The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) Water and Sanitation Project team has organized a two-day training workshop for journalists who are into Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) reporting in ten regions of Ghana.
The training workshop was to equip members of the Ghana Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Journalists Network (GWJN) from the beneficiary regions with current information and developments in the country’s water and sanitation sector.
GAMA Water and Sanitation Project leadership pointed that the training would help journalists research deeper into WASH issues and produce compelling stories that reflect on the present water and sanitation sector progress, challenges and the way forward.
Officials of GAMA also expect the training to empower journalists in their daily WASH communications in respective regions and communities and in the various MMDAs.
The training was mainly targeted at journalists within the Grater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and the newly added Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) Water and Sanitation Project areas.
Participants who represented the respective regions are also expected to share the knowledge gained from the workshop with colleague network members.
The training package is part of the GAMA Water and Sanitation Project’s capacity building support to the Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN) funded by the World Bank.
Participants during the training were taken through presentations on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Ghana with much emphasis on sector priorities, challenges and way forward.
Journalists were also given guidelines on how effective and impactful WASH media advocacy can help influence behavior change and shape national water and sanitation policy directions.
Ibrahim Musah, a GAMA consultant and key facilitator of the training schooled journalists on key policy context of the country’s road map to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Journalists were given insights on WASH sector indicators to inform their understanding and guide them to come out with policy focused reportage.
Key among WASH sector indicators that the trainees were introduced to include the proportion of population using safely managed drinking water and sanitation services, proportion of bodies of water with good ambient water quality.
Others are level of water stress: freshwater withdrawal as proportion of available freshwater resources and degree of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) implementation.
Journalists also had the opportunity to come to terms with some key national WASH sector challenges.
the media practitioners learnt that access to safely managed water and sanitation services in line with the globally focused SDGs is still low in the country.
According to the facilitators, there are still challenges with water quality as 48 percent of the country’s improved water sources are still feacally contaminated.
Inadequate sector funding by the government for accelerated access to WASH was also cited.
According to figures available to the journalists, only about 60 percent of the sector approved budgets are often released, among many other challenges.
GAMA consultant, Ibrahim Musah urged journalists to help policy makers make well informed decisions through intensive and consistent WASH reporting.
Speaking to colleague journalists at the close the training workshop, the National Coordinator of the Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWNJ), Justice Adoboe commended GAMA and its funding partners for such capacity building and called on other WASH institutions, organizations and agency to continue to partner with GWJN.
Justice Adoboe on the other hand encouraged members of the network to make good use of the training through diligent application of knowledge gained from the training in their daily reporting and presentations.
In all, about 25 GWJN member journalists from the Greater Accra, Central, Eastern, Volta and Western regions attended the workshop.
Others were selected from the Ashanti, Bono, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions respectively.
By: Ayisah Foster/Broadcastergh.com