It was a mixture of success stories and new learning curves for community stakeholders as they interacted on how to enhance development at the grassroots level using the media. It all happened at a gathering organized by the International Press Centre for community stakeholders on media engagement and enhancement for community growth. Some of the
It was a mixture of success stories and new learning curves for community stakeholders as they interacted on how to enhance development at the grassroots level using the media. It all happened at a gathering organized by the International Press Centre for community stakeholders on media engagement and enhancement for community growth.
Some of the participants commended the IPC for the programme and its impact on their activities. They shared some of their success stories after their first engagement with IPC on how to relate with the media to get better results for development.
Mr Adisa, from Mainland Local Government, stated that the since their first training with IPC, his community has been able to convince the government to build 2 mini-stadia for their youths.
He also added that the government has intervened in the educational system in the community by giving them additional schools. He added that insecurity has been reduced through their engagement with street fighters in their neighbourhoods.
Michael Aderemi, the president of the Abesan Resident Association showed his pleasure in their engagement with the IPC on how to engage the media. He stated that the residents used to be confrontational with the state government, but since they learnt how to maximise the use of the media the narrative has changed.
“I think our contact with IPC has been quite helpful. Before the time we had the training, our approach had been somehow confrontational, but we have been taught to use consultative, peaceful measures and they have been really helpful.
“Now we are getting attention since we have been using the media. We received attention from the state House of Assembly and they visited our estate to see what we were crying about. Our local council development chairman who has been unfriendly is now coming around”, he stated
The event which held in Lagos was convened with the support of the European Union, Agent Citizen Transformation Programme (EUACTS), explored how the right advocacy could be done to achieve community development from the government and other relevant duty bearers in Lagos.
Themed “Results harvesting and peer learning forum on using media for community development, the programme featured some of the community leaders and CSOs who had been trained by IPC on advocacy in the past.
In his opening remarks, Mr Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), said participants were expected to share the impact of knowledge garnered on their environment in Lagos.
Apart from sharing the testimony of achievements, the programme was also to input more knowledge to the participants to further understand the role of the media and how to maximise it for better results.
He charged the concerned communities to intimate others on their challenges with the media. He added that by doing so, the government’s hands will be moved to respond to them anytime the needs arise.
He cited an instance of a community in Lagos, Amuwo Odofin, where there was only a school with a bad roof which made learning difficult for the pupils. He indicated that media was used in the advocacy to get more schools in the community.
Addressing participants on how to understand the media for community development aspiration, Dr Tunde Akanni, a lecturer at the school of communication, University of Lagos, explained that proper research is the first line of toll. After research, advocacy must be done in conjunction with the media. Stating the needful qualities to engage with the media in advocacy, Dr Akanni emphasised the use of language and diction.
He urged community stakeholders to be comprehensive in their press statements, and press conferences. Adding to the nuggets needed to get media attention, he urged participants to always share relevant information with the media. He also advised them to be friendly with the media.
“The media does not like ambiguity when you are interacting with them. It is up to us to ensure that society understands what we are trying to pass across to the public space. What will make the media use your statement is clarity; from the use of words to sentencing to paragraphing, it has to be clear.
“Another thing is to be friendly with the media. If you build relationships with media people, you will have more advantages for a long time. It will put your community in their minds and they will recognise your community to report anytime you need them”, Dr Akanni said.
Also, speaking on how community stakeholders can advance engagement with duty bearers on their community development aspirations, National Coordinator, Democracy Vanguard, Mr Adeola Soetan urged the participants to be firm with their demands.
He advised them to always engage the relevant stakeholders and be part of State budget planning. He noted that being part of budget planning will allow them to contribute to how budgetary allocations will favour their communities.
Mr Soetan added that they must be updated about the progress of any contract signed for their community for adequate monitoring. He asked them to concentrate on all relevant projects in their community and participate in their completion. And advised them to always show appreciation to the government and other bearers whenever they execute projects in their community.
“I advise you to always talk to the government about what you want. Have a collective stakeholders’ meeting whenever you want to engage the government. In all these that we are doing, we must be part of the budget planning team, to know how the budget is being planned. In all meetings you do, there must also be resolutions to serve as evidence of whatever you discuss. At the point of implementation, you should also try to participate actively”, Mr Soetan said.
Mr Sola Afariogun, the Lagos focal person for EUACTS, in his closing remarks, encouraged stakeholders to imbibe a friendly approach with the government to get better results from them.