By Uangbaoje Alex, Abuja
As part of effort to increase reportage of nutrition issues in Nigeria, Civil Society -Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), has said it is important that capacity of journalists sharpened to help reduce the high rate of malnutrition in the country.
Executive Secretary (ES) of CS-SUNN, Sunday Okoronkwo, who noted this on Wednesday in Abuja, at a three days media training for journalists, with the theme: “Strengthening the Capacity of Journalists for Improved Nutrition Reportage and Visibility” aimed at improving their capacity for effective nutrition reporting, identified the media as critical stakeholders in fight against malnutrition.
He said despite the efforts by the media, there is still the need for them to do more in projecting in issues of malnutrition to the front burner.
“The media is one of our critical partners, without them we won’t be able to achieve our objectives that we have signed up to do in trying to bring malnutrition to it’s barest minimum.
“I must use this opportunity to commend you in your work with us in the last 6 to 7 years, it has been a fruitful one, you have contributed immensely to contributed to magnifying some of the issues and I tell you the drop of the wasting rate between 2018 and 2020, the media played a critical role in making it happen, I must commend us.” He noted.
The ES, added that “We see this training as a way of supporting the media to get the needed information, data and statistics that they would need to write stories that would contribute more to the fight against malnutrition.
“I say so because there is still a lot more work to be done, because if you look at our stunting rate, it is still very high, so we still need to do more. I believe that your pen is mightier than the sword, the truth is that holding government and every other stakeholders accountable is one thing that we most all do and our role is to ensure there’s reduction in malnutrition in the country.”
On her part, the Communication Officer of CS-SUNN, Lilian Okafor, stated that the strengthening the capacity of journalists became imperative because all the stakeholders working to ensure an end to malnutrition are struggling to find a way out because of the low level of reportage.
“Today more than ever, nutrition advocates including CS-SUNN struggle to find ways to raise awareness,
build understanding, change perceptions, and motivate target audiences to act on nutrition issues to reverse the negative indices.” She said.
She noted that in best pathway to quickly disseminate information, increase understanding, build momentum, and unify support for nutrition is to engage the media.
“It is however important to build the capacity of the media to bring to the fore, issues relating to nutrition while bringing to limelight funding gaps and placing nutrition in the front burners of the agenda of policy makers to improve
interventions and funding for nutrition.
“Also, the informative, enlightenment,
watch dogging and agenda-setting roles of the Media cannot be overemphasized.
“It is therefore in line with CS-SUNN’s goal of building key partnerships especially with the media to magnify the voice for improved nutrition in Nigeria, that the alliance organized this media training aimed at; improving the understanding of media practitioners on the impacts of malnutrition, improving
the media’s capacity for effective nutrition reporting and securing their commitment to write nutrition
stories based on agreed nutrition themes”. She added.