Civil Society Organisations working under the Voice for Change partnership (V4C) programme have been commended for working hard to propagate the objectives of the project to policy makers in their various localities.
Speaking to Public Agenda recently after a two- day media training workshop in Koforidua organised by the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), Ms Consolata Soyiri Dassah, Communications and Advocacy Advisor to the V4C Partnership said she was impressed with the progress made by the Civil Society organisations, particularly as they are able to effectively engage with the policy makers at the community, district and national levels.
“I think the civil society organisations we are working with, are doing very well. They are able to engage with most of the technical leads in the district. At the community level, they are able to get their attention and buy- in and they are joining hands with them,” she submitted.
Ms Dassah told Public Agenda that there are times when one finds it difficult to get policy makers buy into certain ideas, but when you get them to listen to you, then it means there is progress. “Yes, I will say am happy because you will not get people buy into your ideas. It’s not easy to get people who really matter and who are able to influence some of these things but once we are able to get them on board, it is a good step.”
The V4C Programme is an evidence- based advocacy programme being implemented by SNV in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Programme was launched in August last year with the aim to reinforce Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)as advocates for an enabling environment in which governments and businesses provide ultimately good and affordable services for low-income segments in society leading to impact in key thematic areas.
The programme is focused on four themes; these include Food and Nutrition Security, Renewable Energy and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Ms Dassah acknowledged the importance of the media in advocacy work and thus proposes that the media should pick interest in reporting on development issues such Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Food Security and Post-harvest losses among others. She observed that the issues are there but it would take the media to highlight them.
“It is very important to have the media as part of this campaign because this is advocacy. Advocacy will generally talk about letting the issues come out and getting people to buy in and join hands to solving some of these issues. But if the stories are not out and people don’t have the idea and people don’t know the issues that are on the ground. It is very difficult for one person to say we want these issues to be solved,” she added.
On his part, Mr Charles Yao Mawusi, a Media consultant at Trans Media Network who took the Journalist through development story writing, encouraged journalist to write stories that make impact on the society. Mr Mawusi, also urged journalists to ensure fairness, accuracy and objectivity in their reporting while advising them to seek truth and provide objective and comprehensive account of events and issues. He urged journalists to write or develop stories that appeal to the conscience and emotions of the people.