INMA Elevate Scholar: Walter Mabonga of

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


In December 2022, INMA and Google News Initiative (GNI) awarded their third annual Elevate Scholarship to 50 news media professionals from 31 countries. This series features these impressive media professionals who are shaping our industry.

Walter Mabonga started his journalism career at Kenya News Agency (KNA) in 2017 and became a junior writer at in 2019. Since then, he has risen through the ranks, winning awards along the way that serve as signposts of his success.

Now the head of the department for the politics and current affairs desk at, he continues to set an example with his overall performance and the fresh ideas he brings to the table.

Walter Mabonga wants to make the media more inclusive because he’s observed the serious discrimination against women and people with disabilities.
Walter Mabonga wants to make the media more inclusive because he’s observed the serious discrimination against women and people with disabilities.

In Kenya’s recent general elections, he was recognised for his excellent coordination of correspondents across the country to deliver unique content that gave the company an edge over media houses.

Mabonga’s dream is to rise through the ranks to become a media manager and mentor: “I would like to learn so I can lead and guide others,” he said. But first, he has other important missions to complete. “Before realising this dream, my aspiration is to tell stories about drought and climate change. I feel this topic needs more attention since the impact of climate change on our lives is adverse and is getting worse with each passing day.”

In particular, Mabonga wants to “tell stories of the families, communities, and groups that have borne the brunt of this crisis, particularly in Africa. I believe I will be able to live this dream and make a difference.”

He is also interested in making the media more inclusive: “For the short period I have been in the media industry, I have observed that there is serious discrimination against people living with disabilities when it comes to employment.”

Mabonga is also concerned by the lack of gender equality within the news media industry: “The industry is dominated by men from the lowest to the highest ranks. Although there is notable progress in enhancing equality, women are still greatly disadvantaged.”

He wants to lead the charge against sexual harassment in the workplace and show that women are just as adept at becoming leaders as their male counterparts.

“There is a perception out there that only men can cope with the pressure and stress that come with the demands of the profession,” Mabonga noted. “I will dedicate my time and energy to try and change this perception by telling stories of women who have excelled in the media to encourage young girls aspiring to be journalists not to give up on their dreams.”

About Paula Felps

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