By Simeon Mpamugoh
It was testimony galore recently from leaders of eight grass root communities in Lagos state who gathered at the conference hall of the International Press Centre, Ogba, Ikeja Lagos for the unveiling of a 24 page publication that highlights outcome of solution driven rural poverty reporting that advances their development.
The initiative cum publication which was conceived by IPC with funding support from a Canada based non government organization; World Association For Christian Communication (WACC) chronicles the poor conditions of road infrastructure and other social amenities of the eight communities which elicited the state government rehabilitation of them.
The enterprise which lasted between March and October 2016 adopted more focused and personalized approach involving mentoring of journalists and commissioning them to write solution driven stories on identified specific rural poverty issues. And linked with the media report, it engaged and built partnership with community representative to interact and relate with local government administrators and other institutional stakeholders on finding solutions to the poverty issues raised by the media,
It was also initiated on the prevailing social context that despite Nigeria’s abundant natural resources and social inequalities, poverty has remained endemic as successive governments hardly fulfills their promise to reduce or eradicate poverty. It argues that in most cities, development was concentrated at the epicenters while the social environmental and living conditions of grassroots communities where the vast majority of citizens reside were mostly deplorable.
Regional Secretary WACC, Mr Lekan Otufundurin said that the NGO embarked on the project because it was concerned about the quality and quantity of mainstream news reporting on poverty issues adding that as powerful institutions which shape the public’s understanding, perception and engagement with their world, the mass media can play a vital role in poverty reduction. “Effective media stories can raise the level and quality of public debate on poverty reduction, with implication for positive change in public policy,” he said.
He urged journalists to pay more attention on development issues of grassroots communities adding that the market driven context within which media outlets operate call for continued efforts to engage and sensitize media professionals on the need for quantity and quality poverty reporting.
Reviewing the publication entitled: solution-driven rural poverty reporting initiative” Summary of highlights and outcomes of IPC’s solution driven/poverty reporting project in Nigeria, Executive Director, Journalists For Democratic Rights Mr Adewale Adeoye commended IPC for the piece of art and the World Association For Christian Communication for supporting it in carrying out the project implementation, whose summary outcome makes up the content of the publication.