The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek Office has sent out an invitation to young Namibian journalists to apply for the 2021 Virtual Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship (RAF).

The Fellowship provides an opportunity as well as building reporting capacity among local and national press corps.

The Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship (RAF) is a General Assembly-mandated programme that invites excellent young journalists from developing countries and economies in transition to cover the opening sessions of UNGA for their respective news outlets.

Since its founding in 1981, the Fellowship has been awarded to 611 journalists from 168 countries.

During the programme, Fellows participate in exclusive interviews with senior UN officials, briefings with UN experts and training courses conducted jointly with reputable media institutions.

The RAF Fellowship receives broad support across the UN Secretariat, and senior UN officials featured in past RAF programmes include the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, SG Spokesperson and President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

UNIC’s national information officer Ms Anthea Basson says that “Fellows who participate in the RAF Fellowship benefit from an in-depth understanding of the United Nations, which translates to more nuanced and accurate reporting of the work of the UN in their communities.

“Past Fellows also report increased interest and affiliation to the UN through stronger bonds with UNHQ and we actively encourage programme alumni to seek closer relations with local UN offices, such as UNICs.

“During and after the annual programmes, RAF Fellows have produced high-quality coverage of UNGA, High-Level and side events, and issues related to the UN in general. Fellows also benefit from affiliation with a diverse international network of journalists and positive impact to their career advancements.”

The 2021 RAF Fellowship will accept applications until 15 June 2021.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions on travel, this year’s programme will be entirely virtual.

“This was not an easy decision as we are aware of the great value journalists find in being able to have in-person briefings and to cover UN events and UNGA live from the UN,” says Basson.

“The virtual programme would ensure that participating journalists can safely engage with the UN and UNGA while continuing their work locally. Participants in this year’s virtual programme would be eligible to apply for future in-person programmes.

“For questions about the programme, please do not hesitate to contact my colleagues in the Visitors Services Section, Elisabeth Waechter (Chief; and Le Minh Nguyen (Programme Coordinator;”

In the photo: The RAF fellows of 2016 taking a selfie with (at the time) UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon in New York City.