Yvonne Okwara: From Ksh500 Pay to Top Citizen TV Anchor

Citizen TV's Yvonne Okwara poses for a photo on November 5, 2020

Citizen TV anchor Yvonne Okwara, speaking during an online forum, shared insights into her career journey. Okwara detailed how she rose from a TV host of a children's show to arguably one of the top media personalities in Kenya.

In an interview with Impact Africa Network on Friday, November 27, Okwara disclosed that she discovered her passion for journalism at the age of 8 years.

She started her media journey with the national broadcaster, KBC, where she was the host of Variety Show taking home Ksh 500 per episode.  

"We were earning Ksh 500 at KBC and then the late President Mzee Daniel arap Moi later increased it to Ksh 1,000 per episode. I knew I wanted to be a journalist when I was around 8," said the senior TV anchor.   

Citizen TV anchor Yvonne Okwara (bottom) in an interview with Impact Africa Network staff Phyllis Mburu (top left) and Joy Ndinda (top right) on Friday, November 27, 2020

"I got advice from top journalists to remain in the field but it's also a craft and if you are passionate about something, then study, not necessarily in that field. For me, I graduated with a degree in Microbiology at JKUAT and Science is my passion. Going to school is all about being educated," she explained. 

Okwara drew her inspiration from the US-based media network CNN, where she watched anchors and admired their zeal and passion. 

After graduating, she joined Hot 96 under Royal Media Services as an intern, radio producer and host, before switching to Q FM under Nation Media Group and then later to KTN under Standard Media. 

Always eager to grow, Okwara learned TV production skills which saw her become an anchor. At KTN, she was part of the team that created KTN News, a 24-hour news TV station. 

"Finding content was hard but I think that is one of the best moments of my career. I gave myself into the project and I believe it's going in the right decision," Okwara said, adding that she later switched back to Citizen TV as an anchor and she has grown and learnt much since then. 

Okwara heads the TV's research team, hosts three TV shows, the Explainer, News Gang, and a new business show. 

What has worked for her, she explained, is knowing her values and being firm on what she believes in, being authentic and doing her work diligently. 

"As women, we wait to be notified instead of telling our stories and we sit and shy in the corner waiting to be spotted. It's important for women to stand out and share their success. This is not being arrogant, but pushing for your own growth. 

"To all journalists out there, put yourself out, take any assignment available, learn and step out," she advised. 

Yvonne Okwara poses for a photo after hosting The Explainer show on Citizen TV