Correspondent, Francophone West Africa

Francophone West Africa | Part-time

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openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash project is a unique, global, feminist investigative journalism initiative dedicated to exposing and challenging threats to women’s and LGBTIQ rights. Over the last year, our investigations have been cited across the global media – including by Al Jazeera, the BBC, The Guardian, Time and Reuters – as well as by dozens of outlets in Africa including the Daily Maverick, eNCA, Mail & Guardian and SABC (in South Africa), JoyOnline (Ghana), Sahara Reporters (Nigeria) and Daily Monitor (Uganda), . 

Our groundbreaking, 18-country investigation into anti-abortion misinformation linked to two US Christian right groups led health authorities in Costa Rica, Ecuador and South Africa to promise formal inquiries and potential action. Another agenda-setting investigation – into violations of women’s rights in childbirth during COVID-19 – led civil society groups to warn that African countries could be breaking the law by introducing restrictions that led to deaths. We also revealed a $280m global ‘dark money’ empire funded by dozens of large, politically connected US religious right groups, with more than $50m spent in Africa. 

We are now recruiting for a new regional correspondent – part-time (2.5 days a week) – to join the Tracking the Backlash team and help us to expand our coverage in Francophone West Africa. It is a requirement to be professionally bilingual in French and English. They will report to our 5050 Africa Editor, Lydia Namubiru, based in Uganda. 

We expect this correspondent to investigate anti-rights threats in Francophone West Africa, for example, from ultra-conservative groups in France and Belgium, as well as the role of organised, cross-border Islamic fundamentalist networks in pushing back against women’s and LGBTIQ rights and targeting local defenders of these rights.

The correspondent will also contribute to our series Documenting the Resistance – which profiles feminist movements fighting back against threats to women’s and LGBTIQ rights – and to stories about women’s and LGBTIQ rights in media coverage and media industries.

Location: Francophone West Africa

Salary: Competitive for non-profit media, dependent on experience

Contract type: One year freelance contract working 2.5 days per week

Reports to: Africa editor

Key responsibilities:

  • Contribute to at least two major Tracking the Backlash investigations in 2021 (these could be team, collaborative and cross-border projects with other journalists, as well as ongoing and follow-up reporting. 
  • Research, report, write and/or produce stories for our Documenting the Resistance series (profiling feminist movements) as well as stories about women’s and LGBTIQ rights within media coverage and media industries.
  • Support regional editors to establish collaborations and co-publishing relationships, or secure other pickup, with at least three new media partners that cater to local audiences, as well as relationships with at least three new civil society groups. 

Other responsibilities:

  • Monitor organised opposition to sexual and reproductive rights in your region, as well as key fights for these rights and feminist campaigns
  • Share short updates based on this monitoring with editors at least twice a month. 
  • Attend and participate in relevant team meetings, trainings and workshops.
  • Conduct desk research to develop and plan investigative projects (as directed by your regional editor).
  • Collaborate with fellows and junior reporters to develop their skills, as needed.
  • Represent our projects publicly, as needed.

Person specification:

Required:

  • At least three years’ experience as a reporter.
  • Excellent news judgement, and ability to generate ideas to push stories further.
  • Demonstrable ability to file clear, concise copy on time and in accordance with editorial briefs and assignments from editors
  • A strong track record of reporting on the Francophone West Africa sub-region, expert knowledge of news media trends in the region and a great journalism contacts book. 
  • Passion and commitment to covering underreported issues and threats to women’s and LGBTIQ rights including from far-right and religious conservative groups.
  • Ability to work independently and with a cross-border multicultural team.
  • Professional fluency in English and French.

Preferable:

  • Demonstrable experience in impactful investigative reporting. 
  • Expert knowledge of sexual and reproductive rights, gender and LGBTIQ issues and/or far-right, religious conservative and other relevant movements in the region.
  • Previous experience working with a cross-border multicultural team.
  • Previous experience or interest in supporting young women and LGBTIQ people to develop their journalism skills including in news writing. 
  • Multimedia or other specialist journalism skills (such as. data journalism).

How to apply:

Candidates must be able to provide evidence they have the skills, knowledge and experience detailed in the person specification section of the job description.

Please submit to Recruiterbox your CV (in English or French), a personalised cover letter outlining your suitability for the role (in English) and three samples of your writing, one in English, one in French and the third in either language. Also, tell us your country of residence. 

If you have any questions about the position, please email recruitment@opendemocracy.net

Deadline: Sunday 21 February 2021 at 11:59 pm GMT

openDemocracy is committed to being an equal opportunities employer that values and respects the people who work with us. We positively encourage applications from suitably experienced candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity.

We are open to accommodating family-friendly hours and other caring responsibilities.