Journalist is 2010 Tanzania
The Executive Director of the Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa), Ananilea Nkya was on March 2 awarded the 2010 Tanzanian Woman of Courage by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt, at the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
“Through the 2010 Tanzanian Woman of Courage Award, you are recognised for your efforts to use mass media for awareness raising, speaking out forcefully against gender-based violence and helping repeal laws which limit women’s rights. Your efforts to train women as journalists and empower women to advocate for themselves have brought great dividends to the entire Tanzanian society,” Lenhardt told her.
Nkya’s untiring efforts to promote gender equality, equal opportunities and justice for Tanzanian women and girls have put her on a pedestal. Besides the award, Ambassador Lenhardt granted Tamwa Sh1,000,000 to boost a scholarship programme for women seeking university studies in journalism.
Nkya becomes the third Tanzanian woman to receive the award after former head of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Helen Kijo-Bisimba and Same Special Seat MP Anne Kilango-Malecela (CCM) who received the award in 2008 and 2009 respectively for promoting human rights and fighting against corruption.
After she was awarded, Nkya said she greatly felt privileged and thanked the US Embassy in Tanzania and the American people for picking her, saying it was an indication that her efforts were bearing fruit.
She particularly thanked her parents and colleagues for shaping her into an assertive woman and feminist. Nkya dedicated the award to all women in Tanzania, particularly her colleagues in the media and Tamwa, which has for 21 years been advocating for women’s and children’s rights.
“Who and what I am have been shaped by my profession, that is, journalism and the social movement on gender, development, democracy and human rights. Selecting me for the award this year is a great motivation for journalists and all activists - women and men - who are working tirelessly to transform cultures, systems, structures, policies and ideologies which reinforce marginalisation and subordination of women and girls and promote justice and equality for all,” she said.
She noted that Tamwa was the only media organisation encouraging its members to go for further studies and as of last year 13 of its members had joined university in and outside the country and the number of its members had increased from 50 in 2001 to 100 at present.
Nkya is a journalist by profession and has been Tamwa’s boss since 2001. Her organization has transformed Tanzania’s media environment, making media practitioners more socially involved, especially fighting against practices that oppress women and girls. Among them are Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), gender-based violence and child marriages.
She has been encouraging women to participate in politics and carefully consider suitable candidates for elections to get competent leaders.
She is pushing political parties to implement the Maputo Protocol on gender that requires member states, including Tanzania, to have 50:50gender parity in parliament by the end of this year.
She also fought against an oppressive law in Zanzibar according to which a girl who became pregnant out of wedlock could be jailed for two years.
Nkya’s leadership has seen 20 young members of Tamwa benefit from the Eastern and Southern Africa exchange programme supported by Fredkorpset.
Born in Machame, Kilimanjaro Region, in 1958, Nkya obtained her Primary and Secondary education at Nronga Primary School in Hai District and Korogwe Girls High School in Tanga.
In 1982 she joined the then Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam (RTD) as a reporter and later became sub-editor. In 2001, she joined Tamwa.
In 1984 she took a diploma course at the Tanzania School of Journalism (TSJ) which she completed in 1986. From 2006-2008 she studied for a BA in Development Studies at Kimmage Centre, Ireland, and from 1990-1991 she studied MA Degree in Journalism at the University of Wales, UK. She also attended an NGO Management course at MSTCDC, Usa River Arusha, in 2002.
Nkya has written a book entitled: ‘NGO Ni Nini’ (What are NGOs?) ’ and ‘20 Years of Tanzania Media Women’s Association (Tamwa): Moving the Agenda for Social Transformation in Tanzania’.
She has co-authored a book entitled: Always Serving, A Portrait of Thecla Grace Mchauru and its Kiswahili version.
Nkya has written and presented over 40 papers at both local and international conferences She is married to Mudimi Itael and is a mother of three daughtersl.