From Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
YouthHub Africa, an NGO, has launched a media advocacy programme aimed at ensuring the domestication of the Child Rights Act in Sokoto, among other states.
Sokoto is among 11 states across Nigeria that are yet to domesticate the Act since it was adopted in the country in 2003.
The programme, supported by Malala Fund, is a one-year fellowship designed to equip journalists with the skills and knowledge needed to understand the Child Rights Act advocacy and ensure its adoption in Sokoto State.
Five journalists were selected and supported with grants for their out-of-pocket expenses to produce stories during the duration.
The new Fellows were subjected to a two-day onboarding meeting and capacity building training held in the state, between February 11 and 12.
Speaking at the two-day training, the Programme Education Assistant, Afees Agboola, said the fellowship is to support ambitious coverage of critical issues related to ensuring the passage of the Child Rights Bill, especially the education and rights of children in Sokoto State.
He noted that participants were expected to use their media outfits to publish news items and articles and amplify reports on the Child Rights Act during and after the fellowship.
Programme Manager Olusegun Medupin said the organisation has had similar and successful engagements in Kano and Kaduna. He added that since 2016, no fewer than 23 media contents have been created with four advocacy meeting held.
He praised the emergence of the participants having been selected out of over 50 applicants that applied for the program. Medupin, however, lamented the non-participants of female media practitioners, saying ‘the organisation takes priority to the issue of gender equality.’
Yusuf Ladan, a two-time fellow of the programme, speaking of his previous experience, said the fellowship has availed him of travel and grant opportunities as well as working with CSOs, government agencies among other stakeholders.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Rotimi Olawale, urged the participants to see the fellowship as ways of building relationships with the organisation for future opportunities.
‘We are not teaching you your job but want you to unveil the issues rounding Child Right Act in the State. Respect the rights of children in your reportage. Some of them have been abused. We do not want more abuse from the media while reporting their plights,’ he said.
He explained that the fellowship will give journalists an opportunity to produce investigative stories on the situation of children in the state, and urged the fellows to always verify their contents before publication.
‘Truth does not change. Report the truth about the plights and rights of these children. Our objective is to get the Child Rights Act passage in Sokoto State,’ he stated.
Olawale also advised the fellows to take into cognisance religious and cultural views surrounding the issue on which they are reporting.