By Frehiwot Yilma
UNICEF, with the financial support of the European Union, kicked off a media training on nutrition for around 70 journalists of government and private media from all regions on 24 February 2014. The training is implemented by Lambadina Institute of Health and Development Communication. The first five day training is taking place this week in Adama with 25 journalists from Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and the Oromia and Somali regions. The focus of the training is on the revised National Nutrition Programme, launched in June 2013. The revised National Nutrition Programme aims to strengthen multi-sectoral coordination, follow the life-cycle approach and reinforces stunting reduction through focusing on the 1,000 days of a mother’s pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. Importantly, the guide – which was launched in June 2013, is aligned with the reporting of the Fourth Heath Sector Development Programme (HSDP IV) and the Millennium Development Goals-2015.
It will provide a wider perspective on nutrition from the traditional coverage on nutrition that is geared towards only addressing malnutrition through the health sector. It comes at the right time when the Government of Ethiopia has made nutrition a priority for development with the revision of the National Nutrition Programme in June last year. The nutrition agenda has also received special attention from the First Lady of Ethiopia, Roman Tesfaye, who has committed to be the champion of nutrition.
The multi sectoral approach taken by the Government in addressing topics like nutrition, health, education and agriculture will also be addressed in the training. One sector cannot achieve its goals alone. For example, the nutrition sector cannot achieve reducing malnutrition without the provision of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services that improve the access to clean water for the preparation and intake of food that will also help in reducing diahorrea. Therefore, development partners, including the media has to focus on what different sectors are contributing to achieve nutrition goals of both the Growth and Transformation Plan as well as the Millennium Development Goals.
During the five days training coordinated by Lambadina Institute of Health and Development Communication, participants will add to the existing knowledge of journalists on how to portray and depict nutrition practices and behaviours to inform the society, health practitioners and policy makers. They will also be exposed to the new technology with social media to expand their reach of audience. In addition, they will discuss their challenges in reporting on nutrition as well as their role in moving the nutrition agenda forward.
As part of the training the media practitioners will see first-hand how the Government of Ethiopia with the support of UNICEF and other partners is operating at the woreda and kebele and make a difference in the lives of women and children in Ethiopia. The training participants will visit Boset woreda and see how the woreda administrators, health posts, health extension workers and the community itself are collaborating to support nutrition activities.
With the platform opened for journalist to meet from different regions, they are expected to work more closely, share their experiences of different regions and build networks among each other. At the end of the training journalists are expected to create a platform to further engage and advocate for good nutrition in Ethiopia. The next trainings will be given in Hawassa, Mekelle and Bahirdar.