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US Embassy trains female journalists for improved reportage of women issues

US Embassy trains female journalists for improved reportage of women’s issues

By Bitrus Osagie

The United States Embassy, through its Public Affairs Section, in collaboration with the Organisation of Innovation and Sustainable Development (OISD), has trained no fewer than 35 female journalists in Gombe State.

Mr. Ernest Ogezi, the Senior Programme Manager of OISD, while speaking at the end of the three-day training workshop held in Gombe on Wednesday, said women-related issues needed more reportage.

Ogezi said the training was aimed at addressing gender disparities within the media industry, with a focus on the Northeast, in view of the fact that the region had been ravaged by violence.

He stated that a woman was in a better position to tell a woman’s story effectively towards changing the narrative for the overall good of society.

He urged female journalists to intensify and focus reportage on issues in the zone and Nigeria, which directly affect women and girls.

Ogezi said it had become imperative for female journalists to give voices to untold stories surrounding women as well as amplify issues that could result in positive change for women and girls in the state.

According to him, women in Gombe State and the Northeast have unique stories that must be told, and female journalists are better placed to tell the stories to create change.
“It is a three-day training with nine modules on different subject matters, including investigative journalism, equity and equality, the ethics of news reporting, and how to report women in violent conflict situations.

“Also, they were trained on how to report women who have suffered from sexual and gender-based violence. We are teaching ethics and trying to improve the performance of female journalists in these areas,” he said.

The OISD official stated that women’s issues had not been given the needed reportage in the media in spite of having female journalists, and “that is why we are empowering them.

“Female journalists have an advantage over male journalists when it comes to reporting women’s matters.
“They understand and can empathise; they can put themselves in the position of the other women and do better.

“That is why we are saying report women—women who are pushing their children forward through their petty trade—report women in any field, any day, anytime,” he said.

While acknowledging culture as one of the issues hindering the growth of women, Ogezi said women could grow without offending cultural norms.

“We are not here to change the culture but to improve the lives of women, and this can only be done through women themselves.”

Addressing the participants, Prof. Ibrahim Njodi, the Secretary to the Gombe State Government, commended the US Embassy and OISD for the training, noting that it would help strengthen efforts at improving the welfare and well-being of women and girls in the state.

Represented by Mrs. Sa’adatu Bome Ishaya, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Gombe State, Njodi tasked the female journalists to do more reporting on issues that will help address challenges faced by women and girls in the state.

Speaking on the benefit of the training to her as a participant, Miss Rebecca Maina, a female journalist with Gombe Media Corporation, said the training was a call for more action.

Maina said in the course of the training, she was able to identify gaps in reporting women-based issues and “now I am more energised to amplify as well as advocate issues that concern women.”

She said women were doing great things in rural areas and across the state that needed to be promoted, “so I am going to promote these issues that would help improve the wellbeing of women and girls.”

On her part, Mrs. Zahra Adamu, a participant, said the training had added value to her and she would leverage the knowledge acquired to improve her reporting of women’s issues in the state.

Also speaking, Miss Bome Samutar, acting chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Gombe State chapter, commended the US Embassy and OISD for training their members in the state, adding that the training was educative and eye-opening.

Our correspondent reports that some aspects of the training were in the art of investigative, solution-driven, data-driven, and infographic journalism for uncovering issues that concern women and girls.

The theme of the workshop is “She Exists,” promoting equity and equal opportunities for women in media.

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