Share your personal journey. What led you down the path of your current profession?
Right from infancy I’ve always wanted to take up a profession that will give me the chance to help the less privileged. As a child I wanted to be a politician because I believed they had the power to change lives! However, I realized journalists had more power! They would go out and tell stories of the poor and marginalized and then politicians go out and help. So that was it. Journalism – the career I knew I was built for.
My journey as a journalist actually began during my undergraduate studies with the University of Ghana. I had the opportunity to be a student reporter at the campus’s radio station called Radio Univers. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. From struggling to write a simple story, I rose through the ranks to the position of the News Editor and the host of a gender-based talk show titled ‘Yaa Asantewaa’.
What experience did you have prior to applying to the Fisher Fellowship?
After my four-year studies at university, I was approached by undoubtedly Ghana’s best media organization, the Multimedia Group Limited where I was expected to undergo one-year mandatory National Service. Here I was expected to produce reports and features weekly, which I did! It was therefore no surprise I was employed exactly a year after. The real work began from here. I told many stories including how low investment in mental health care in Ghana affects many people with mental disability. I have generated and set a national agenda on how many families abandon and discriminate against healed lepers. I also was the lead reporter for Joy Clean Ghana Campaign that sought to drive the message of keeping a clean environment.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned during your fellowship?
There are so many things I have learnt during my time as a fellow! Having to meet virtually and interact with best-selling authors, veteran journalists and politicians. I got to learn something every week. My favourite thing was when we had the chance to deliberate on the way forward in journalism and what we should ‘drop’ and what to take up to make the world a better place through our story telling. I wouldn’t trade these weekly lunches for anything!
How has covid-19 affected your experience as a fisher fellow?
OMG! I think among the fellows I was the one who felt the impact of the Covid situation the most haha! I spent 7 out of the 8 months back in Ghana. But it was an experience that taught me so much about how much we can achieve even in a pandemic. We were able to hold our lunch meetings (even though mine was dinner!) virtually and successfully.
What has been your biggest achievement so far in your career?
I’m proud to say that at age 26 I’ve achieved so much as a journalist. Yes, I was awarded the best Sanitation Reporter in 2020 by the Ghana Journalists Association, I’ve been named a 2020/2021 JHR/ Fisher Fellowship journalism fellow at Massey College. However, what I consider my biggest achievements are the number of people who have been liberated, smiled and their lives made better by the stories I told. That “thank you” or “my son is better now” or “we are fine now” brings me so much joy! I can’t even describe how those comments make me feel.
How will you use what you’ve learned during your fellowship in the future?
This fellowship has triggered some sort of spark to do more than just tell stories. I intend to do research on issues back in Ghana and hopefully my findings will help change some policies.
Where can people follow your work online?
You can find my stories on Youtube, just look up the name Emefa Nancy. On Twitter it’s @emepha_nanci. I have a blog also, where you can read some of the fun things about me both as a journalist and outside it, when you visit pendownemefa.wordpress.com