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Water Resources Institute train Journalists on IWRM

Workshop report

The National Water Resources Institute (NWRI), Kaduna recently organized a two day workshop for Journalists on Water Resources reporting. The objectives of the workshop are:

  1. To sensitize the media on key critical Integrated Water Resources Management issues.
  2. To empower journalists towards widely reporting on Integrated Water Resources Management issues and package their news to reach all audiences.
  3. Explore issues that hinder coverage of water resources issues by media.
  4. Explore the role of the media in the Integrated Water Resources Management cycle.

The expected outputs were as follows:

  1. Improved reporting on IWRM impacts and actions at the Local, State and Federal level.
  2. Improved media influence on the kind of mitigation and adaptation actions undertaken by communities and other water stakeholders.
  3. Improved capacity of the media to link local, national and global IWRM issues in their reporting.
  4. IWRM policies and practices informed by the interests of the local community.

The workshop attended by  Journalists drawn from media houses in Nigeria, was declared open by the Executive Director of the NWRI, Dr Olusanjo Bamigboye who also delivered a paper on :`Capacity Building and Water Education roles in the effective implementation of the right to Water’’.

The Executive Director told the participants that the mandate of the institute involves training and building the capacity of professionals and experts in water and sanitation sector.  He said that NWRI has been collaborating with six universities across the country to achieve its mandate and to build a network in achieving the mandate.

He said reporting water resources required knowledge and skills for the journalists to break down the technical jargons to the masses and explain the issues in the sector to them, adding  that water resources is inter-linked with others sectors of the economy, namely energy, food security, environmental preservation, recreation, education etc.

Dr Bamigboye, however, urged the journalists and professionals to educate the masses and stakeholders on their roles and responsibilities to ensure safe water and basic sanitation.

Training Sessions

The training was conducted over eight sessions with the aid of a training manual specifically developed for the workshop.

In the first session, the Lead facilitator, Mr. Babatope Babalobi, Chairman of Water and Sanitation Media Network, Nigeria introduced the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to the participants in the topic tagged `Component of IWRM- Principles, Concepts, Components, and terms’’

According to him, IWRM is a means of achieving three key strategic objectives of water resource, equity and environmental sustainability. He defined and explained the key words- water, water resource, management and integrated and he further discussed the four key (Dublin) principles of IWRM viz, fresh water development is finite and vulnerable resources; water development and management should be participatory approach; women plays a central part in the provision of water, and that water has a social  and economic value.

The last activity in the session was review of submitted IWRM publications written by participating Journalists. The main observations on the stories were that that IWRM concept was lacking in them and that most of the stories were not in-depth about the issues in the sector.

The second presentation was on “ IWRM tools- Enabling Environment- Policy, Legal, and Regulatory Framework”, which discussed  the need for an enabling environment for the practice of IWRM, which are policy, legal and regulatory and frameworks.  The need need for journalists to understand the laws governing water resources in Nigeria was also stressed.

In a group session, participants later reviewed the Water Resources Decree Act 1993 and 2004, the National Water Sanitation Policy and the Water Supply and Sanitation Policies of Ebonyi, Ogun, and Kaduna State governments to determine their level of compliance with IWRM principles. The 1993 Water Resources Act was found to have bestowed too much powers on a single individual which is antithetical to the IWRM principle of participatory governance.iwrm

While most of the policies were found to encourage stakeholders participation (an IWRM tool), they did not generally reflect IWRM management instruments. The Ebonyi State draft  WASH policy was, however, a good model as it provided for the creation of a State level IWRM committee comprising several line ministries, agencies, departments, and civil society.

The third session was on`IWRM tools- institutional roles”, which discussed the various roles, responsibilities and functions of water organizations for water resources management and general principles of good governance.  It x rayed why journalists need to understand the water sector organizations and how they contribute to IWRM through their mandates. The role of National Water Resources Council, River Basins Development Authorities (RBDAs) and Regional basin authorities were extensively discussed, among others.

The final session for the first day was on “ IWRM tools – Management Instruments”. Management instruments were defined as the elements and methods that enable decision makers to make rational and informed choices between alternative actions. The concept of economic efficiency, environmental sustainability, social equity and stakeholders’ management were also discussed.  Also, the facilitator explained the instrument of using cooperation and conflicts management tools to achieve IWRM.

The second day commenced with Mrs. Bilikisu Omar Dossah of NWRI leading participants leading participants in a group work on the role of the media in improving service delivery’’. The participants were shared into three groups and after the outcome of their deliberations; the groups did presentations using flip charts.  The groups noted that the major role of the media was to inform, educate and enlighten relevant stakeholders on the roles and responsibility in improved service delivery. Other identified roles are:

  1. Journalists should be acquitted with the mandate of sector agencies.
  2. Educate users to maintain water and sanitation facilities
  3. They should hold the government accountable for service provision
  4. Remind duty bearers of their responsibilities towards service delivery
  5. Remind civil society to monitor government programmes.
  6. Remind users to pay for services promptly.
  7. Draw public attention to sector operational, financial, and technical challenges.
  8. Analyze water supply and sanitation statistics and study reports.
  9. Highlight the needs of special groups and physically challenged persons.
  10. Highlight abandoned projects, drawing attention of service providers to ensure they are repaired.
  11. Identify gaps in policy, legal, legal, and regulatory frameworks and set agenda towards bridging the gaps.
  12. Sensitize communities on their roles especially in Community Led Total Sanitation.
  13. The Media should understand sectoral concepts including IWRM, urban, small towns, and rural areas categorization, target levels, access, and coverage issues.
  14. The media should understand factors responsible for poor service delivery by sector institutions and proffer viable solutions.
  15. Generally the media should inform, educate and enlighten all stakeholders on their sectoral roles and responsibilities.

 

The  sixth session  on Urban, Small Towns, Rural water supply and Sanitation’, focused on the  different levels of service delivery for water supply, factors responsibility for poor service delivery for water supply, and the role of the media in improving service delivery.

The last session was on ``Water supply structures and facilities’’, where various water and sanitation technologies were identified and their usages. Water related Sanitation systems such as dry pit, Ventilated Pit Latrine, Common Pit Toilet, Ecological Sanitation Toilets were also discussed.

The seventh session was a field visit led by Mrs. Omar of the NWRI. Participants toured some of the facilities in the NWRI and sited the drilling machines, lecture hall, and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Centre of the institute.

The workshop was declared closed by Mrs. Folashade Oni, Head of Continuous Training, NWRI,  who appreciated the participants for attaining 100 per cent attendance. She said that the planning of the training workshop started in 2012 but could not be implemented until now. She appreciated the facilitators for imparting knowledge on the journalists, expressing optimism that the objectives of the workshop were met through the active participation of both the facilitators and the journalists; and stressed   that “the success of a workshop is measured by the ability of the participants to put what they have learned into practice’’. Mrs. Oni later presented Certificates of attendance to all participants.

 

 

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Author of this Article:  Babatope Babalobi, babalobi@yahoo.com +2348035897435

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