/Trainer.


Other members who attended the meeting are Bestina Magutu, Amina Mollel and Editha Maeda who are radio broadcasters and freelance journalist June Jao.

File photo of IAWRT Tanzania members



First National Women’s Convention for Peace in Cameroon concluded

The call for peace was done on the symbolic date of 31st July, also the day of the African woman. 


The peace call and the convention are the results of six months of planning and brainstorming for the first-ever National Women’s convention for Peace in Cameroon held from July 29-31, 2021 in Yaounde.



To ensure inclusiveness, the call was read in 4 languages: French, Fufuldei (a language common in the northern regions of Cameroon), pidgin (creole linga-franca) and in the English language. 


IAWRT Cameroon President Becky Bissong read the English version of the call as National Coordinator of the Cameroon Association of Women in Media- one of the 38 women-led Civil society organizations that spearheaded the initiative and planned for the event under the auspices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Cameroon. 



Women’s call for peace in Cameroon


We, Women of Cameroon, are longing for peace.

We have come together for the First-Ever National Women’s Convention for Peace in Cameroon – many hearts, beating as one.

As women, women we have buried our husbands and fathers, our brothers and uncles, our sisters and daughters; we have bandaged the wounds of our sons; wept and comforted our daughters who have been raped and battered, and saved them from being used as human bombs.

We hid in bushes, suffered the cold, starved for days as we ran away from guns and killings. We have been cruelly deprived of everything including our dignity as our tears fall on hardened soil while we watch our children and grandchildren as they loiter at home, unable to go to school.

But, according to an African proverb, “When women move forward, the world moves with them.”

And so, women from every corner of Cameroon and every group of society join their voices in this united “Women’s Call for Peace”: women peace activists, displaced women and girls, victims and survivors of war-related violence, female traditional and religious leaders, female soldiers and sportswomen, women entrepreneurs, domestic workers, bayam sellam women, women from civil society, trade unions, political parties and many more.

We have come together as mothers and grandmothers, wives and companions, sisters and daughters – together, we build an alliance of good will that is stronger, louder and in greater numbers than those people who profit from war and conflicts.

It is true that women pay a disproportionately heavy price in armed conflicts every day around the world. But we have also shown that we can overcome these difficult challenges with strong determination, loud voices and firm actions.

Women are the glue that holds society together, here in Cameroon and across the world – we have a sacred duty to link individuals and bind communities together. And so we have come with an unwavering commitment to bring peace to the country we love and to make it a better place for ourselves and our children.

Cameroonian women can and should play a leading role in building, negotiating and defending peace.

We applaud and pledge our support for all the peace efforts undertaken by government and all its partners in Cameroon and abroad, including civil society. Speaking with one voice and with our eyes firmly fixed on the objective of Peace, we call on all key stakeholders to the conflicts to undertake concrete and immediate actions to:

  • End hostilities, immediately and permanently, and thus give meaning to African Union’s campaign to ‘Silence the Guns’ in Africa in order to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters;
  • Pursue a continued and inclusive dialogue that addresses core issues around Peace, Solidarity and shared Humanity in Cameroon;
  • Ensure the equal and permanent involvement of Women peace mediators and negotiators in peace processes at all levels, while enforcing their protection at all times, according to the four pillars of the UN Resolution 1325;
  • Create additional and reinforce the existing centres for psychosocial support and trauma-healing;
  • Render the existing DDR centres functional and responsive to the existing conflicts.

We affirm our total commitment to work for the return and consolidation of peace within our respective families and communities.

We appeal to our sisters, husbands, brothers, and sons to join us in this patriotic commitment.

This is the price of our common future and that of our children.



Photos from the convention from Becky Bissong


0806 Something in the Air

The program is in partnership with Goethe Institut.

‘Something in the Air’ is a series of conversations with women who worked in television and radio in the formative years of Indian Media and reshaped the people’s consciousness.


Episode 2 of ‘Something in the Air,’ which was postponed in April due to the second wave of COVID-19, will now be held on August 6 at 6:30 pm IST.


Curated by Paromita Vohra and Shikha Jhingan, this episode is a conversation with Rita Mukherji and Sukhjinder Kaur about their professional and personal journeys as producers, journalists, and pioneers in creating new and livelier programming on radio, expanding its role of music and messaging.


Both women worked with All India Radio.


 ‘Yuva Vani’ producer Mukherji will share what it takes to be a legendary producer.


Kaur will talk about raising important social issues through the character she created—Kaake di Amma.


The episode will be moderated by Batul Mukhtiar.


To hear the conversation, register at: https://bit.ly/3rHLu2g


Watch the first episode: 


welisane foundation

IAWRT Cameroon’s Mokwe Welisane Epse Nkeng Ngoneh lead pregnancy-free holidays campaign

Award-winning Journalist and gender advocate/philanthropist and diplomat Mokwe Welisane Epse Nkeng Ngoneh leads a three-month campaign that aims to educate young girls on the health and social risk of unwanted pregnancies. This is part of her work in the Welisane Foundation.


“As part of our Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights advocacy and programs, Vacances Sans Grossesses targets youths during the long holidays,” said Welisane.


The foundation has designed short key messages on causes, consequences, prevention, abstinence, abortion, menstrual education, contraception to be disseminated by youth peer leaders via social media, mass media, and face-to-face discussions where youths will be gathering for fun activities this holiday.


“The long holiday is a time of relaxation and adventure for young people. However, many due to peer pressure or out of excitement may get involved in risky activities and compromising situations leading to sexual activity,” explains Welisane.


This campaigned is marked by social media awareness messages, mass media appearances, and peer education events organized by the Welisane Foundation and championed by their ambassadors, a webinar, and a boot camp.


“Although both boys are girls engage in this act, sadly enough it is the girl who is affected if she gets pregnant. She misses the next academic year or two. And may end up a school dropout. More so, this could lead to death from attempted abortions or medical complications, depression, suicide, substance abuse among others,” she adds.


The trending hashtag on social media is #SexCanWaitMyEducationCant.


“No girl should miss the next academic year because of pregnancy,” stresses Welisane.



On radio, Welisane produces health programs from Cameroon radio and television such as “Let’s Talk Health”, “Health Matters,” “Your Health Your Wealth” and “SOS Doctor.”


The Welisane Foundation also launched a “Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign,” “Let Girls Lead Now” mentorship scheme for young girls and the “Menstrual Hygiene Project” to donate reusable pads to displaced and less privileged girls.


The Welisane Foundation will also be commencing the “one girl one dream back-to-school project” for the less privileged and displaced girls to support them with didactic materials and tuition fees or the new school year 2021/2022.


“We will carry out a fundraising event, send appeal letters to our partners and sponsors, and do a general crowdfunding initiative,” shares Welisane.