Rose Ejembi Makurdi
About 30 journalists drawn from the print, electronic and the social media in Benue State have been trained on how to report issues pertaining to Water Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH).
The three-day media training workshop which held at Winika Hotels in Gboko Local Government Area of the state was organised by Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigerian, (RUSHPIN) in collaboration with the Water Sanitation and Hygiene, (WASH) Media Network and supported by United Purpose, (UP), Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, (WSSCC) and among others.
According to the National Coordinator, WASH Network in Nigeria, Wale Elekolusi, the event was to ensure that journalists in Benue state were well equipped to report on sanitation issues without sensationalization.
Mr. Elekolusi explained further that the WASH Media network is a group of independent journalists writing on water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
“Basically, their duty is to highlight issues of water and create more advocacy for access for young people; girls and women particularly, to have access to water and hygiene for better life.
“We try to develop and improve the technical capacity of Journalists to report water and sanitation in Nigeria”, he said.
He posited that participating journalists are expected, at the end of the training, to be better positioned to develop stories that can bring WASH issues to the fore to attract attract better response from critical stakeholders including government, NGOs and donors, for a good change in Benue Communities.
Also speaking, representative from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Miss Juliet Iordye called on member to develop stories that can attract positive action of stakeholders to WASH issues in the state.
One of the facilitators, Mr Isine Ibanga while explaining the rudiments of WASH inclined stories telling to journalists, urged participants to focus their reports on human angle stories that can create emotions and prompt response from stakeholders for intervention.
Communications and Learning Officer of United Purpose, Boluwatito Awe disclosed that the activities of the organization in the state had made three local government areas of Logo, Gwer and Agatu Local Government Areas to be certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF).
He added that there is an on going scale up of the WASH programme with the counterpart funds to make Ado, Gboko and Gwer West local government areas of the state open Defecation free within the shortest possible period.
Other facilitators including Mr. Olajide Adelana, Nelson Owoicho and Uadamen Ilevbaoje trained journalists on several topics including “WASH Story: From Pitch To Print”, “Photography for development, human interest stories and mobile photography”, and “Budget Monitoring and Tracking”, respectively.
Participants also embarked on a field trip to two communities within Gboko local government areas, one where open Defecation is still being practiced and another that had attained open Defecation free.