Project Title: Investigative and Development Journalism Mentoring Project
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is a Media Development Organization that promotes and strengthens the media system and provides professional support to journalists in Africa.
It was born out of the desire to develop African media and journalists, as well as provide the needed insights to academic and development communication initiatives on the continent.
AMDF in achieving its goal of providing professional support to journalists in 2016 trained some journalists on development journalism with the aim of bringing to the fore issues affecting different groups and communities.
This was also aimed at bridging the gap in investigative and development reporting, as in spite of the myriad of challenges and issues in the region, reports especially from journalists serving in the region are low.
The first phase of the project was from December 2015 to December 2016 the objectives of the training:
- To build capacity of mentees in investigative reporting.
- To expose participants to development issues in under-served communities.
- To train participants in in-depth research and reports that exposes and brings to the fore issues that affect the common man.
Participants were journalists who hitherto were not so much involved in investigative and development reporting; they were introduced to the basic skills required for investigative and development journalism. Through the project, they had opportunity to visit first hand unreached communities and exposed issues the populace face and the need for government intervention.
The contributions of these development reporters have attracted actions and aid from government and philanthropists within and outside Nigeria. Examples of such were reports from Angwan Kanti, Kakura, and Iri communities all in Kaduna, North west Nigeria.
Participants investigated and reported the case of an under equipped hospital at Doka, Abuja-Kaduna Road meant to cater for accident victims and emergency cases. This led to a prompt response by the Kaduna state Government to upgrade the hospital to a trauma center.
Investigation and reports were done of Kakura, Jankasa and Angwan Kanti Communities in Kaduna state issues of Poor health access for women, lack of safe drinking water and inaccessible road networks were reported. This attracted interventions of boreholes constructed in Kakura and Angwan Kanti communities by General Officer Commanding 1 Div, Nigerian Army Kaduna; construction of Sand dam in Angwan Kanti by Students of Kaduna Polytechnic, Nigeria.
To widen the scope, AMDF in 2018 expanded the project under the title: “Enhancing Development journalism in Kaduna.” The project brought more journalists on board to widen their understanding of policies and issues and build their capacity to report issues of development in the state.
The capacity of journalists was built to assess and report situations faced by different groups of people; especially vulnerable groups in different communities.
– To expose journalists to development journalism.
– To widen their understanding of policies and issues and build their capacity to report issues of development in the state.
– To expose participants to under-served communities to assess and report first hand issues in the community.
To achieve the objectives, participants were taken through basic training in development journalism with journalists from the pilot phase on ground to share their experience with them. Subsequently, participants were attached to mentors under two groups to ensure consistency and sustainability.
A field trip to Kabobo Community; an underserved community about 20km from Kaduna metropolis revealed issues in the community which were highlighted on different media platforms; traditional and new media.
Participants were also taken to Juji Community another under-served community within Kaduna metropolis to identify and report issues affecting the livelihood of community members. Reports from the community attracted an intervention on electricity in the area by the Nigeria Society of Engineers.
From the project, it was clear that many journalists have the passion for development reporting but lack the basic skills to embark on it. Hence, this calls for the involvement of more journalists so they can acquire the necessary skills to embark on development reporting with or without support.
This is because the impact of development reporting on our communities cannot be overemphasized, as it provides journalists the opportunity to see firsthand and hear from communities their challenges and also report from an informed position.
From the project, one major gap militating journalists from embarking on development journalism remains lack of finances. Development journalism entails journalists moving into underserved communities were issues of maternal and child mortality, poor water sanitation, sexual and reproductive health issues and gender based violence among others abound. However many journalists in Nigeria are faced with poor remuneration, some have gone several months without salaries as such cannot afford to transport themselves to underserved communities.
Security also poses a great challenge, and where journalists will need to engage local vigilante to guide them in those communities they do not have the resources to hire the services of the vigilante in some cases.
Consequently, many journalists now rely on interventions from non governmental organizations to acquire skills and resources to bring to light issues faced by people in underserved communities thereby calling on government to take necessary actions to their plight.