Goals of the MESHA Mentorship Program
Enhance professional development of science journalists
Establish local associations of science journalists
Encourage participation in the World Federation of Science Journalists
Foster communication among scientists, the media, and decision-makers
Mission of the MESHA Mentorship Program
Supported by the commitment of its members, Mesha’s mentorship program seeks to form a network of professional science journalists in Kenya to provide training for individual science journalists and also enjoin them into a worldwide community of science journalists. It will provide a framework to sustain a long-term relationship between experienced science journalists and aspiring science journalists. The project makes accessible to science journalists in Kenya the resources (such as sources, training, exchange opportunities, and scholarships) already available to their colleagues around the world.
Vision of the MESHA Mentorship Program
Equipped with the necessary skills, a critical mass of journalists in Kenya will cover science in aid of sustainable development. These journalists will play an influential role in strengthening, analyzing and criticizing local and regional S&T systems.
Professional science journalists are integral to any professional media organization. Because of their work, science stories are given suitable space and time to provide the public, policy makers, industry, and the scientific community with the information they need to make better decisions.
MESHA Mentorship Program Elements
The mentorship program encourages lifelong learning, and inspires up-and-coming science journalists to define their role, in society’s development of science in the national agenda.
The mentored journalists will have an opportunity to find their voice and to mentor each other. This empowerment builds bridges and combats isolation, increases diversity of ideas, and advances understanding of scientific and cultural issues.
The goals of the mentorship project are to push the envelope for science journalists, make science journalism stronger, and develop a better kind of journalism. To achieve these goals, the mentored journalists will be provided with opportunities to develop better sources and improve their use of available resources. They will also given guidance on how to get a better picture of the scientific landscape by developing strategic approaches to finding science stories and relevant information and by establishing contacts with experts and scientists.
Mentors and Mentees
Mentors answer key needs of mentored journalists. Over time, they develop respect and become respected by their mentored journalists, become better trainers, and develop peer-to-peer long-lasting productive partnerships with the journalists they mentor.
The key is for mentors to have an “unconditional positive regard” for their mentees. These expectations are achieved by building trust, awareness, and future opportunities with mentees.
While engaged in the project, the mentees produce more, and improved, articles, reports, and programs. By so doing, they are assigned fulltime or part-time to cover the science beat, and become respected by scientists.
As much as practical, the best match is based on a mentor’s media expertise and availability. This will offer the good opportunity to provide a positive environment with plenty of encouragement.
Desirable Traits and Competencies
MESHA seeks for journalists who have demonstrated they are engaged, responsible, passionate, and hard-working.
In addition, bilingualism (Kiswahili and English), technical accessibility, and training are important, as are ambition, availability, commitment, and a healthy dose of curiosity.