Staff Spotlight: Alfred Twahirwa
What is your name, position, and how long have you worked for PMC?
My name is Alfred Twahirwa, but people call me Alfa. I am working for PMC as Head Writer in Rwanda. I have also worked for PMC as a scriptwriter international trainer. I have been with PMC for almost 14 years – I started here in 2007.
What is your favorite thing about working at PMC?
The first thing that impressed me is about PMC was the methodology. Before joining PMC in 2007 as a writer on the Umurage Urukwiye radio show, I was writing for another show but the methodologies were very different. At PMC, we have an ending storyline and we have well-designed character profiles and settings. Our programs are based on research and tangible facts which are translated into educational and entertaining shows which change lives. It’s also great to have a creative job like this that pays well to support my family.
What is a normal day for you at PMC?
As head writer, I have the responsibility to review all the storylines, character profiles, settings, character relationships, cliffhangers, and triggers. It is hard work, and sometimes I get inspiration very late or very early in the morning. Those early hours are nice though because I can work distraction-free and only be disturbed by the birds. When at the office I am typically editing and collaborating with other writers.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job?
The biggest challenge is developing short programs with themes on large and difficult issues. For example, malnutrition results in high rates of stunted development and is a serious issue, but we may have to creatively write everything into 54 episodes and change tactics for the transitional character’s journey. Another challenge is making sure the actors understand the script and that our messages are coming across. It can feel disappointing when your work is not understood through a script, but that is part of the creative process.
Why did you decide to work for PMC?
Working for PMC was a big opportunity to grow my career as a writer. It was also an opportunity to support my community and affect real positive behavior changes. I’m proud to contribute to change in Rwanda. It’s nice to see the audience’s feedback and endline surveys demonstrate the impact of the program we developed.
Tell us a little about your childhood, family, or favorite things to do outside of PMC.
From an early age, I liked to write and draw and play with words. That is how I became a poet. I composed a number of community dramas and I was always the first in my class. Because of my childhood, I understand the rural life and some of the issues our characters face in our shows – that contributes to my success as a scriptwriter.Outside of PMC, I do a lot of humanitarian work, including helping young girls have access to sports activities
.Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself or your work?
I am happy when I am writing. That is my favorite thing to do. I have written more than 2,000 scenes for more than 700 episodes. That could fill a big book of more than 7,800 pages. I am very proud to work with PMC and I will always contribute to its mission and vision because its programs affect the lives of a lot of people all over the world. PMC has changed the way I think, and our work has influenced my stance on some of the issues and themes we address too.