7 December 2012

Liberia: Wash Journalist Network Brainstorm Way Forward

The "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Reporters & Editors Network of Liberia yesterday kicked off a two-day workshop in Monrovia intended to sensitize journalists to do more coverage on the WASH sector and for member of the group to discuss means of making the group more effective ahead of the new year.

With support from the West African WASH Journalists Network, at least 30 reporters and editors attended the first day's activities Thursday.

The group's Chairman Augustine Myers Augustine Myers underscored the critical role journalists need to play in highlighting the problems facing the WASH sector of the country. WASH problems, he said, affects everyone and challenged journalists to report flaws in the sector to educate both the public and to hold the Government accountable for failures in the sectors.

Myers urged journalists not to only report on water, but also sanitation and hygiene, which are very vital to the survival of the population.

It is being held under the theme "Increased WASH Media Focus/Interest". Journalists interacted with two facilitators presenting on the topics "WASH Reporting Human Right Aspect" and "Applying the Freedom of Information Law to WASH Reporting." The topics were presented by Charles Coffey, Jr. Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia and Prince D. Kreplah Chairman of the Civil Society Network on WASH respectively.

Myers said day two of the workshop (today) will primarily focus on drawing up an agenda that will lead the WASH Journalist Network into the new year--an agenda that will stimulate more coverage on the sector and compel policy makers to take appropriate actions to salvage the bleak picture of WASH in Liberia.

The WASH Reporters and Editors Network of Liberia was founded 2010 to among others report to stimulate government to salvage the poor state of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene services in Liberia.

The specific objectives of the WASH R&E Network-Liberia includes but not limited to:

Increasing the understanding of journalists on water, sanitation and hygiene issues;

Improving the technical capacity of Journalists to effectively report and analyze water, sanitation and hygiene issues;

Providing a platform for members to play their watchdog role in holding government and relevant stakeholders accountable to the people, particularly in the implementation of water, sanitation and hygiene program, and;

Ensuring the continuous education of member journalists by facilitating their participation in relevant local and international training, meetings, conferences and workshops as well as field visits.

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