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Training in West Africa ignites magazine publishing industry

By Jennifer Howard | January 2023

More than 40 Christian magazine publishing professionals, primarily from West Africa, gathered in Accra, Ghana for an intensive five-day Introduction to Magazine Publishing course offered by Magazine Training International (MTI) in mid-November.

Participants and trainers came from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, and the United States. They included publishers, editors, and designers of existing magazines, as well as those who are considering starting a magazine.

Regardless of their current role in publishing, the participants had a similar passion for magazine publishing—whether they wanted to bolster their prison ministry, reach students, or encourage women to have a voice.

Sidsaya Issifu John from the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy, and Bible Translation said that his desire to publish came from living in a Muslim context with three daughters. He wants to start a magazine to encourage women to learn, have a voice, and to realize their value beyond household duties.

“If you go shout out your message then you become a target,” said John. “But you can spread it through writing.”

The information-packed Introduction to Magazine Publishing course and the following one-day Hands-on Workshop were held at the Presbyterian Women’s Centre, 13 – 18 November, 2022. The conference was organized by MTI with the help of Afia Darkwa, director of HopeSpring Foundation in Ghana and Pauline Kumah, with Sonlife Ghana Limited. It was the third training event in MTI’s 10-year training program for Africa, which was launched in Kenya in 2018 and continued in Côte d’Ivoire in 2019.

The Introduction to Magazine Publishing course was presented in English with simultaneous interpretation into French. The course covered three primary emphases: magazine editing, design, and management. It was taught by a team of six trainers from the U.S. and Kenya, all experienced magazine editors, designers, or publishers.

Design trainers included James Njoroge, art director of Timazi magazine, and Lea Greene, content manager and designer for SACONNECTS. David Renard, a partner with mediaIDEAS, and Francis Ayieko, founder and publisher of The Shepherd newspaper, taught the magazine management sessions. Esther Nyaga, publishing manager of Publishing Institute of Africa and editor of Leadership Today Africa, and Jeremy Weber, director of CT global, led the sessions on magazine editing.

Participants responded to the course with enthusiasm, attending the optional evening sessions, and staying late into the night for design critiques.

“This training has been very insightful,” said Kate Azumah of AfriGO magazine in Ghana. “I have learnt so much—practical and actionable things I can implement easily, and a lot of inspiration for new projects. I have also acquired some new skills. I have been challenged to work hard and with more intentionality so that I can excel in my publishing ministry for God’s glory.”

“The MTI training has been transformational and very timely,” said another conference participant. “I am so glad I attended. Thank you for coming all the way to Ghana to run this professional and excellent training for Christian publishers, writers, and designers. It will revolutionize and accelerate Christian magazine publishing in Ghana and West Africa.”

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Magazine Training International’s mission is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ.