Mobile Community Zimbabwe trainee Divine Dube is among the 30 young Zimbabweans who are recipients of the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship.
He will spend six-weeks at the Wagner University in New York to learn skills in civic leadership and interface with America’s finest social entrepreneurs in the field of communication for development.
Now in its second year, the MWF is a President Obama initiative that seeks to empower young African leaders who are passionate about bringing real change to their communities.
Speaking from New York, Divine said he is committed to sharing skills that he will acquire during the fellowship with the MCZ community.
“It will be foolhardy not to mention that as I undergo this fellowship I am riding on skills that I learnt through MCZ trainings. America has a vibrant and innovative media industry. I therefore look forward to learning how community media is run.
In February 2015, MCZ partnered with the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) to train a group of members from the community radio initiatives in the use of mobile telephone technology to produce radio programs. Divine was one of the trainees.
“Part of my fellowship encompasses interacting with community media organizations in New York so I will pay particular attention to how they use new media to amplify citizen voices,” Divine said.
Divine currently works for Plumtree Development Trust where he is currently working with communities in Plumtree, Mangwe and Bulilima to “promote networked communication and participatory journalism where ordinary citizens are able to gather, package and share user generated content among themselves through mobile platforms”.
He believes that media can be leveraged to develop poor Zimbabwean communities through responsible coverage of community issues by the current crop of scribes and their media houses.
Upon his return from the US fellowship Divine plans to set up information and innovation Hubs in Mangwe and Bulilima – in order to scale up existing efforts to facilitate access to information for rural communities and to amplify their voices on issues that affect them.