The regional chapters of the Media Alliance for Population and Development Issues MAPDI in the North, South and Eastern regions have received equipment that would boost their efforts aimed at promoting the visions of the chapter from the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA.
MAPDI was formed some nine years ago to report on population issues including those that affect women and children.
In Makeni, UNFPA communication officer, Marian Samu said the organization has maintained a good relationship with the media especially MAPDI which was formed by UNFPA.
She said each chapter will each receive five recorders, one modem, one camera, one printer and one UPS backup screen and monitor.
She said the formation of the regional chapter was as a result of the outcome of a training programme which was held last year in Bo.
The communication officer said that one of the recommendations of the training was to build the capacity of MAPDI adding that "we are here today to see the outcome of that training. This is a modest donation that will facilitate the work of the journalists."
She added that with MAPDI, UNFPA can reach everywhere in the country and disclosed that MAPDI has registered with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists SLAJ. She urged the journalists to use the equipment wisely.
MAPDI coordinator for the Northern region, Mathew Kanu, thanked UNFPA for the donation, noting that the partnership with UNFPA will help pave the way forward on population and human rights issues in Sierra Leone.
Kanu further said that the donated items would help serve as a yardstick to measure the performance of reporters and assured that they will be used wisely.
SLAJ Northern region chairman, Stanley Bangura Jr., thanked the entire UN family which he said has been supportive to the media in Sierra Leone and has brought smiles to the face of the media in the country. "We have received another generosity from a UN family, the UNFPA, which has contributed largely to the media landscape in the country. The UN family has made meaningful contributions to SLAJ and its affiliate bodies," he said and urged MAPDI members to use the equipment judiciously and report back to the office.
Bangura further informed the chapter that the donation should serve as a challenge to the journalists to prove their worth and take the centre stage for the people to know that "we can arrange our choices."
The regional chairman thanked UNFPA and the communication officer for taking the lead in the formation of the chapters.
In Bo, the communications officer said that when UNFPA decided to encourage MAPDI members across the country last year by organizing training for 40 media practitioners in Bo, the main agenda of the programme was to build the capacity of MAPDI. She noted that the objective will be achieved with the formation of the regional chapters.
The officer stated that with the provided internet services which have been difficult in the regions, MAPDI members can now send their stories across the country to UNFPA and other members.
She further encouraged the cub reporters to do a lot of writing adding that UNFPA will think of improving the electronic media as time goes on.
SLAJ chairman in Bo, Samuel Haffner, who is also a member of MAPDI, said the donation of the equipment is another way of building the capacity of his chapter.
He said the equipment will their practice of modern day journalism and help journalists to effectively cover events for their organizations.
Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation SLBC manager in Bo, Abraham Batilo Mattia, welcomed the UNFPA team for establishing a regional chapter for MAPDI in the southern region of Bo. He said the visit should not be a one-off visit adding that the donated equipment will enable MAPDI members to perform better in their activities.
MAPDI national coordinator, Christo Mattia, thanked UNFPA and Ms Samu for taking the lead in providing the equipment to enhance the capacity of his members.