Sam Ibeji sat in a makeshift classroom in Umuahia, Nigeria, transfixed as Chuck Pollak described the power of Christian radio, part of Vision Africa’s Media Institute in June 2015. Five years later, Sam was the instructor, helping to train Christian media professionals in seven African nations tuned in to receive media training by live video stream. The conference, “Communicating Peace through COVID,” was broadcast by Vision Africa in partnership with Sharing International in October 2020.
The training, which was the first of its kind offered by Vision Africa and its partners, was in response to a Covid-related cancellation of their annual media training intended to be presented in-person at Love 104.1 FM in Umuahia, Nigeria in June.
Trainers included staff from several nations: Ngozi Nwachukwu and Sam Ibeji from Nigeria, Christopher Singh and Peter Wooding from the United Kingdom along with Chuck Pollak, Jennifer Epperson, Mark Seigneous and Sharon Geiger from the United States. Topics ranged from “The Fundamentals of Radio Broadcasting” to “Cultivating Listeners in a Digital Age” and “Audience Research.”
Although the ministries involved had planned to explore virtual training in the future, the global pandemic accelerated the implementation of trans-continental media education. Such education has never been more critical.
Bishop Sunday Onouha, Vision Africa’s founder stated, “The Vision Africa Virtual Media Training has been an awesome experiential process for me, both as an administrator of a media organisation and also as a cleric. My immediate takeaway from this training is that God is ever more dynamic and he weaves the impossible into a fine thread of joy-filled possibilities!”
Chuck Pollak, President and Founder of Sharing International said, “This conference gives me immense satisfaction. We enjoyed unity in this journey with the leadership and staff of both Vision Africa and Sharing International. Everyone did their part with dedication and good humour! The impact this institute has had and will have on the spreading of the Gospel will be beyond we can imagine.”
Despite the success of this year’s virtual training, plans for next year’s training institute include offering the instruction in person, pandemic permitting.