A one-day UNDP regional media training workshop took place on Tuesday at the Holy Trinity Parish hall, along Blama Road in Kenema, for 30 journalists in the region. Welcoming participants the regional chairman of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) east, Paul Kenie Joseph, thanked participants for their turnout to grab the opportunity.
In his contribution the public affairs secretary of SLAJ, Edward Mara, noted that, “the workshop is just an aspect of UNDP’s support to the association and the concept is about professionalism”, adding that 100 journalists had undergone similar trainings in Freetown.
Mr Peter Ngu Tayong, UNDP’s media relation specialist, stated that “democratic governance is about people-centred government, it genuine participation of the people in matters that concern their wellbeing in the decision making of a state. Democratic governance is also about corrupt free environment”. He added further that, “it is about building the capacity of national institutions to provide public services that meet the desire of the people”.The UNDP programme specialist, Wahab Shaw, said “peace is paramount in any democratic state and security is the same as human security”. He noted that the “UNDP will focus on consolidating state authority, promote community-based reconciliation and security, sponsor activities that empower, engage and employ young people and to encourage community designed and based development activities that help empower local people to formulate their own priorities and direct their own affairs”. Presenting a paper on poverty reduction, UNDP’s microfinance specialist Abdul Rahman Bob Conteh said the goal of the programme was to reduce poverty and promote human development in Sierra Leone.
“The programme’s purpose is to support government’s efforts to transit from post conflict recovery to long-term sustainable development through pro-poor policy formulation and awareness rising,” he averred. The information technology associate, Babatunde Spencer, spoke about Information Communication and Technology (ICT). He said, “ICT for development is a way of harnessing the power of appropriate information technology to create earning opportunities, improve access to basic services, or increase the impact of education and other development initiatives”.
Presenting certificates to journalists, minister of state east Sahr Randolph Fillie Faboe said, “there is no state that will develop without the media”.
He outlined some of the difficulties he had observed which journalists were going through in the region and thanked the UNDP for giving them the training. He also appealed to them and other NGOs to equip journalists so that they could work effectively and efficiently.
In his vote of thanks the secretary general of SLAJ east, Victor Fayombo, thanked UNDP for providing them with such training, and appealed to other NGOs to be providing them with regular trainings.