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Winnie Onyimbo

Winnie is an independent journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

She has worked on development issues for the past four years, contributing to various international media organisations.

Why do you focus on development issues? 

Africa in general is going through a development transition and there are many social issues that people are grappling with. For example, information and communications technology (ICT) is an area that is growing so fast but most of the African population knows very little about it. Climatic changes are hitting farmers who are unprepared and they end up losing a lot.

These issues need to be addressed so that people are better informed to make the right choices. I decided to focus on development because this is an area that affects a big part of people's lives yet there is very little information given to them. Another important point is that in Kenya media owners focus more on entertainment and politics rather than information on development, because there is more profit in these areas. Very little attention is being given to development stories and so people are often misinformed or not informed at all.

What would you like to achieve through journalism?

I would like to inform the people in Africa, and Kenya in particular about important development issues. This will help them in choosing the right leaders and holding the leaders accountable, to know their rights and freedoms and to prevent diseases. But my journalism will also give the world the right picture about Africa – many things are said and shown about Africa that are not necessarily true, or are half-truths. I would like to tell the African story as it is with the professionalism it deserves.

How important is journalism for Kenya’s development?

Journalism is very important in Kenya. We have made great leaps in the past five years because the media has been given some freedom and people are better informed now. It is the media that shows citizens of my country whether the government is delivering or not, if there is an outbreak of a disease and what to do in case of a disaster. It is the media that links the policy makers, experts and politicians with the people.

Journalism by Winnie Onyimbo

Kenya: saving for a dry day


In Kenya’s Eastern Province, severe droughts mean many farmers are reduced to living on food aid. But a savings club is helping households to grow drought-resistant crops, giving them a fighting chance during the hard times brought on by changes in the climate.

Harsh lessons in climate change


Droughts are devastating the lives of many Kenyan farmers. Some are learning to adapt using drought-resistant seeds, while others may be forced to give up working on the land.

Falling in love with mobile money


In Kenya those wanting to send money have often been stung by steep transaction fees. Now many have begun to take advantage of a system that allows them to send cash via SMS. 

Desperate measures


In countries where abortion is illegal, women continue to seek it out. The consequences can be devastating. Winnie Onyimbo reports from Nairobi on the effects of incomplete or unsafe abortions. 

Disease in a bottle


In Nairobi’s Kibera slum, poor people pay a premium for water. Winnie Onyimbo talks to illegal water sellers and asks residents why they risk their health buying contaminated water. 

Peace officers for Somalia


After many year of war, Kenya has paid to train around 200 recruits to form an elite protection force for Somalia's transitional government. Winnie Onyimbo met some of the graduates.

Young, gifted and broke


Kenya is currently in the throes of a recession, resulting in high unemployment. Winnie Onyimbo talks to Willis Obwayo whose dream was to be a doctor. 

Human dogs


In Kenya's capital Nairobi, campaigners and police are advertising notorious danger spots on billboards. Will highlighting these 'rape red zones' make women safer or is there more to it?