Capacity Building: Nigeria NGO Court Journalists’ Support in Promoting Adolescents’ Health, Nutrition

A Nigeria Nongovernmental organization, Women Friendly Initiative, has trained 18 selected journalists on evidence-based advocacy and reportage of Adolescent Youth Health Friendly Services and nutrition.
The 3-day training held in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital territory, 6th to 9th December, was aimed at raising media support for the Organization’s project.
The project “accelerating sub-national advocacy for implementation of adolescents and youth friendly health services (AYFHS) and the national strategic plan of action for nutrition (NSPAN) in 5 focal States of Nigeria and the FCT, is supported under USAID’s Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagements (SCALE) project in Nigeria.
Flagging of the training, Wednesday at Amoj hotel, Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer, Women Friendly Initiative, Dr. Francis Eremutha, enumerated some of the major challenges faced by adolescents to include Peer influence which  dispose them to drug/substance abuse, commercial sex, cultism, armed robbery, among other vices.
He noted that the peculiarities of adolescents and young people demand that  service providers offer them concerned and friendly care in facilities in order not to jeopardize their future.
Eremutha solicited the support and collaboration of journalists to actualize the goal of WFI – SCALE project in the selected states as a prelude to changing the narratives in Nigeria.
“Women Friendly Initiative is a national NGO, and we have a grant from SCALE, funded by USAID that is advocating for safer policy implementation in Nigeria.
“Because of the kind of work we are doing, we have a feeling that the greatest tool we must magnify in the course of our project is to carry the journalists along because they will help us tell the story.” Eremutha explained.
In a presentation, one of the facilitators, and the Program Manager, WFI – SCALE project, Paul Aondofa Uche, raised concern over the general lack of accessible, friendly health services for adolescents and young people in most Primary Healthcare Centres across Nigeria.
Presenting results of their findings in the  focal states: Benue, Ebonyi, Kwara, Nasarawa and Plateau,  revealed that most adolescents and young people shun PHCs “due to lack of confidentiality, judgemental attitude of some service providers and their inconvenient operating hours.”
He also identified lack of political will on the part of government to properly fund the PHCs which has resulted to gross deficiency of human resources for health, equipments and drugs in the facilities.
On the objectives of the training, Rosemary Adejoh-Adaji, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the WFI – SCALE project said it was to acquaint journalists with what the SCALE project set to achieve.
She added that the participants would be equiped with the knowledge of the AYFHS and NSPAN policy documents for evidence based reportage, as well as enhance their knowledge towards advocating for the creation of  AYFHS and NSPAN budget line across the targeted 5 States and 11 local government areas.


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