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Politics

Media advocacy initiative for family planning commences in eight states

An initiative to enhance media institutional engagement and advocacy for family planning and childbirth spacing has kicked off in eight states of the Federation.

The initiative is built on earlier efforts in 13 states of the Federation to equip journalists, foster media-institutional collaboration, and dispel myths surrounding family planning in Nigeria.

The groundbreaking initiative to bolster media advocacy for family planning and childbirth spacing in Nigeria is set to launch to address misinformation, cultural barriers, and a lack of awareness hindering access to family planning services across eight states.

It is a follow-up to initial training across 13 states in the country, and the initiative being implemented by the Development Communications Network is supported by The Challenge Initiative (TCI) Nigeria, managed by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes (CCP).

Through a comprehensive training programme on media advocacy and community engagement, the initiative will equip journalists, reporters, and media professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively communicate about family planning and childbirth spacing.

TCI Nigeria recognises the pivotal role of the media in shaping public opinion and fostering awareness of critical health issues.

The initiative, spanning Kwara, Osun, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Sokoto, and Jigawa states, seeks to achieve the objectives of enhancing the media’s understanding of family planning concepts and methods to facilitate sustainable communication efforts.

It will also build the capacity of journalists in media advocacy, strategic communication planning, and engaging with policymakers, and train them on community engagement strategies to promote dialogue, dispel myths, and address cultural barriers.

Furthermore, it will foster collaboration between media institutions and key stakeholders in the family planning sector, as well as strengthen the media’s capacity to critically analyse medical and scientific research related to family planning and effectively communicate complex information.

The initiative will involve a series of activities, including desk reviews, strategic engagements with government agencies, training sessions, field trips, media chats, and roundtable meetings with policymakers.

While commenting on the initiative, Dr Taiwo Johnson, the Chief of Party of TCI Nigeria, stated, “We recognise the crucial role of the media in promoting family planning and reproductive health.

“Through this initiative, we aim to empower journalists with the tools and knowledge to advocate for positive change and foster informed public discourse on family planning.”

On his own, DevComs Programme Director, Akin Jimoh, said, “This is a continuation of our efforts to address one of the major challenges of our time, regarding unbridled procreation.

“And we will do this in the context of available research and sound scientific, peer-reviewed literature for an informed decision.”

The project will be closely monitored to track progress and effectiveness, ensuring sustainable impact beyond its duration.

A clear sustainability plan, including the formation of media groups on family planning and childbirth spacing in each state, will be implemented to ensure the continuity of efforts with Mrs Omobonike Adebayo as the Project Lead.

TCI Nigeria promotes sustainability and local ownership while demonstrating the feasibility of long-term investment in reproductive health, just as it supports Nigeria in scaling up the positive changes in reproductive health delivered through the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) since 2009. Managed by the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes (CCP).

TCI’s Nigeria hub accelerates the scale-up of NURHI approaches and provides guidance to self-selected states, local government areas (LGAs), and partners willing to invest in family planning.

New states, cities, and partners ask for technical and financial coaching and mentoring to implement successful family planning programming to match their investments.

DevComs is a media-development, not-for-profit organisation coordinated by experienced development journalists and is the product of a series of development projects on media, health promotion, advocacy, and capacity building in the Nigerian and African media landscapes as well as the civil society sector.

DevComs is playing a leading role in promoting science, public health, and social development communications to ensure an informed society and better policies that affect citizens.

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