We’re delighted to announce the four winners of this year’s CBA Travel Bursaries. The grants are awarded to employees of our member organisations to visit broadcasters in other Commonwealth countries to pursue projects that will build their experience and benefit their organisation.
The 2013 bursars are: Hauwa Abubakar from Nigeria, who is going to Rwanda; Natasha Jha Bhaskar of India, visiting Canada’s TVO; Elias Lunga from Zambia, going to Kenya Broadcasting Corporation; and Kiesha-Ann Smith of Jamaica, who will make a documentary in South Africa.
(Pictured from left to right: Elias, Natasha, Hauwa and Kiesha-Ann)
Hauwa Abubakar is excited about her trip, and recalls getting the news on a busy day at the Voice of Nigeria: “my colleagues in the newsroom gave me a resounding applause… the fact that I was chosen among the four people required served as an encouragement to do more in my job.”
Hauwa explained why she felt Nigeria could learn from Rwanda’s genocide experiences and healing process: “Nigeria is presently witnessing a new phase of insecurity and violence occasioned by the Boko Haram militant sect in the north, militancy in the south, as well as kidnapping and pockets of ethnic clashes in various areas of the country.
“I chose Rwanda as my destination for the bursary project, to explore the country before, during and after the genocide for Nigeria to learn from this, and plan for the future.
Hauwa plans to talk to Rwandans at different levels for documentaries and short broadcast pieces. She says that media organisations have a responsibility to set development agendas, and that she hopes her project, as content for her station in Nigeria, will add to efforts to promote peace and unity in her country, and Africa at large.
Natasha Jha Bhaskar says she is “elated” about being chosen for the bursary. She explained: “It gives me an enlightening opportunity to visit the TVO office in Toronto and learn about programming strategy and how they have adapted to new digital technology.”
Natasha, a senior anchor at Lok Sabha TV, wants to find out more about how the Canadian education channel works and bring that knowledge back to her country. She says that in India, a question mark hangs education access for almost 40 per cent of the country, which has the world’s highest child population.
The bursary, she says “would give me an opportunity to interact with TVO employees who are directly involved in making it the most trusted educational brand in Canada. I want to know how they make their programmes enriching and informative, how they make learning interesting and exciting, what tools they use to grab maximum eyeballs.”
Elias Lunga says he could not wait to share the news of his travel bursary and trip to Kenya with his manager and colleagues. Elias, of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, said: “I have always wanted to travel to Kenya and get a feel of how the media works there. Exposure and interaction at international level is the best way to learn.”
Because Zambia is co-hosting this year’s UN World Tourism Organization assembly, Elias wants to learn how the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has covered such events and helped boost tourism. He sees tourism-sector growth as vital in a developing economy such as that of Zambia.
Elias adds: “The media in Kenya has contributed a lot to the development of tourism – a fact which the Kenya Tourism Federation has recognised. Zambia has held conferences before but has not done much to use them to develop the tourism sector.”
Kiesha-Ann Smith’s proposal comes after calls for more local programming in Jamaica, particularly through the TV Jamaica project, Originals – Home Grown. A filmmaker and employee of TVJ, she believes that film and drama production in her country could learn from how things are done in South Africa. And she plans to make a documentary of her journey in South Africa, shot as a video diary and edited into a 30-minute film.
Kiesha-Ann says: “I believe there is a story in everything, therefore whilst my travel to South Africa will be primarily to learn the key principles of their TV and film production culture, I also believe this ‘voyage’ has the makings of a reflective and inspiring film: Bantu Knots – South Africa Through Jamaican Eyes.
“South Africa has a long history of filmmaking,” says Kiesha-Ann, “the government has stressed the importance of film in building the country’s heritage by telling its own stories, and has set about providing an enabling regulatory framework to encourage the production of local content.”
The broadcasters will be travelling between now and June this year. The CBA is grateful to the Elizabeth R Broadcasting Fund and the Grace Wyndham Goldie Trust for their continued support for these bursaries.