THE Rural Enterprise Trust of Zimbabwe (RETZ) has commenced training of young nutrition citizen Journalists in Bindura to improve reportage of nutrition related developments and challenges affecting the Bindura district.
By Michael Gwarisa recently in Bindura
The team of nutrition Journalists will be made up of children of high school going age from the district’s 15 wards as well as young farmers from rural and peri-urban Bindura.
Speaking during the training which was graced by junior parliamentarians and young famers in Bindura, Media consultant and Media Studies Lecturer, Dr Jasper Maposa said Citizen Journalists ought to be responsible and accurate in their work for them to influence policy and change attitudes towards nutrition issues.
Dr Jasper Maposa
Citizen Journalism requires you to be truthful at all times. Do not be political in your reporting as this might affect your credibility in the reportage of nutrition issues affecting your communities.
“Do not intentionally deceive people in your reportage. Let’s say for example a certain number of people or children will be facing malnutrition. One might intentionally cook up figures just make their post or story more interesting. This is wrong and urge you to verify facts all the time to ensure the information you give out there is believable,” said Dr Maposa.
He added Citizen Journalism plays a pivotal role in modern day society as it reports issues first hand.
“Your goal is to report on nutrition issues with the aim of even influencing policy. Mainstream media should tap into your reporting so that they escalate the issues to a national level.”
The purpose of empowering nutrition Citizen Journalists with reporting skills according to Dr Maposa is to increase participation of youths towards achieving SDG 2 whilst strengthening mechanisms for mutual accountability and transparency between stakeholders, accountability to the State, donors and most importantly citizens, through implementation of evidence-based nutrition interventions.
RETZ Head of programs, Cuthbert Mukora said the training of nutrition citizen Journalists will help in providing access to accurate food and nutritional stories and information for community members/youth through the development of Information Systems for nutrition service management, coordination, accountability and monitoring by end of 2019.
Cuthbert Mukora RETZ Head Program
“We are doing this to increase the availability of community up to date nutrition stories and information by facilitating nutrition storytelling and writing and monitoring of progress of nutrition interventions in the fight against malnutrition through equipping 30 young people (child policy makers, high school children and grassroots youth) in Bindura district with skills and knowledge on Citizen Journalism and citizen generated information and stories, and food and nutrition by September 2019.
“This will increase bottom up accountability in the improvement of nutrition service and resource management at local and district level by engaging communities and get their feedback on satisfaction with food and nutrition services through 1 sensitizing meeting for local grassroots communities by August 2019,” said Mukora.
The initiative will also enable children to take an active role in decision making around school nutrition programmes by developing child-friendly nutrition social marketing and advocacy tools for the schools and grassroots environment which will be used to harmonize tracking of results.
“Training Junior Citizen Journalists will ensure that local citizen feedback is incorporated into future programs/changes to nutrition programmes and to increase ownership through establishing and promoting routine nutrition information collection systems (social media tools) by end of 2019.”
The project whci is being funded by the Gates Foundation and Civicus will also see RETZ partnering with the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC) multi-sectorial district committees and provincial in Bindura which comprise of other various key stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Ministry of Information and Publicity and the Ministry of Agriculture, among other key relevant stakeholders.
The FNC multi-sectorial committee will assist in all the trainings for the youth and also in cross-checking and verifying nutrition stories and information submitted by the young food and nutrition journalists and writers representing their communities.
Other key partners to program include the Zimbabwe Civil Society Organizations Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance (ZCSOSUNA), the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC), the Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health through their provincial offices in Bindura district, amongst other key relevant stakeholders.