West Africa WASH Journalists Network Elects New Leaders
ACCRA, Ghana – The West Africa WASH Journalists Network has ended its Annual General Assembly Meeting with the elections of a new corps of Officers to steer the affairs of the Network for 3 years.
The West Africa WASH Journalists Network comprises countries of West Africa, and added Cameroon as one of its members.
The elections were held in Accra, Ghana as part of a 4-Day WASH Human Rights Advocacy Training and the WASH JN General Assembly Meeting.
Those elected are Alain Tossounon of Benin as Coordinator, Augustine Myers of Liberia as Secretary General, Kadiatou Dounbia of Mali as Treasure, Aminata Sangare of Guinea for Fundraising & Partnership, and Iddrisa Sane of Senegal for Communication.
The Annual General Assembly Meeting was sponsored and facilitated by WaterAid and Speak Up Africa.
The General Assembly Meeting offered West African WASH Journalists the opportunity to keep WASH issues alive and ensure these are highlighted in their stories to influence Africa development agenda and maintain the Network’s pitch.
With countries facing challenges to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), time has come to strengthen this pitch, increase the media stakeholders’ expertise and extend this platform to new members, according to the WASH JN.
Journalists at the Assembly welcomed the WASH Human Rights Advocacy Training which has provided an opportunity to expend in reporting human rights issues in their respective countries.
The training was also used to revive Network members’ commitment in the various countries while building their capacity to better deal with SDG related information and their implications in the development of their countries.
The West Africa WASH Journalist Network established in 2010 and mandated to amplify the voice of the voiceless has committed not to only explain the critical role of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but to monitor their implementation as well.
Beyond the statistics shared and efforts made by the governments, specific focus must be given to issues of Equity & Inclusion to meet the needs and objectives of women and excluded people and ultimately ensure that “no one is left behind”.
To highlight the challenges and support the WASH Journalists rise to the challenge of better and more targeted reportage on how Governments are addressing inclusiveness and equality and gender in their development agenda, WaterAid in partnership with the WASH Journalists Network and Speak Up Africa held the capacity building session combined with General Meeting to renew the coordination Committee of this Sub Regional Committee.
Journalists are key stakeholders and are in a strategic position to amplify the voices of all, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, many of whom lack access to water and sanitation and continue to have their human rights to WASH violated.
At the start of the Meeting, WaterAid Country Director in Ghana, Abdul-Nashiru Mohammed welcomed WASH Journalists from across West Africa and encouraged them to remain robust in reporting WASH issues in their respective countries.
During the Training Session, Journalists made a field visit and had an interactive forum with Commissioner Joseph Whittal of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Human Rights Director, Dr. Isaac Annan.
WASH Journalists at the end of the Training and General Assembly commanded WaterAid and Speak Up Africa for the 4-Day exercise intended to build participants’ capacity to understand their role in development agenda and the importance of using human rights-based approach to Human Rights Reporting.
The Training was also successful in building the capacity of Network Members to understand WASH and gender and what it means to report on inclusiveness.
The Sustainable Development Goals define the type of world we expect to see by 2030. These goals are applicable to all countries with the aim to Leave no one Behind.
Journalists at the Annual General Assembly Meeting represented their respective countries. The participants came Nigeria, Ghana, Côte-d’Ivoire, Liberia, Benin, Burkina, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo, the Gambia, Guinea-Conakry, Bissau Guinea, and Cameroon.
The Regional WASH Journalists Network seeks to step up the role of the Media to report and follow up on WASH programmes through the lens of gender and equity.