By Lamin Jahateh
Gambian journalist and blogger, Modou S. Joof, leaves for South Africa today to take part in the 2017 Master Class of International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and DuPont Pioneer.
Joof, a 2015 award winner on agriculture reporting, is one of “10 outstanding agricultural journalists” from Cameroon, Georgia, Togo, Pakistan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda and Zambia selected for the Master Class – a programme for professional development, leadership training and global networking.
The Master Class takes place from 30th – 1st April in conjunction with IFAJ’s global congress to be held near Pretoria, South Africa, from 2nd – 8th April. Master Class participants will have the opportunity to attend the congress.
On Tuesday, Joof said the Master Class and the IFAJ congress gives him an opportunity to hone his skills, widen his knowledge of agriculture reporting and to improve his leadership skills.
He said it is also a perfect platform to meet, network and share experience with professional colleagues from around the world.
“The farm tours and the hands‐on reporting aspects of the programme will be a great experience and exposure to agriculture in South Africa – the largest food producer and the only net exporter of food in Africa,” Joof said.
He said the benefits for taking part in these two important events (the Master Class and the IFAJ World Congress) are enormous because he is ready to share his knowledge and skills with young journalists in The Gambia.
He said the Network of Agricultural Communicators (NAC-The Gambia) which currently employs him as a trainer of community radio journalists in the project “Empowering Farmers Through Better Agric Journalism” will also benefit from his exposure.
Implemented in partnership with the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists (DFAJ), the NAC project is meant to empower farmers by equipping journalists with the requisite skills to report on agricultural activities that would educate farmers and influence positive change in the society.
Recognition of accomplishments
Announcing the 2017 Master Class, IFAJ President Owen Roberts, said these 10 outstanding people have already demonstrated their skills as journalists, and are poised to become leaders in the evolution of agricultural journalism guilds in the years to come.
“The Master Class programme is a recognition of their accomplishments and an opportunity to engage in professional development, leadership training and global networking that will allow them to reach new heights,” Roberts said.
The Master Class is sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, a developer and supplier of plant genetics to farmers worldwide.
Tracy Willits, global communications director, DuPont Pioneer, said they are proud to provide continuing support to the IFAJ’s Master Class Programme, which offers agricultural journalists worldwide professional development and knowledge-based skills.
“Through the high-quality information and communications these journalists share, they can foster understanding that will yield significant benefits to farmers, consumers and others throughout the value chain,” Willits said.
Since 2011, Joof, a former managing editor of The Voice newspaper and president of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia, initiated and actively participated in many volunteer-training of young journalists in The Gambia. Joof is also a news editor at Front Page International.